Saturday, August 18, 2007

I can't think of any more titles, leave me alone, I just want to write my blog and not have to tell everyone what I'm talking about in a snippy phrase

"Whether you think you can or can’t either way you are right"

Someone attributed the above quote to Henry Ford, though I have no idea. I just liked it. I wonder how you reconcile that with some of those crazies on reality shows. The weirdos who come on American Idol and abolutely know that they are amazing singers and believe they are capable of winning, and they're so obviously not. Part of me believes that if they'd just drop their horrible self-deception and listen to what the experts are saying to them, then they could really buckle down and work on what they're doing, and maybe they'd make something of themselves. I don't know. Their faith in themmselves just seems to me like self-deception. At the same time, it seems clear that none of us could get anywhere if we didn't believe, so where's that line between self-motivating conviction and self-deceiving lunacy? I wish I knew. I keep thinking that all things are possible. I also can't help but remember to think of myself with sober judgment, not having a higher opinion of myself than I ought. It's a strange balance to find. But the more I live life and contemplate these mysteries, the more I realize that balance is needed in everything. Why does balance have to be so difficult? Why does all of life have to be like a tight-rope walk? Maybe it's not really. It just seems like it is, because I think too much.

Anyway, I don't like to hear the words, "I know I can't" from anyone, and that's why I like that quote.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Rain in the desert

I got home from work this afternoon. It was hot and I had been riding my bike, and as I rode into the driveway, I started to feel sprinkles falling on my head. For those who do not live in Utah or are unfamiliar with the climate difference between here and Minnesota, but it has been extremely dry for me. I don't love the humidity in Minnesota, but living in a near-desert climate must be taxing on me, because as I felt those sprinkles, I found myself longing for a good downpour. I went out to the back yard to check on my tomatoes, which have been growing nicely by the way, and the sprinkles became a little stronger, and I stood there in the sun, under the single cloud as it passed over our house, and I luxuriated in the wet drops reaching my skin. I prayed for a downpour, so I could be drenched in cool water.

One minute later the rain came falling, and I was drenched along with my tomatoes. It was one of the best feelings in the world.


It's been around a day and a half since I decided to try to stop venting - or as I'd like to call it: ranting. In that small amount of time, I've already had difficulties. I might not have succeeded in not "ranting" but I've become much more aware of it, and it's frightening how much I have to work on.

You see, the problem is, I've noticed, that being a mostly private person, I tend to rant all day... to myself. Yeah, apparently, my self-talk, though not entirely negative, is clearly unbalanced. I've caught myself doing it tons of times today, and I haven't even been driving my car.

Suffice it to say that this is not heartening. Every time I catch myself, whether ranting to myself or to someone else, I have to stop and change the way my mind is working. It's a difficult challenge.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I noticed an online article recently about venting to your friends. According to the article, it can be bad for you. It seems like it's something we all do. We get home from work after an awful day and we complain about it to our loved ones. They (hopefully) feel some compassion for us and express their agreement with our gripes, and we feel better about it all. We also feel vindicated about our attitudes. We feel like we're right, and usually the people we vent to don't often argue with us or set us on a straighter course. They nod politely, knowing we need to get it off our chests.

According to this article, though, the idea of getting something "off our chests" doesn't necessarily describe what happens. To get something off our chests means we want to let it go, we want to forget about it and move one. We want to let out all our frustration/anger/bitterness/angst, so that we can just be free of it. But experts, according to the article, are saying that that's not what happens. We don't let go of it. We reinforce it. By venting to our friends, we give validity to our feelings, and unless that venting leads to some sort of conclusive mending, we're not getting ourselves anywhere, except into a cycle of negative attitudes and emotions, which we in turn feel are justified.

Anyway, I do not plan to stop telling my particular loved one (I love you, Cas) how I'm doing, but I am resolving for the next couple of weeks to perform a little experiment. What if, instead of venting to people, I just kept my frustrations and problems a secret? It's really just a commitment to stop complaining. And after two weeks, I'll see how I feel. Better or worse? I don't know if two weeks worth of psychological experimenting will show a conclusive and noticeable difference, but I plan to try it. And with Cassie gone for the weekend, that will make it a good time to start.

Here's why I say this is an experiment, though. Most people might look at this idea and say, well of course. You shouldn't be complaining all the time, or you're going to become a more negative person. The only thing with me is that I've had many instances, even in the last year, where I've talked to someone, usually Cassie, about my difficulties, and talking about it forces me to come to a positive resolution and I benefit from that. But I suppose there is probably a difference between venting and confiding, so I'll have to find what that difference is and act accordingly.

The other thing I want to add to this experiment, since I'm not convinced that merely being quiet about things will be entirely helpful, namely because I am a fairly quiet guy in general, is to commit myself to always finding a proverbial "silver lining" for all my problems. Every time I feel upset about anything, instead of ranting about it, I will look on the bright side.

To me these seem like obvious life choices that should have been taken care of and made into habit years ago, but what can I say? I'm not perfect yet. That doesn't mean I can't try. We'll see how it goes.