Monday, July 12, 2010

The Project and My Well-Being

Foolishly, I didn't realize until recently that my keeping secret about what necessitates my project could have caused some concern among some people about my well-being. My neglect stems from the fact that I have discussed my circumstances and project with several people and have forgotten there exists a group left out in the cold. It is still necessary for me to be secretive, but to be more polite I will at least hint at the nature of the problem so as to eliminate any serious concern about my condition, such as whether or not I have a disease or am in danger of going to jail.

In truth, the problem is actually very petty and insignificant, almost laughably dismissible and pathetic really. It may make one wonder why, then, it's having such a significant negative impact on my life. It's because there's an excruciatingly narrow number of solutions to this problem and none of them can be quickly employed. Worse yet, many of the potential solutions I have employed have either had no effect on the problem or have been temporary, thereby letting the problem remain untouched and in full effect in the meanwhile. Even worse yet, I'm down to my, literally, final and last resort -- one that is guaranteed to solve this problem -- but it's particularly time-consuming to employ, requires money, and is to some extent based on chance. I have made enormous progress in employing this solution and actually consider it to be more than half-done in regards to the specific steps and learning that need to be completed, but I'm being delayed by the chance-based elements, the elements I have influence, but not control, over.

The secrecy, again, is not to tease you or present to you a dramatic surprise when I complete the project, but rather is a necessary part of the solution. If the wrong persons learn about my project it could actually intensify the problem by several degrees, make my project much harder and slower to complete, and maybe even negate my efforts altogether. As such, the nature of my project is only known to select people whom I know pose no obstacle to my efforts, either through trust or impotence, and can be of help. It does, in a way, make me itchy to want to talk about it, but the temptation must be resisted. When the project is completed I will then be in the perfect position to let you know everything.

To illustrate with an analogy why this problem is so significant to me, try to imagine a person standing beside you who endlessly taps your shoulder while refusing to acknowledge your reactions and requests. The first few taps might either surprise you or cause you to inquire what the person needs, but his ignoring you and continued tapping beyond that will cause negative emotions to arise. Upon noticing he's ignoring you and still tapping, you might become puzzled, eye-rolling annoyed, or even irritated, and might try to walk away from him. If he opts to follow you, continuing to tap, the negative emotions intensify and progress into anger. If he continues to tap, the anger intensifies and might even turn into rage, and you might try to run away from the person or shove him away. Note that in all of this the problem is actually petty and strange: a weird person who refuses to stop tapping your shoulder. Yet, tap after tap after tap, you'll start experiencing negative emotions that grow more and more intense, and with justice. It's not each individual tap that bothers you, but all the taps added together plus the prospect of those to follow.

That, metaphorically, is my circumstance. I'm not in physical or legal danger, but rather am encountering a phenomenon that I grow increasingly adverse to the more I deal with it. The problem is primarily psychological. My intense adverseness has become so that it is affecting my temperament, ability to concentrate, learn, and be productive, and my ability not to think about my problem. For several months things actually developed to the point where solving this problem, this constantly tapping-my-shoulder problem, took up the majority of my thinking and emotional energy. Hours at a time would be spent racking my brains trying to conjure up solutions or employ possible ones (which quickly failed or never worked at all). The amount of space this problem took up in my consciousness made me seriously neglect other productive ventures, such as my independent studies, writing in my entrepreneurial journal, doing cultural activism, reading, and so on. It was unhealthily stressing me out to the max.

Aside from my neglected productive endeavors, it is also seriously affecting, and I in a way feel guilty about this, my sense of life. At work, in a job I enjoy that's also relevant to my larger goals, I feel at peace, am in a good mood, and am pleasurably concerned with the well-being of my coworkers, but outside of those conditions I become aware of the shoulder taps again and become agitated. It's not that I'm intensely suffering, but rather that I find this emotional downturn to last too long and too often, all because of an issue that as philosophically significant as someone endlessly tapping your shoulder.

I'm immensely glad that I've undertaken this project, as not only is it a surefire solution, but also has had deep therapeutic effects on me. No longer do I need to waste time searching for solutions: the solution is known and is in progress. The frustration is still there, but knowing that it is soon to perish does well to alleviate it while it still exists. Imagine being painfully hungry at a restaurant and seeing your server bring to you your favorite food: for a moment you forget the hunger pains and anticipate in excitement how good the food is going to taste.

As a bonus, not only will the project solve a problem that's been hindering me, it will also advance me forward in life in addition. Not only will I gain a peace of mind but also get a little bit closer to my other goals as well. Sure, this project does have significant risks attached to it, but honestly I'd rather face the problems that could spawn up from this project rather than the problem I'm facing now. The problem I'm facing now makes it more difficult for me to function, but solving it, I think, would make me infinitely more fit to tackle anything else that comes my way, even if the problem is philosophically more significant and difficult. It would also make me tremendously more able to defeat this current problem if it attempted to resurface in any form. Right now my ableness is limited and negated by the stress and slow implementation of the solution.

My prediction of increased fitness (psychological in this context) is based on my previous experience with solving significant problems in my life, which not only gave a healthy boost to my sense of life but also made me want to rip the horns off life and apply them to myself. Take my situation with Man X for instance. When I had to deal with him I was in a particularly bad state of mind and developed full-blown depression, but my break with him has given me long lasting gifts, including the curing of that depression, a much stronger resolve to improve myself and pursue values, better physical health, and more. It has been years since our break and none of those benefits have disappeared, meaning they weren't a part of a temporary euphoria, and I still feel nothing but a slightly hostile indifference to Man X, regardless of whatever pain he inflicts on himself. Similar situation with my paleo diet: After a slightly uncomfortable transition I have managed to achieve the best physical condition in my life -- in functionality, appearance, and feeling -- and have the least bit of temptation to go back to my old dietary guidelines, except for some indulges of baked goods mashed together with ice cream. The effects of both of these positive changes in my life have been long-term, not short-term.

I think the solution of this particular problem may actually be one of the most important achievements in my life to date. No, it probably won't particularly impress you to hear about it, but to me, considering the problem, it's extremely significant. What I stand to gain from this project will be the elimination of the last personal barrier standing in the way of my efforts to realize my best self, to actually become the type of man I visualize as ideal. Right now the problem is preventing me from doing that, not because I'm irrationally letting the problem fester without making an effort to solve it, but rather because the solution is taking several months. (If you haven't been keeping track, I've been engaged in this project since March 2010.) If some conditions in my life were different I might have been able to actually complete the project within a week -- but those conditions don't exist right now; work and a small pinch of luck is required to bring them into existence.

So now you know that the problem is something that is psychologically hindering me and is not putting me in any physical or legal danger. I know the vagueness doesn't do too much in answering any questions, but that's just how it has to be for now. In the meanwhile the mere existence of the project is doing well to alleviate any symptoms of a negative sense of life, so to soothe my frustrations I usually find it sufficient to daydream of the end-results of my project. It is still the case that I don't know how much time is left in this project, as there are still financial issues and I do not yet have a sufficient income, but, as far as my efforts go, I think it would be a pretty neat present to have things done before my birthday in October. Until then I'm working on developing myself at work -- I still haven't reached top speed and effectiveness in dish washing -- and am looking for supplemental income. I've been getting lots of ideas for my entrepreneurial journal, and if I'm lucky I may come across an epiphany about something I could employ immediately, rather than years later, and push me over the edge just enough to get this project through.

However long a wait it may be, my resolve is undiminished, as there's a fantastic future to take advantage of on the other side.

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