They will not control us

The thing with being in a constant state of analysis is that it all starts to run together after a while, or you get so buried in it you lose any grasp of time or differences in events.

We’ll come back to this later.

The end of a year brings on even more reflection than usual in most people, and it’s not hard to imagine why. It’s an end and a beginning- the calendar of one year slowing to a close, while the next year looms. A year that has a blank canvas, with the hope of things to come and things we want to do.

I’ve remarked often to clients this week that it felt like 2010 flew by, and this is where the constant analysis comes back in. It feels like just yesterday I was in Banff, poking fun at those who weren’t going to stay up to the new year (you know who you are), and skiing on New Years Day for the first time ever in my life.

But the securities tests, in May and (I think) August? Goodness, it feels so long ago. Wasn’t I just a teller the other day? Uncertain, insecure, and still looking for direction? It’s weird, thinking about the contrast- all that was well before I wrote my exams. But it’s all relative- I imagine I wanted to put the exams behind me as quick as I could (a theory that my workmates who’d taken those brutal exams supported).

Professionally, this was a year with a lot of changes. I’ll be the first to trumpet that I was very lucky to get into the position I’m in at the bank, but I also backed it up with a lot of work. Being thrown right into the job as a personal banking officer, while a very uncomfortable experience at times, has put me in a good spot moving forward, if I keep going with the bank.

I wouldn’t say it’s my passion, but I do enjoy my work. I’ve talked about this with my folks, and there’s one particular exchange with my dad that keeps coming back to me, about your passion not necessarily being your career. He loved cars, all his life. Even now, he’ll go to dealerships on weekends just to test drive, because he really, really likes cars. At one point, Dad got to sell cars- and even though he loved them, he eventually didn’t enjoy doing it.

What am I passionate about? I love to write. I love stories, and hearing people’s stories. But I don’t know if I could make it as a writer. Inspiration is a fickle beast, and I don’t know if it would be that joyous thing it is, if I needed it to put food on the table.

Personally, this year was a mixed bag. My friends and family continue to be awesome. My record with women continues to be the opposite of that. I feel more confident in that arena than I have been in the past, but the results have been the same. Other positives: the sample size has grown (ie there were more opportunities), which, in the words of Mal Reynolds, “ain’t nothin’.”

I’m not usually the type to make resolutions, but I’ve started to rethink that this year. I have an unrelenting fear of failure/rejection, combined with a brutally cutting cynicism that, while making me an excellent dispenser of one-liners, doesn’t really lend itself to personal improvement.

But I feel like I need to stretch myself.  Personally, spiritually, professionally… any and all of it.

If there’s one thing that is perpetually a problem for me- in ANY area- it’s fear. With writing, it’s the fear of revealing myself, the fear of what others would think, whether people would like it. At work, it’s the fear of doing the wrong thing, of how to say “no/yes” in the right way, in following intricate procedure to the letter and OH MAN DID I DO THIS RIGHT and all that. Fear of rejection, fear of not being accepted, fear of failure… it’s all there, together.

Fear, to a point, is a defense mechanism. It’s a chemical reaction to situations that we don’t think we can handle. If we didn’t have fear, we’d go walk in front of a car and get run over, and I don’t particularly care for the idea of being roadkill. Not that I, uh, have any experience in the matter, but I think I can extrapolate based on available information that I wouldn’t care for the state.

Mark Twain said that courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the mastery of it- acknowledging the existence of your fear, knowing what it entails, and pressing on anyway. I need to be less afraid. I need to live boldly, in all aspects. Not without thought or consideration, but with that knowledge, and with the will to do the right thing, in any situation.

 

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