To avoid complete mental overload, I’m going to pick up where I left off from yesterday’s post by answering questions 1-3 tonight. I’ve been thinking about my answers all day… it feels [quite literally] like somebody put my brain in the washing machine on spin cycle. Fingers crossed it comes out like brand new ;-)
Oh, before I start… one thing I forgot to mention yesterday is that my mum bought me a hair cut / colour / style for my (eek, 31st) birthday. In her words, my hair was ratty and feral. Cheers for that, Mum… *eye-roll* … it seriously wasn’t that bad, it’s just that it stays up in a bun or a ponytail during Semester because I’m a poor student now… I can’t afford to have it tended to every 6-8 weeks at a cost of around $180-$230 each time!!!!
The point behind this apparent deviation from the thread is that I felt confident enough yesterday to post a photo of myself (with the new hairstyle) on Facebook… that’s the first time in 18 months. All the changes with my body while I’ve been unwell have made me feel awkward, uncomfortable and very unattractive in my own skin. Not self-pitying here, just stating the facts. So the FB posting was a HUGE step and I’m really proud of it. OK, got that out of my system… moving on…
Question #1: Should your passion pay your bills?
My passion has always paid my bills. I live, eat and breathe design. Anyone who knows me would say the same, I think. I graduated from my first degree (Bach. of Built Environment – Interior Design) in 2002 and have either been full-time employed, running my own business or sub-contracting to other businesses since that time. I was lucky enough to live in a place where the work never really ran out, even in times of financial crisis. That was the only good thing about the place – all the other experiences I could cheerfully have done without. My passion hasn’t always paid my bills well but it has paid them.
There were times when I was stressed about where the next paycheck was coming from, or spent nights awake worrying about whether or not the work would run dry. But if you asked me if I would have it any other way, the answer is no. There is no humanly possible way that I could operate within standard hours, doing the same thing day in, day out. Creativity strikes when it strikes and having the flexibility to work the more mundane elements of the job around those moments is unsurpassed.
I do understand that this wouldn’t work for everyone. There are people out there who need the structure of a workplace - set working times and job descriptions… and (sadly) there are people out there who don’t actually have a driving passion. I can’t actually imagine what that would be like. To take away my love for design would be like taking away the sun for me - it would rob me of the driving force that makes me who I am.
Then there are others who like their jobs but want to save their passions for their ‘down’ time, or who use their jobs to afford their passions (eg. Carrie Bradshaw wrote a sex & dating column to support her designer shoe habit – dodgy example but you get the picture). I’m quite sure there are people whose passions couldn’t actually pay their bills… someone whose passion was, say, collecting garden gnomes… or (on a more serious note) looking after their children/family or investing their time in helping others (volunteer work)… it may not pay the bills financially but I can guarantee it would fill that person up spiritually and emotionally.
So I guess the conclusion that I’m coming to is that even though [in a perfect world] people would love to be paid for their passions, it’s not always an option. But for those of us that can be; if it fulfils you emotionally - and you can cope with the somewhat unstable nature of the cash flow – then my advice is do it. Don’t hesitate. It’s incredibly worthwhile.
Question #2: How does trust work?
Oh boy. This is a biggie. Joe points out in his blog entry that trust comes about in a business / personal environment when one acts consistently and this then becomes a yard stick for integrity. I agree. But his next sentence is a lot more poignant… trust is a mysterious concept. Hell yes it is. The major question underpinning this topic is whether or not trust can be defined in a positive way?
The optimist in me says yes, it can but only when referring to trusting ourselves, trusting that you have the right tools and systems in place to deal with all the things life throws at us… knowing that our inner selves always have the right answer. The pessimist in me says that’s not always the case and I think I can only say that because there have been times when I’ve not 100% trusted or backed myself and things have gone slightly (read: grossly) pear-shaped.
In a perfect world, everyone would trust one another to always do the right thing and behave in ways that were good, honourable and pure. The reality is that trust relies on predictability and human beings are definitely not predictable. There are those of us who go to great lengths to always be there for others and make ourselves into someone who others can have faith in (unerringly).
Then there are the others. I think I’ve dated most of male versions of those. haha. But in all seriousness, in an increasingly ‘self’ centred society, the desire for other people to have trust in us isn’t what it should be. I actually know of people who have uttered the words “You trust me?!? You shouldn’t” … and yes, I was disgusted that they were OK with that. I certainly wasn’t.
So in terms of defining trust in a positive light, for me it comes down to this; If one was prepared to invest time and effort into developing a rich inner life and an established set of ethical guidelines, then I believe the natural off-shoot of that would be the creation of a trusting relationship with oneself. And that’s an incredibly positive thing.
Question 3: Why do some people apologise too much and others not at all?
I should title this section “Confessions of a Chronic Apologiser”… because that’s who I am through and through. I have to consciously catch myself for apologising for things that are completely not my fault. Often situations where an apology isn’t even warranted. And ever since I’ve been unwell, I have this incredibly irritating habit of apologising for not being who I used to be. I assume that is probably directly tied to my somewhat battered self-esteem and guilt at not being able to do all the things I used to.
But I’m wholeheartedly in Joe’s corner on this one… yes, chronic apologies can seem a little odd and possibly a sign of weakness but WTF is with people who openly abuse others for things completely out of that person’s control?? Or because of a simple, unintentional and more than likely easily rectified mistake?? I think it again comes back to the fact that society is becoming far more self-centred in a negative way.
The generation of young kids coming through have a sense of entitlement and authority that I find quite revolting, frankly. Recently at our local shopping centre, I overhead a boy (who was maybe 13 or so) ask his mother if she’d bought something particular (and non-consequential) from the grocery store. When she replied that she’d forgotten, he launched a string of expletives and utterances about how hopeless she was and his mother looked properly chastised. What happened next was absolutely unbelievable… she apologised to him. And went back into the store to get it. I couldn’t believe it. I wanted to tell her to give him a clip over the ear and ban him from going anywhere or doing anything until he was 18. To each her own on parenting styles but I certainly hope that child never ends up in one of my parent’s classrooms. They’d get a swift dose of reality there.
Bottom line: I believe that people who apologise too much are largely nice people who were raised with good morals and standards and who possibly carry around a little or a lot of guilt (real or perceived). It may not be guilt relating to the situation they find themselves apologising for but chronic apologising is one of the ways that the guilt / perceived weakness manifests itself. I believe those who don’t apologise at all have been raised in the complete opposite situation and have been handed that sense of entitlement by a parent or authority figure who didn’t realise the monster they were creating. I have no time for those types of people.
I don’t think they experience a lot of guilt and I think even if they did, they’d find it pretty easy to quash. I know this seems harsh but I’m thinking back to events just in my own life over the last 5-6 weeks and I can see it all a lot clearer now. I have a fabulous example but it wouldn’t be fair to that person to share it. For these types, to apologise is beneath them … they don’t actually believe the person they’ve wronged deserves an apology. Or it’s something that’s hard for them to do so it gets swept under the rug or manifests itself as anger / irritation. Or it’s because they’re so used to be pandered too that they don’t even realise that they should.
I was about to write “I’m sorry for being so cut & dried about these opinions…” until I realised that I don’t have to apologise for my thoughts! They’re opinions, they’re subjective and I won’t always say something you all agree with. We only have our personal experience to go on and that’s what working through these questions are all about… working out where I sit on the big (and not so big issues)…