Monday, October 29, 2007

We walk in vivid coloration

One of the things that I've been forced to adjust to here is the inability to compartmentalize my life. Back in the States, I had my work, my home, my friends, my different sets of activities, and each of them stayed in their nice little box, rarely to interfere with the other. This was the way I liked my life, it enabled me to usually leave things from one box in that box and not get in the way of the other boxes. This compartmentalization is nearly impossible to do here - I work with the same people I eat with, I eat with the same people I relax with, I live with the people I relax with, I live with the people I work with. While it is possible to get off campus and do things with other groups of people, if you know me well, you'll understand that I don't do that very well, and if a ready-made social support group exists for me, I'll take advantage of and use that.

This forced integration can make life uncomfortable sometimes. One thing I have generally tried to do in life is be friends with everyone. I don't always succeed at this, and I don't think I'm expressing myself properly, so let me say it another way. I have, to an extent, the ability to see things from other people's perspective without having to work hard at understanding them. Consequently, I generally find it easy to understand where people are coming from, and I do my best to get along with them. Usually this leads to being a likable, non-confrontational person. It also usually leads to a functioning non-avoidance of the political rivalries and factions that come with anywhere. I still think I'm not explaining myself properly, but I think you get what I mean. I try not to be too overly connected to one specific group or alliance, which works in a compartmentalized life. It can be more difficult in an integrated life, when you personally like someone as a friend, but aren't thrilled with some of the things they do as your co-worker. Does this make sense? I had a situation or two today where I was reminded of the difficulties of this integration.

In semi-related over-transparency, sometimes I feel like I don't actually understand people or what is going on, and despite the fact I think I can see things from their perspective, that usually only applies to simple things like actions, philosophical beliefs, or statements. It doesn't apply to the rest of life, and I find that not only can I not understand others, I don't understand myself. When you're an analytical person who wants to make everyone happy and make everyone like him, the inability to read people can make life frustrating, as you don't know if a statement will be taken the way that you want it to be, or if the way that you think you want it to be taken is actually the way that you want it to be taken. Can you tell I've had some frustrating conversations and thought processes today? Yeah, I have.

Something I've been learning through this, however, is a greater appreciation of the talents that we all have, and that through my own struggles to relate and communicate, still all was placed long ago, and we have only to follow the Path to come safe back home.

In other news, I'm doing a 10k run on Thanksgiving, so I've changed my work-out routine from being mostly on weights to more running. We've got this elliptical machine that I use because it's low-impact, and I ran 7.5k in 17 and change on it tonight. I figure if I can get up to 15k and 30 minutes on the elliptical, the 10k will be doable. Maybe this is just vanity, but it's nice to now have a goal to my working out, instead of just 'staying healthy' and (since I'm practicing a form of coded transparency tonight) 'gaining muscle definition.'

We had our guys group tonight, and further I wish I could take and bear the burdens of my friends here. Since I can't, I cast them elsewhere, to the greater.

Several people have asked me what I want for X-mas. This poses a difficult question for me, as I am now an adult, not a kid - really, I have everything I need. I can always think of things that I want, and I know it makes some people happy/glad to give gifts (and, ok, if I'm honest about it, I like getting gifts when they're what I want) so I present to you My Wishlist. I think the link should work so it's prioritized in the order I picked, otherwise choose sort by priority. There's some books, DVDs, misc software on there. Other popular gift ideas will include the following - IBC cream soda, cream-filled hostess cupcakes, Greek's Pizza (or coupons to that effect), home made chocolate chip cookies (hot, soft, and moist.), an outing to see I Am Legend, the chance to see at least one College Basketball game all the way through, and finally and most importantly, 15 or 30 minutes of your time to talk, and tell me how your life has been going.

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