Does retrospectiveness beget perspectiveness?
I always get very pensive at this time of year as it's the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah). It's an obvious moment for retrospection and "futurespection" (I'm coining that word!)—examining my life and who I am, assessing relationships, asking questions, setting goals and making plans.
So, as I was working on my new website and pulling together resources for BrainWrap, I naturally revisited a bunch of old files and work from the days of yore. I pulled the post below—Getting Started—from the vault. It was my inaugural blog post from my first-ever (and long since retired) blog over eight years ago.
Just trying to figure this thing out. I’d love to say I’m tech forward, but let’s face it—I’m obviously not so much if I’m just jumping on the blogwagon right now.
Actually, I have a large degree of first-adopter aversion, that’s it. I wait for the tried-and-true winners to emerge and all the first-generation kinks and glitches to be upgraded and enhanced the hell out. (I’m not a patient person, but I have more patience for “waiting for perfection” than for “dealing with issues.”)
That’s why, from a technical perspective, I’m just putting this together. UH-huh, wink.
Or maybe I just didn’t know what to say or what “voice” I want to say it in. Or couldn’t even think of committing to a writing endeavor with any regularity or consistency. My head’s a bouncy house of creative ideas. Haven’t really had any strong feeling of how I wanted to organize them. Til now-ish. I don’t know why now. But now.
Anyway, I keep catching myself pondering the stupidities of humanity (specific things, not generalities) and the weirdities of nature (again, randomly-spawned but specific things). Lately more than usual, I think, or perhaps for some reason I’m just more cognizant of it. Daily commuting, working in the city, having lived in a lot of different places/situations and done a lot of jobs – all while being an uber-critically disposed person—is fodder for the mind. It’s like life is juicing me.
I thought if I got these things down on paper (blog) I could either:
Let them go and move on (yay! freeing!), or
Get others to weigh in and collectively we could ponder (musery loves company).
Or both I suppose. Don’t get me wrong, this is MY blog; but I like others’ two cents. It all adds up, and eventually totals something greater than two cents (my original mental seed money).
Rereading previous pieces is really fun...and interesting. Through the lens of today—who I am and what I'm doing, the state of the world, the technological developments and so on—what's changed? Has anything changed? Have I grown and evolved as a professional, and more importantly, as a person? Looking back often makes me want to take stock of "here and now" and envision the possibilities for the future. (Anyone else? No, just me?!)
While that blog was pretty much a stream of consciousness rant site—it was called Burnpaper, like you write something on a slip of paper, set it on fire and your worries and stresses go up in flames, and then blow away as ash in the wind—I do see similarities and differences between the "then" and the "now".
In regards to Getting Started, here are some things that struck me:
I think I'm not *quite* as snarky and critical as I used to be. Trust me—it's a serious work-in-process. I have to constantly WORK at being more positive. It's not my natural inclination. But it's like one of those proverbial muscles you have to exercise. And I CHOOSE to move through my life up rather than down. (Of course, I'm not gonna lie, it helps that I found a wonderful, loving and super supportive partner. He makes me laugh to the point that I'm doubled over and crying. I've never laughed so much in my life. More broadly, he helps me get perspective, focus my energies on what's truly important and not take myself so seriously. All in a very healthy, not-codependent, reciprocated way to be sure.)
I'm still not a patient person. This is a perpetual struggle. But, hey, it's not always all about me. I'm a reasonable, intelligent adult and can just deal with it.
People watching and pondering still fascinates me! I love seeing how different people look, think, express themselves. I like to compare and contrast (read = not judge, just observe). The older I get, the more I'm able to identify the things about others that I like, and adopt them in my own way. Conversely, I notice the things that don't serve others or the world around them well, and try not to embrace those characteristics and actions. At a minimum, you can get amazing ideas and inspiration by watching others in a diversity of environments!
It can still be hard as heck for me to bring order to the chaos in my soul. I still have times when it's a challenge to wrangle those creative beasts into something coherent, meaningful and fully expressive on paper. I'm not anticipating an end to this. Oh well!
You still won't see me nursing wounds I got from jumping on the bleeding edge of a tech wave. I'm too analytical...doing that cost/benefit analysis and comparison chart means I'm not so fast or spontaneous when it comes to latching on to the latest innovations. And, I'm very value-oriented; so I like to make my gadgety-goodies endure til they are not working for me anymore before shelling out hard-earned shekels on new stuff. Cutting-edge technologies are immensely interesting to learn about (especially how they're implemented and solving problems), but to include them in my daily life I need the kinks worked out and the costs to come down.
Other people's feedback and opinions are still valuable to me. Not in terms of defining my own identity, thoughts or self-worth. But they help me learn and progress. They widen and enhance my understanding. They open me up to opportunity and hope. It's why I try to ask questions in my blog posts and solicit comments. Has this been your experience, too?
I'm pretty happy with my personal and professional trajectories. So I aspire to keep going in the same general directions. The next time I look back, I hope to see even more growth. In the interim, I just want to keep discovering and profit from the twists and turns life takes.
Do you ever look back and do this kind of comparison? What did you discover? How often do you do this?