Saturday, March 9, 2013

What Am I NOT Doing? What Do I Have to Do?

I'll try and keep this short, because it's getting late, and I'm going to lose an hour of sleep tonight thanks to "springing forward": One of the most common questions techies ask themselves is: What am I not doing? Though that question presents itself in video/computer games, which usually require a certain number of tasks to be completed before moving on, it also is quite prevalent in the non-gaming tech world.  I remember a computer class I took in 2001 where one of our projects was to make a "bubble view" of a room.  I took the pictures, and an instructor was supposed to help us convert them into a 3-D view format, but, every time, it kept giving her an error message.  The only instructor knowledgeable to help us was on the phone, so the one who was trying to help us deleted a photo or two before realizing that she had the incorrect camera settings.  We ended up with a finished product, yet it wasn't the best quality because of the photos that were deleted.  Before she realized her mistake, she said, "There's something we're not doing."
Lately, that's how I've felt about life in general.  I look around at what my coeval friends--and, in some cases, former friends and friends of friends--are doing, and they seem to be succeeding.  You may think that I'm about to lament about my lack of a significant other, but even the single ones are off on their own, traveling places, in well-paying jobs, etc.  That's great for them...but what's my greatest achievement of the past year? Gaining a large library of entertainment? Adding two new celebrity crushes? Rediscovering the Disney Channel? It seems like I have simply stagnated.
Many of you reading this have likely heard of author/speaker Andy Andrews, whose Seven Decisions DVD I watched for the third time recently.  One of his points in the speech contained on that disc is, "You are where you are today because of the decisions you have made in your life." I hate to say it, but it seems that the reason I am apparently unsuccessful in life is because of my own poor choices.  That's not to say that every problem I've ever had in my life is my own fault; growing up fatherless, being mildly autistic, and having a severely disabled older sibling that needed constant care wasn't caused by any decision of my own.  Still, I am where I am currently--still living with my parents, working a minimum-wage job, doing dumb things out of boredom--because of the decisions I made in my past.  Instead of focusing on my future, I was too worried about my favorite celebrities and failed attempts at romance that would never amount to anything.
Just like a person who reaches an obstacle in a tech project or computer/video game, I have to ask: What am I not doing? What is keeping me from succeeding? It's obvious that my life is lacking in some department; what it is, or how to change that, I have no idea.  Though holding a job as long as I've held my current one, and sticking to a daily Bible reading for well over a year, are major strides on my part, that doesn't mean I don't need to make some more changes.
A similar question is: What do I have to do to get what I want out of life? I'm reminded of a woman I once knew who was deeply in love with a man...but he was too enamored with his canine companions to have room for a woman in his life.  She lamented, "If I grow an extra set of legs and a tail, maybe he'll love me." Sometimes, I feel that any ladies who are/were interested in a relationship with me feel/felt essentially the same way: "Apparently, I'm not going to win his heart unless I get my own Disney sitcom or suddenly transform into Victoria Justice." To be frank, the feelings are mutual; when an older friend told me that the difference between romance and stalking is simply whether or not the feelings are reciprocated, my mind was raging with one two-word question: That's IT?!!  Seriously, all the things I had done for my real-life crushes would have been completely okay if only they'd felt the same way?
It goes beyond relationships, though; I've talked online about how marriage may not be "in the cards" for me.  I know God has a plan for me, as he does for everyone; I'm just not sure what it is.  I don't agree with the whole "you can do anything you put your mind to" mentality; seriously, that platitude has caused numerous problems, such as all the terrible "singers" who audition for American Idol every season.  There are some abilities that God just has not given to some people, and it's His choice; it's not for us to argue.  Still, I do feel that I'm not reaching my true potential.  Of course, I currently can't live on my own for financial reasons; there's no getting around that until I get a job that pays more.  With the economy and job market the way it's been the past few years, I'm actually quite glad to have a job at all, especially in the library field, which seems to be my "calling".  Still, right now, having my own place or taking college classes in library science are simply out of the question, though I hope to be able to do both of those at some point.  There nonetheless has to be something that I can do right now, though; I just don't know what it is.
At this point, my plea is much like the shocked reply in Judges 19:30: "Think about it! What are we going to do? Who’s going to speak up?" (NLT) Seriously, I can't do this alone, especially considering that I don't even know what to do.  At this point, I'm so frustrated with my own life that I'm willing to try almost anything, as long as it doesn't violate Biblical commandments or any federal, state, or local laws.  In previous posts on such matters, I ended by talking myself into just keeping on doing what I was already doing; not this time.  It's time that I stopped sitting around feeling sorry for myself and saying, "I can't!", or "I don't want to!"
So, friends...think about it! What do you think I should do? Who's going to speak up? (Feel free to use this blog, my Facebook inbox, or my e-mail to reply.  Thank you.)

Monday, March 4, 2013

An Apology to My Friends

I'm going to try and keep this short because not only do I have to wake up early tomorrow, but I know most of you would rather not read a long, rambling post: If you know me and are reading this, I likely owe you an apology.  What I need to apologize for isn't lashing out at anyone; instead, it's my own stubbornness.
Let me explain: For far too long, I have ignored suggestions that well-meaning people have given me.  Of course, some of them simply wouldn't have worked; that's especially true when it came to pretty much anything involving my oldest sister.  Most people had no clue what having an immediate family member such as her was like, so their asking, "Why don't you...?" was out of a lack of understanding.  Still, there have been plenty of other situations or problems I've faced where people have told me what I should do, and I just refused to even attempt it.  I used excuses ranging from past events to "knowing" that I would fail to even, "I didn't do it previously; why do I need to now?"
That has got to change.  I'm reminded of a longtime friend who once had a serious relationship with a guy that she almost married.  Why didn't they say, "I do"? Simply because he chose to sit around and play video games instead of "getting real" about his life.  It's true that I've made some positive steps in recent years; getting a job, sticking to a daily Bible reading, learning to take the bus, and contributing to the household in multiple ways are all good things that I wasn't even interested in doing a few years ago.  Still, I realize that I am a bit too focused on unimportant matters.  When I was a kid, my mom used to tell me, "All you care about is: How can [Siobhan] have fun?" Though I believe all people have a right to some fun in their lives, there is also a time for me to be serious and do what needs to be done, whether I enjoy it or not.
I realize that these positive changes aren't going to happen overnight; frankly, I'm not 100% sure exactly what changes I should make.  What I do know is that I can't keep refusing to take others' advice just because it might backfire, or I could fail, or it won't be easy.  You all want me to have the best life possible, but I simply tuned you out because you weren't telling me what I wanted to hear, and proceeded to keep doing what I was already doing.  It's time for that to stop; frankly, I think refusing to change my ways has been among the reasons why so many people have "unfriended" me.
So, you have any suggestions for positive changes I should make? What should I start doing? What should I stop doing? What should I learn how to do? What new habits should I try to form? What bad habits should I break? If you don't tell me, then I won't know.