Friday, July 14, 2006

Thank you CP

Reading about what's going on in CP's life today gave me a bit of perspective on how things are in my own. I have a tendency to start looking for problems in my life; if I am not worrying about something, I don't feel right. This is one of the dumbest outlooks a person can have, but it's just how I am. I work hard to not be like that, but in general, it's difficult to reprogram someone if they're set up a certain way.

If there's nothing specific going on to piss me off/make me fret, I'll jump to the abstract - what if Linzi dies during childbirth? What if I'm killed on the way to work? (No worries there, Linzi gets a big fat cheque if I cash my chips, haha.) What if Erin was abducted? All this sort of shit. I irritate myself when I do this. I want, so badly, to just be able to take life as it comes, be cool, laid-back, and all that bollocks. Instead, what I am is tense with the possibilities of what might go wrong.

Almost everything I do, I (unwittingly, mostly) put a negative spin on it. I sat two driving tests within a week of each other, passing the second time 'round, but what got to me was failing the first test. I mean, it's not like my driving skills improved in any way within that week; most people would presume they got a tough tester first time around and would rejoice at having passed a week later. When I look at my wedding photos I wish I had lost more weight for the day. (Sure, the love and delight from that day is there too, but it's like I will only let myself feel that after I've berated myself a little.)

I've always considered myself distinctly average at everything I do. The exception to the rule is, of course, Erin, who is perfection personified, in Daddy's eyes. Linzi says alot of it is to do with the way I was raised, not getting enough support and praise, but I tend to be hesitant about that. Blaming mam and dad is a cop-out, too easy to do. Everyone is into alleviating personal responsibility these days, nobody is willing to stick their fucking necks out and say, oh yeah, that's probably my fault. I suppose I did go through a phase (most of my teens, ha) of thinking all my problems were because of other people, but I hope I've gotten a bit more perspective since then. Sure your parents mould you into what you are, but that's no excuse not to try to better yourself if you can.

I got an A1 in Honours English in my Leaving Certificate. Leaving Cert exams are the last you take before going to University in Ireland. My English teacher was brilliant; inspirational. There were 5 A1's and 7 A2's in my class that year. Less than 2% of the country gets that grade in Honours English. In spite of this, my view was, it's not such a big deal, look how many other guys got the same result. Happiness is always fleeting with me - it's like some sort of perverse modesty, something in me saying, quit showboating and just get on with it, stop making a big deal of your good mood. The Vice-Principal of the school (who also taught me Irish for 5 years) - his mantra to me was "Proinsias*, you've got so much potential - use it!". He said that to me for 5 whole years. He said it to my parents at parent-teacher meetings. I still plan to take him up on it. Some day.

I have ripped our whole house apart, made a kitchen into a bedroom, a bedroom into a kitchen. I have plumbed, wired, plastered, fixed, fitted, tiled, floored, painted, decked, and restored every room, by myself. Well, not quite by myself - Linzi's dad was often at hand to dispense much-needed advice, but since he's disabled, he's not been able to muck in like I know he'd love to. Even when I finished the house, I had a flash of pride, then spent the rest of my time focussing on things I didn't do quite well enough.

It's not like I'm a perfectionist. It's more that I have difficulty seeing things through. I'm great at starting things, but I often just get bored before I've produced the end product. This pervades my entire life. I can only write short stories; I lose the thread of the characters after a few pages. I spend a year or two excelling in a job, then get bored, wanting something new. My only consistency is my inconsistency. The only thing that's constant is my love for my family and friends.

To counteract this foolishness, every so often I take stock of myself. I have a beautiful wife and daughter. I love them, and they love me right back. I have a well-paid job that, while it doesn't thrill me, is not as insufferable as I know other people find theirs. I live in a nice house, in a decent area. I can provide for my family. I am (after 27 years) finally able to put a bit of money aside each month. My family are, for the most part, fit and healthy. Even though I'm far away, we see each other a few times a year. I have great friends back home. I don't have alot of disposable income, but I manage. I'm in a lot of debt, but at least I can afford to pay it each month. I'm feeling like my beergut is showing, but I'm back at the gym. I have a new baby entering my life ANY DAY NOW!

In other words, I have got sweet F.A. to complain about, and I want to apologise to CP, and anyone else who has serious shit going on in their lives, for my pathetic self-absorbance. Instead of wasting my energy worrying about irrelevant nothings, I'm channeling all my cheery thoughts to you guys. Karma, etc.

Do you know the Pearl Jam song "I am mine"? There's a line in it that goes "I know I was born, and I know that I'll die - the in-between is mine". I like that line. It screams possibility.

Take care.


*Proinsias is my name in Irish. You say it "Prun-she-ass".


Michael blathered this crap:

The way medical technology is accelerating it's no longer certain that you will die. Does that depress you or relax you? I'm serious btw.

Kav blathered this crap:

If it happens, the world is gonna be seriously overpopulated in a couple of generations!

Does it depress me? would be reassuring to know that you would be around to see your grandchildren grow up. I think it depends on who else was around me. If I was still hale and hearty at 103, but my wife and kids were all dead, I'd rather not be around. On the other hand, if we were all in the same boat, I would live happily with them until...whenever.

I guess if that did happen, the only deaths would be random accidents.

Beckie R blathered this crap:

Kav, it's really easy to feel like your own woes and concerns are insignificant next to someone else's. While it is always good to put your life into perspective, someone else's extreme trials do not make your own difficulties any less real. The way you feel about them, the way you live with them, determines how "trying" they really are. Perhaps someone with a different personality would deal with them differently, but you can only react in the ways you are able to react.

I am much like you, in that I tend to see the bad things about myself, rather than the good, and I often underrate myself. In recent years, though, I've begun giving myself my due: I am a darn good teacher; I am smarter than a lot of people; I lack common sense sometimes, but hey, who doesn't?

You can change the way you think about things, though. It takes effort, as all change does, but it may be worth it. As soon as you catch yourself berating something or thinking negatively, immediately counteract it by thinking positively. When you think, "what would I do if Erin were abducted?" think of the flip side: imagine her going to university and becoming a marine biologist and swimming with whales. Nothing ever changes without constant vigilence and effort.

Good luck. Keep smiling. Think lovely thoughts!

Anonymous blathered this crap:

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