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kortheo

My Journal - Travis

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Day 162

Early in my journal I mentioned that I struggle with RSI (repetitive strain injury). It's flared up again for me, which has happened many times, but it causes me a lot of anxiety. Basically these days if I work in certain ways at a computer it's no problem, but it's really easy to get lax on those specific ergonomic ways, let your posture go to crap, etc, and then if I let it go for too long and maybe don't get enough exercise enough, the problems come right back. So that's where I'm at. It's enough to put me in a crap mood. But working on it is an iterative process and I won't let it beat me. I will revisit all I've learned about this issue and reapply what I know works, add new things, and push forward.

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Day 163

Feeling a bit better today. Worked on improving my posture and workstation ergonomics. I have definitely gotten into the place of collapsing my head and shoulders forward, which is bad for you :). Fixing that and sitting up straight seems to help a lot.

I'm in much better spirits today. I went for a run last night which helped a lot. I find that running really helps me in general, I should make it more of a habit. I might do another 5k.

I have a introductory lesson for BJJ scheduled this saturday. Time for a new experience.

Work has been going well lately. Wrapping up a lot of projects that have been in limbo for a while. Feels good to move forward.

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Day 167

I'm back! This has been the longest I've gone without journaling since I've started this (even though it's only 4 days). I've mainly been away because of my RSI symptoms; I took as much time away from my computer this weekend as I could manage. Thankfully, my hands are feeling much better today - I am rediscovering proper posture for computer work, working on trigger point therapy, and getting plenty of exercise, all of which are really helping.

I had a collection of Magic: The Gathering cards that were collecting dust, so I gave them away for free to a local Redditer. It also happened to be his birthday. Happy Birthday dude! Enjoy the cards. I had decided that MtG felt a lot like video games to me, in certain ways. Or at least that I didn't see myself investing my time into them in the future, so it was easier to pass them along. 

As I've been letting certain things flow out of my life, I find myself finding the things that really matter to me and focusing on them more, which is fantastic. For example, cooking is one of my favorite new hobbies - I've been working through 4 Hour Chef since the start of the year and it's really changing my relationship to cooking and food. I love cooking now. It is skill-based, feeds you, connected to culture, and can be very social. And done right, can save you money. I'm finding that certain skills like this have a very high return on investment - cooking is one of them.

My newest hobby, which I literally just started 2 days ago, is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Since it's so new I don't have a ton to say about it, but think of the RoI for this one - it's exercise, it's skill-based, you learn self-defense, you gain self-confidence, and it's social. I'm really excited about this addition to my life. Even after just a 1 hour session I felt more confident and at ease with myself in my surroundings, because I knew more self-defense than I had the day before.

I've been reflecting on several things lately. Some lessons I have partially gotten from Cam and partially come to on my own:

One, feeling fulfilled comes from working towards your potential, not from having fully achieved it. So working on becoming the person you want to be day by day is a great strategy for feeling fulfilled and proud of yourself, even if the final destination is a long way off.

Two, when it comes to self-improvement and working towards your goal, the 'point' is really less about the goal and achieving it and more about the work you have to put in to achieve that goal. Put another way, having the goal in your hands is less important than the fact that in order to achieve it, you had to grow and change into the sort of person who was capable of achieving it. The real reward is that you grew as a person.

Three, it's important to take stock of certain foundational areas of your life. When things seem to stop going well and get off track, check in with these foundations. Am I exercising? Am I eating right? Am I meditating? Sleeping enough? Seeing friends and family regularly? Etc.

Four, it's important to notice when you have views of yourself that limit you. For example, up until a few years ago I had a belief roughly to the effect of "I'm a nerd, therefore I don't play sports or exercise." It's an incredibly damaging and baseless belief. I'm glad I freed myself from it. The generalized form would be basically "I'm X, therefore I don't/can't/shouldn't do Y." But if Y is something that would be good for you to do, or something you would enjoy, you should do it - perhaps an indication that it's time to challenge a viewpoint of yourself as X.

That's all for now. Have a good night everyone.

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One, feeling fulfilled comes from working towards your potential, not from having fully achieved it. So working on becoming the person you want to be day by day is a great strategy for feeling fulfilled and proud of yourself, even if the final destination is a long way off.

Two, when it comes to self-improvement and working towards your goal, the 'point' is really less about the goal and achieving it and more about the work you have to put in to achieve that goal. Put another way, having the goal in your hands is less important than the fact that in order to achieve it, you had to grow and change into the sort of person who was capable of achieving it. The real reward is that you grew as a person.

Three, it's important to take stock of certain foundational areas of your life. When things seem to stop going well and get off track, check in with these foundations. Am I exercising? Am I eating right? Am I meditating? Sleeping enough? Seeing friends and family regularly? Etc.

Four, it's important to notice when you have views of yourself that limit you. For example, up until a few years ago I had a belief roughly to the effect of "I'm a nerd, therefore I don't play sports or exercise." It's an incredibly damaging and baseless belief. I'm glad I freed myself from it. The generalized form would be basically "I'm X, therefore I don't/can't/shouldn't do Y." But if Y is something that would be good for you to do, or something you would enjoy, you should do it - perhaps an indication that it's time to challenge a viewpoint of yourself as X.

Dang man, I really needed this. All my life I've heard the whole spiel of "Get good grade to get to college, go to college, get a job, and you'll be successful", and now that graduation is fast approaching for me in the fall, I'm really feeling the pressure of that. I've got no real direction to be focusing on. It also doesn't help that my older brother is kind of a fuck-up, and I'm the next one in line, so to speak, so I feel like I need to have everything figured out, when I'm the furthest thing away from having it all figured out. But I guess that's okay. I'll figure it out someday - I've just got to enjoy the journey until then.

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One, feeling fulfilled comes from working towards your potential, not from having fully achieved it. So working on becoming the person you want to be day by day is a great strategy for feeling fulfilled and proud of yourself, even if the final destination is a long way off.

Two, when it comes to self-improvement and working towards your goal, the 'point' is really less about the goal and achieving it and more about the work you have to put in to achieve that goal. Put another way, having the goal in your hands is less important than the fact that in order to achieve it, you had to grow and change into the sort of person who was capable of achieving it. The real reward is that you grew as a person.

Three, it's important to take stock of certain foundational areas of your life. When things seem to stop going well and get off track, check in with these foundations. Am I exercising? Am I eating right? Am I meditating? Sleeping enough? Seeing friends and family regularly? Etc.

Four, it's important to notice when you have views of yourself that limit you. For example, up until a few years ago I had a belief roughly to the effect of "I'm a nerd, therefore I don't play sports or exercise." It's an incredibly damaging and baseless belief. I'm glad I freed myself from it. The generalized form would be basically "I'm X, therefore I don't/can't/shouldn't do Y." But if Y is something that would be good for you to do, or something you would enjoy, you should do it - perhaps an indication that it's time to challenge a viewpoint of yourself as X.

Dang man, I really needed this. All my life I've heard the whole spiel of "Get good grade to get to college, go to college, get a job, and you'll be successful", and now that graduation is fast approaching for me in the fall, I'm really feeling the pressure of that. I've got no real direction to be focusing on. It also doesn't help that my older brother is kind of a fuck-up, and I'm the next one in line, so to speak, so I feel like I need to have everything figured out, when I'm the furthest thing away from having it all figured out. But I guess that's okay. I'll figure it out someday - I've just got to enjoy the journey until then.

Hey, I was basically the same way. When I graduated I didn't have any idea what I wanted to do with my life, and felt pretty lost. I think this is very common and normal, assuming you're graduating around your early 20s.

One common message that society sends us that our 20s are supposed to be some of the best times of our lives, and that if we don't have things figured out, or we're not having an amazing time of things that we've failed and are somehow broken. 

The reality is quite different - most people I think struggle a lot their 20s. After you graduate college you start on Day 1 of being a real adult, and you know essentially nothing. With that in mind, you have a ton of work to do to figure out who you are and what you want out of life, and that takes a lot of work. So you should expect this to be a challenging time in your life, but if you put in the effort, you will get there.  I've heard from multiple sources people who struggled in their 20s but found that their lives improved a lot 30s and on. This isn't to say that you can't enjoy your 20s - of course you can - but just know that it's perfectly normal if it's hard sometimes.

For more on this theme, I like this TED talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/meg_jay_why_30_is_not_the_new_20?language=en

 

In other news: I have the flu. I'll be back in a few days.

Have a good day everyone.

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Day 195

Hi Everyone. It's been a little while. I hope everyone is doing awesome-ly. It's a bright southern Californian day here, and there's an IronMan competition going on today basically in my backyard. Traffic is nuts, and everything is seemingly in motion.

I've gotten out of the habit of journaling, but I want to re-engage and at least contribute here once a week or so. It's good to keep putting my thoughts out there instead of keeping them trapped in my head.

I'm still working with Cam directly, which has proved to be incredibly productive. Don't underestimate what accountability can do for you in any endeavor in life, especially when the person holding you accountable has been along the path you're walking. The amount of work I've done and change I've experienced in the last 6 weeks has been intense. And, looking at the last 195 days as a whole, in some ways I'm not the same person any more - put another way, I'm a better version of my previous self.

Progress has been slow, but consistent - which, when it comes to personal development, is the only kind of progress there is really. The Slight Edge was the first book I read after joining this forum and movement, and its core lesson never ceases to be relevant. It can be so easy to give up at any stage of your journey because you aren't seeing the bigger picture, because each step feels too small on its own to matter. But it's only by putting these small steps together that you can build anything worthwhile. So, keep going. Sometimes, things will eventually start to feel like they're moving faster :).

I haven't had any real cravings or come close to relapsing lately. I am very much focused on other things in my life at this point. My lifestyle is markedly different than what it used to be, and yet my self-image hasn't quite caught up yet. It's weird to think that I was a gamer for so long, and to no longer be one at all. I am starting to see myself as a different sort of person, though.

I've begun hiking again, and started to get friends together to go with me. I went last weekend and ended up having a great day and making some new friends, and really forming a new clique. It was awesome and I will be seeing them again.

A month ago I started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and it's a great addition to my life. It's social and great exercise, and builds my confidence because it teaches a method of self-defense. It strikes me as more cerebral/analytical than other martial arts, and has been dubbed 'human chess' by some; it may appeal to gamers because of this aspect. Plus, there is a sense of progress and achievement as you gain ranks and learn new skills. I can feel myself starting to get addicted to it. Since starting it I've felt more confidence and experienced less anxiety in everyday situations. Highly recommended.

I've continued to build my cooking skills by working through The 4-Hour Chef. Incidentally, I cooked burgers for my family last night, sort of spur of the moment. They turned out great and everyone loved them. This was something I'd never done before, and I felt a bit vulnerable - after all, what if they turned out terrible? But it was good to be recognized and appreciated for a skill I have by people I love.

I've re-engaged with work and committed to constantly building my IT skills. I'm on the path to get IT certifications and making good progress on work projects. I've also been more socially engaged with my co-workers, and just enjoying my job more overall lately. It's not everyday, but I do have days where I'm excited to go to work.

I've doubled-down on managing my RSI symptoms so that I can live my life. As a part of this, I found a good massage therapist, and have begun exercising more.

In working with Cam, I have begun challenging some mindsets I have that have held me back, and gaining a better understanding of what I actually want and how to get it.

I'm not 'there' yet, but I'm definitely on the path and making good progress. I'm realizing that I need to keep building connections with people in my life if I'm going to be happy, so I'm putting in the effort needed to do that.

To anyone who might read this who is struggling or unsure, I want to say to you: keep going. The more you work at it, the more your perspective will open up, and you will end up places that you couldn't have seen yourself at when you began. No matter what happens, it is a better life than what gaming offers you. No question. Keep exploring and experiencing new things, and you will figure out what really works for you. Never be afraid to invest in yourself.

Best,

Travis

Edited by kortheo

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To anyone who might read this who is struggling or unsure, I want to say to you: keep going. The more you work at it, the more your perspective will open up, and you will end up places that you couldn't have seen yourself at when you began. No matter what happens, it is a better life than what gaming offers you. No question. Keep exploring and experiencing new things, and you will figure out what really works for you. Never been afraid to invest in yourself.

Best,

Travis

Love this ^_^!

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I'm a bit curious, what does the acountability part exactly do for you right now? thx in advance for anything you might want to share!

Great question. Right now, accountability to me isn't about not gaming, but rather taking steps to move forward with my life. But the principle is the same at every step of the way, I think.

At the most basic level, you're going to be more likely to do something if someone is holding you to it; that much is obvious. It's doubly helpful when you might be struggling to do something that's good for you but you may face emotional resistance towards.

Finding an accountability partner on this site might be a good first step if you find yourself struggling or maybe not making the progress that you wish you were.

As for what it's doing for me specifically, I find that it keeps me honest in terms of making sure that I'm really applying myself and making the best progress in life that I can, instead of half-assing it or slacking off, frankly.

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I'm a bit curious, what does the acountability part exactly do for you right now? thx in advance for anything you might want to share!

Great question. Right now, accountability to me isn't about not gaming, but rather taking steps to move forward with my life. But the principle is the same at every step of the way, I think.

At the most basic level, you're going to be more likely to do something if someone is holding you to it; that much is obvious. It's doubly helpful when you might be struggling to do something that's good for you but you may face emotional resistance towards.

Finding an accountability partner on this site might be a good first step if you find yourself struggling or maybe not making the progress that you wish you were.

As for what it's doing for me specifically, I find that it keeps me honest in terms of making sure that I'm really applying myself and making the best progress in life that I can, instead of half-assing it or slacking off, frankly.

thx so much! i am thinking about this for some weeks and i am making up my mind about it. I think i'm gonna do a last check wtih my mental coach, and probably then try to find a mentor/accountability person in my neighbourhoud, who can reach me in real life (so not only via this forum, fb or phone) easily. This is helping me a lot as i like to hear other experiences :)

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Day 200

I may have gotten off on my day count recently, so I just rechecked it. Day 200! Wow. Time for a post.

Here's what I'm thinking about this week:

  1. Trust yourself. One lesson I learned this week from Cam is that we are all responsible for our own emotions. On paper, this is obvious. In practice, it's easy not to live your life that way. For me, I find that there are certain situations that I fear because of how I might feel in them, so I avoid them. But, I'm now realizing that fear may be misplaced - if I am responsible for and in control of my own emotions, then no one can make me feel out of control. I can do what I need to do to be in control and decide what I'm going to do in a given situation. If, in an extreme situation, I felt unsafe or something, I can choose to remove myself from that situation. The situation doesn't control me. If you have this mindset, it's a lot easier to trust yourself because you'll be able to handle whatever life throws at you.
  2. Emotional depth. I'm beginning to notice that there is emotional depth to life that I used to only experience in video games. Now, I feel it in real life. It's really cool - I think this is a side-effect of games being hyper-stimulating, and the rest of life feeling flat and dull as a result. Hard to describe, but maybe some of you know what I mean?
  3. Going after what you really want. I've realized recently that for most of my life I've sold myself short. I would go after the second or third best thing because I didn't think that I was good enough for the best, or not smart enough, or whatever. Not the objectively best thing, but best in the sense that it's the thing that I would find most fulfilling. Dig deep, find out what you really want in life (be honest with yourself), and go after it. If we don't do this I think we're in for a life full of nebulous dissatisfaction.

That's all for now.

T.

Edited by kortheo

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Emotional depth. I'm beginning to notice that there is emotional depth to life that I used to only experience in video games. Now, I feel it in real life. It's really cool - I think this is a side-effect of games being hyper-stimulating, and the rest of life feeling flat and dull as a result. Hard to describe, but maybe some of you know what I mean?

I feel like I kind of experienced this only in the rush that I've gotten out of games in the past. The revelations, the adrenaline, etc. I was never much of a sports person, though I was a swimmer. Still, I always felt kind of detached from swimming, like it didn't matter. Maybe it really just didn't matter to me, or maybe it's more a case of what you're saying here. Maybe I was experiencing with video games what I should have been applying to swimming - to real life competition and improvement.

I've also never had an issue with emotional depth at least in storytelling. Though that might be why I was drawn to the games I played. I read books and get invested and happy or sad or angry. (In fact, I experienced the entire emotional spectrum reading The Art of Racing in the Rain) However, I still sort of have that detachment when it comes to real life. I have trouble displaying sympathy, for instance, though I'm fairly empathetic. I don't know how to respond to someone's parents dying. Or when someone's sad, I don't know what to say or do. Further, whenever I see people showing sympathy (to others or myself) I always think it comes off as fake. Either I'm right, and that fakeness is coming from a well-intentioned place that I'm not capable of reaching; or I'm wrong, and I'm just blind to it. Either I'm a cynic or I'm broken.

Do you have a more specific example? How did you see the world before quitting games?

Oh, and congrats on 200!

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A more specific example... well, I think I first noticed it with movies and music, which isn't quite 'real life' but still less overly stimulating than video games. Music has always affected me strongly, but in games certain music, like boss music, would make me so excited/anxious/nervous about whether I would be able to win or not. But now there is certain epic music that will give me those same feelings but just in the context of my regular life when I feel like I'm doing awesome things or stepping up to challenges. Before, when gaming, music didn't hold my attention much; now I love listening to it again. Movies also didn't used to hold my attention much but now it's like I can appreciate them in a new way and notice all of the different elements of real life that are reflected in them and represented in them.

Getting away from media though, take the issue of a sense of progress of acquiring skills. That was a huge part of what I loved about video games, specifically RPGs. I didn't have much of a sense of that in my real life before. Now I have the satisfaction of improving both my work skills and my BJJ skills... and it feels great. It's great to see yourself improving in some way that actually matters and to have that satisfaction.

So, I guess there were feelings I used to have in video games that I now have in real life, basically.

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Day 216

Today I come thinking about attachment.

I've been struggling with being attached to things recently. I'm starting to date again, and one of my weaknesses is getting carried away with things. I get ahead of myself. If a date goes well, I will imagine/expect my relationship with that person to continue to go well into the future, and for things to always go to plan. This causes me to be attached to an idea of how things should be.

But reality doesn't work this way, least of all in dating. Things frequently change course in ways that you cannot predict or control. This is the same with life generally of course, but it feels magnified in dating. It seems important to focus only on what you can control and let go of what you cannot. You cannot make people behave a certain way or do certain things. Nor should you want to, really.

Attachment is to be distinguished from desire. It is healthy and good to want or desire things - but attachment is what gets us in trouble. In this case, it is healthy to want to date people or have a relationship, but being attached to requiring a specific person to be happy (attachment) can be a recipe for unhappiness because that is not something that it's in your control to guarantee. You can be reasonably confident that if you put in your best effort that you will find someone to connect with and be happy with, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea to get caught up on one person, or even caught up on expecting one scheduled date to happen when things come up and plans can change.

So, I'm working on being less attached to specific outcomes, going with the flow, and putting my best foot forward.

I'm 216 days gaming free, and it feels fantastic. Keep going everyone.

Edited by kortheo

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Day 216 - I made a podcast!

I've been thinking about making a podcast for a while now. I love podcasts and generally like to think out loud, so I've been itching to start putting something together.

Topics that I plan on covering include self-improvement, general observations about life, probably science and philosophy, and whatever happens to be on my mind. It's mostly an experiment for myself, but I thought I would share it here, too.

https://soundcloud.com/travis-kirk-992919435/episode-0-resistance-and-growth

 I hope everyone had a good week. Here's to the weekend!

Travis

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Great start with your podcast.  I remember reading the same article and having the same thoughts about Lord Nexus' comments.  Some people just don't seem to understand that there are more motivations to do things besides money.  Practicing at getting better at public speaking is something that's always going to be time well spent.  Regardless of whether your podcast becomes popular or not, you've still gained valuable skills by doing it.

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 I made a podcast!

So cool! You've actually made me think about trying my own podcast/videoblog/talking/thing.

Wish you a great weekend!

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Day 222

I've had an interesting couple of weeks. More dating thoughts.

  • Sometimes your relationship in person and via texting can be radically different, or at least feel that way. People have different texting styles and it's easy to misinterpret things, especially when you don't know the person all that well.
  • Sometimes people can be interested in you, but simply have higher priorities in their life. You kind of have to meet the person where they're at. If you prioritize them higher than they're prioritizing you, it's not going to go so well, and you're probably not going to feel great about it. I guess the bright side is that if things go well, your priority in their life can / probably will increase. Obviously people don't get invested right away (well, some do - I'm guilty of this - but it's not really healthy in most cases).
  • You definitely have to be consistent and open to new things, and not get too hooked one one person, as I said in a previous post. Easier said than done but I'm learning.
  • This morning in my 5 Minute Journal I saw this quote - "A Smooth Sea Never Made a Skillful Sailor". That really resonated. If something is hard, you will learn and grow from it - fair enough. To the extent that I am challenged in various emotional ways by dating, I am growing because of them and better able to handle these rough waters. I guess I usually associated this kind of notion with physical or intellectual skills, but now I'm realizing that it's perhaps doubly true for emotional intelligence and emotional resilience.
  • I often try to control uncomfortable situations by researching the living hell out of them. If knowledge is power, I unconsciously reason, then tons of knowledge is tons of power, and hence control. I'll google everything that comes to mind and try to figure out how to know everything about dating (or whatever the challenging thing is) so that I can master it and control it and not have to deal with all that uncomfortable uncertainty. But in this case, that's not actually possible. There is no internet article I can read that will tell me how to ensure the outcome I want from this life situation. In fact, there is probably no action I can take to accelerate the process to get what I want. The only thing I can do is wait until the time is right, and then have further experiences, which will give me more information to act on. And things just have to go at the pace they go at. You cannot force a process that takes time. You can't hack getting to know someone (actually you probably can make it more efficient, but ultimately, people take time to get to know, and it's a messy and complicated process at times).
  • With the above point in mind, the hardest, and yet most important thing for me to do right now is just sit and wait and chill. Sit with the feelings of discomfort I have and learn to be okay with them, instead of trying to escape them. Escaping them doesn't lead to any growth.
  • The fact that dating can be anxiety provoking means is a sign that it actually matters to me, that I care about what I'm doing and the people that I'm trying to connect with, and that there are real stakes here. It means I'm engaged with life in a real way. Which while appropriately scary in some ways, is ultimately a good sign - what I'm doing actually matters.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

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Day 222

I've had an interesting couple of weeks. More dating thoughts.

  • Sometimes your relationship in person and via texting can be radically different, or at least feel that way. People have different texting styles and it's easy to misinterpret things, especially when you don't know the person all that well.
  • Sometimes people can be interested in you, but simply have higher priorities in their life. You kind of have to meet the person where they're at. If you prioritize them higher than they're prioritizing you, it's not going to go so well, and you're probably not going to feel great about it. I guess the bright side is that if things go well, your priority in their life can / probably will increase. Obviously people don't get invested right away (well, some do - I'm guilty of this - but it's not really healthy in most cases).
  • You definitely have to be consistent and open to new things, and not get too hooked one one person, as I said in a previous post. Easier said than done but I'm learning.
  • This morning in my 5 Minute Journal I saw this quote - "A Smooth Sea Never Made a Skillful Sailor". That really resonated. If something is hard, you will learn and grow from it - fair enough. To the extent that I am challenged in various emotional ways by dating, I am growing because of them and better able to handle these rough waters. I guess I usually associated this kind of notion with physical or intellectual skills, but now I'm realizing that it's perhaps doubly true for emotional intelligence and emotional resilience.
  • I often try to control uncomfortable situations by researching the living hell out of them. If knowledge is power, I unconsciously reason, then tons of knowledge is tons of power, and hence control. I'll google everything that comes to mind and try to figure out how to know everything about dating (or whatever the challenging thing is) so that I can master it and control it and not have to deal with all that uncomfortable uncertainty. But in this case, that's not actually possible. There is no internet article I can read that will tell me how to ensure the outcome I want from this life situation. In fact, there is probably no action I can take to accelerate the process to get what I want. The only thing I can do is wait until the time is right, and then have further experiences, which will give me more information to act on. And things just have to go at the pace they go at. You cannot force a process that takes time. You can't hack getting to know someone (actually you probably can make it more efficient, but ultimately, people take time to get to know, and it's a messy and complicated process at times).
  • With the above point in mind, the hardest, and yet most important thing for me to do right now is just sit and wait and chill. Sit with the feelings of discomfort I have and learn to be okay with them, instead of trying to escape them. Escaping them doesn't lead to any growth.
  • The fact that dating can be anxiety provoking means is a sign that it actually matters to me, that I care about what I'm doing and the people that I'm trying to connect with, and that there are real stakes here. It means I'm engaged with life in a real way. Which while appropriately scary in some ways, is ultimately a good sign - what I'm doing actually matters.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

Those are some really insightful thoughts about dating - the one that particularly resonates with me is bullet pt. 5. For the longest time I would do the same exact thing - Google, read, ask other people, etc. At the end of the day, like you said, it is impossible to figure someone out other than by interacting with them, and discovering who they are as a person. 

It would be awesome if you could figure out who was a sociopath, crazy, likely to cheat, right away -- there may be signs that can help you, but you'll never know for sure unless you try. And of course, there's the problem that people change over time (though some things stay the same). 

Life is messy :S

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The fact that dating can be anxiety provoking means is a sign that it actually matters to me, that I care about what I'm doing and the people that I'm trying to connect with, and that there are real stakes here. It means I'm engaged with life in a real way. Which while appropriately scary in some ways, is ultimately a good sign - what I'm doing actually matters.

This one I really liked.You are engaged with life in a real way, when you feel uncomfortable and scared for that you try to accomplish.

I'll have that in mind.

Thanks.

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