tomfromhr.com a blog on tech, politics, life and zombies

29Dec/141

Thieves of Joy and Southern Hospitality

I’m writing this from the porch of a house on Sea Island, in Georgia (the US state, not the country). There’s beer beside me, my wife is napping a couple rooms over, and my in-laws are out of the house. I keep wanting to write. I find vacations always make me want to write, when I’m relaxed, taken away from my daily concerns, and have the time to really get into my own head. Anyone who knows me (or takes a look at this blog) can tell you I have introspection down to a science (if not a fetish) but vacation seems to allow me to order things better. To get a handle on them.

And this has been a lovely one so far. Everyone here, both my in-laws and the folks working the resort, have been incredibly welcoming and understanding, from the guy who helped me learn to shoot a rifle to the guy who lifted me off a horse when I found myself paralyzed getting off it. I don’t know if I’ll ever come back here after this (everything here is quite expensive, though you distinctly get what you pay for) but it’s been a wonderful experience so far.

Being here has challenged me a bit, however. I’m surrounded by people who, by most definitions, are more successful than I am. Now realistically my overall life success rate has gone up in the last few years. I’ve married the love of my life. I’ve bought a house I love. I have cats and a dog now. I have my health, and have even lost a bit of weight in the last few months (which I will likely gain back in this next week or so). In terms of successes, I’ve been knocking them off pretty well.

But I still sit here and feel jealous of people who have more. Who can afford to come here regularly, to spend weekends golfing at fabulous resorts. Who can buy their wives horseback riding lessons. I know I’m young still, and I have hopes that that success will come. One of my big debates is if it can come without losing all my free time, without sacrificing my marriage on the altar of the almighty dollar. The narrative we’ve been taught is that all great success comes with exceedingly hard, brutal, back-breaking, relationship-crushing hard work. I’m hoping, as with most things in my life, I can chart a middle path. 

Part of the problem is that that “success” is elusive. Is it a matter of staying late at my job every day and working weekends (considering my current employer doesn’t have any promotion to offer me)? Is it spending all my free time sending out resumes and going to networking events? Is it going back to school, improving my education? Or is it a matter of blind luck and some combination of the above? My suspicion, again, is that the middle path is the best one for me (hence why I just cleared my work inbox while on vacation). 

There’s a deeper issue here for me, though, which this vacation time has allowed me to uncover a bit. It’s the same reason I shy away from any political debates with my conservative in-laws, and why I hesitate to dive into any conversation. And it’s what makes me compare other lives to mine and feel lesser. It’s my continuing, and deep lack of self confidence.

I shy away from political debates because my self-confidence tells me my beliefs may not be right, because I think them, and what do I know? I don’t read the newspaper or books on economics enough. I don’t follow the news religiously, and I’m not rich or successful and clearly my thoughts would be different if they weren’t coloured by jealousy. It’s weirdly connected to the jealousy, I find. I get angry that I don’t feel good enough. I get angry that I don’t have all the answers, at myself for not being prepared for every debate. 

I’m losing the thread a bit here, but the point is that addressing that self-confidence likely needs to be a priority going forward. I can’t afford therapy, I don’t think, but perhaps I can work on it using the tools I was given by my last therapist, which amounts to better self-talk, to shutting down that voice that tells me I look fat, that I should know better, that my beliefs are not correct/worthwhile because I think them and they’re not backed up by 20 years of experience in the private sector. The lack of self-confidence leaves me vulnerable, and I think doesn’t do me service. 

In another blog, I think, I will go over how I plan to tackle that self-confidence. It might be a bit weird or unorthodox, but hopefully it might be helpful to someone. I mean, if there’s anyone else out there reading this who might have self-confidence issues occasionally.

I’m sure that’s not many of us, right?

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