Some Thoughts on Getting By

How to Measure Success?

All too often we feel the need to measure, evaluate, and/or judge our current position in life. We wonder if we are falling behind, coming out ahead, or maybe we’re just getting by. Wherever we find ourselves in life it is almost always compared to some other place or position we think (or others have convinced to think) we should be or wish to be in order to be succesful. With all this in mind I decided the next topic of conversation will be getting by.

“Road Block”

Getting by can and does refer to many different things varying from one’s mental state to job/economic status and a whole bunch more. It’s usually just used to reference that general place and time in life where we are but not necessarily where we wish to be. For some getting by is a layover of sorts, a temporary state of being. For others getting by is the final stop, a way of life.

Getting by has become a way to measure where we feel we are in life. It is also a way to measure ourselves against some sort of definition of success (a definition that is often not of our making). Let’s take a closer look at getting by, what it means, and how it reflects our views of self and others.

-K-

A Few Final Thoughts on Selling Out

What’s Relevant?

We’re on the tale end of a couple rainy days over here in the Midwest, and rain always puts me in a contemplative mood. Figure now is as good a time as any to tap out a few thoughts to wrap up the conversation about selling out. I’ve come to think that there are a three points to consider when it comes to the idea of selling out, and only one point is relevant.

The first irrelevant point is the accusation of selling out. It’s naïve to think peer pressure ends with high school or that accusations (or opinions) are incapable of ruining lives, but we can’t allow ourselves to be judged as sell outs by others. Shakespeare has that line about being true to yourself. As long as you stay true to yourself the accusations of others shouldn’t effect how you view yourself. Subscribing to some generic definition of selling out is the second irrelevant point. We shouldn’t worry ourselves with the accusations of others or try to live by their definitions either. It is all too easy to criticize ourselves or to think less of ourselves when we apply some generic definition of selling out to our lives. The third and only relevant point is whether or not we believe we sold out. If you can look in the mirror and live with what you choose to do then the accusations of others and their definitions don’t matter.

“After a Rain”

The only judge of whether or not you’ve sold out is you. The accusations and definitions of others are irrelevant. I’ve dedicated the past month to the topic of selling out and now it’s time to move along to a new topic. I hope you found something interesting (or at least entertaining) among these posts.

-K-

100 Little Compromises

The Tipping Point to Selling Out

Selling out isn’t confined or limited to a single event or decision. We tend to view selling out as some life changing moment, a decision that will or won’t label us as a sell out. These moments exist and are tests of our character, but there is also the sell out through compromise. There is the multitude of little compromises we make throughout our lives and then we wake up one morning wondering when and how we sold out.

Compromises are part of life. To believe that we would never compromise is unrealistic and will eventually lead to frustration. It would be better to review each compromise we are asked to make and evaluate what it is we are giving up and more importantly if we will ever get it back. Every time punch at a job we hate is a compromise. Every day spent in a relationship we know won’t last is a compromise. Every time we say yes, every favor we do, every task we complete for people who don’t care and/or are just using us is a compromise. These little compromises, when added up, will eventually reach a tipping point to selling out.

“Time Clock #1”

In most instances those who sell out at least get something for their decision (even Faust got something for selling out). But selling out through compromises usually offers no reward, at best there is a illusion of gratitude or friendship. We wake up one morning to the realization the we’ve sold out for less than cheap. Beware of compromises asked of you and whether or not you may be selling out on some sort of sad installment plan of 100 easy compromises.

-K-

Selling Out a Friend

Intentions, Outcome, and Regret

We may be the protagonist of our own story but that doesn’t mean we are always the hero. There may be moments when we are not necessarily the villain but our actions and words can be considered questionable. I’ve had my share of these questionable moments throughout the years (moments when I was less than heroic). One such moment found its way into my thoughts while drinking a second cup of coffee the other morning. I got to thinking about an old acquaintance, the moment I sold him out, and regret.

Coffee, cigarettes, memories, and regrets…

Many years ago I inadvertently got mixed up in some workplace politics. The particulars of the event aren’t too important, but it’s important to know that two clear sides were drawn and there was no room for neutral viewpoints. I found this out when I was called to the conference room and found the manager with a representative from the district human resources office. Big Don, the manager, showed me a list of employees who signed a petition stating they refused to work with a man who, at the time, I considered a friend. Hell, at least a half dozen people who signed the petition considered the man a friend. Don informed me that I had to give a formal statement to the HR representative concerning certain rumors I heard. I had every intention of defending my friend but the outcome of the meeting was clear before I started talking. Decisions had been made. My statement was a formality. Even so, I couldn’t help but feel as if I was selling out a friend as I gave my statement.

Over twenty years have passed since that day. Now and again I regret how I handled that event. But the regret isn’t that I told Don and the HR representative the truth. I felt bad for my friend and I felt I sold him out, but I never regretted telling the truth. To this day I regret that I remained friends with some of the people who signed the petition.

-K-

Some Thoughts on Selling Out

Actions, Opinions, and Judgements

Have you ever sold out? Felt like you sold out? Considered selling out? Been accused of selling out? Hell, have you ever wondered what selling out is? The topic of selling out feels like a natural follow up to the previous topic of unpersoned/canceled. We find ourselves in an emotionally charged time when people are becoming increasingly critical of one another. It seems logical that thoughts, opinions, and accusations concerning selling out will become a common part of our lives.

The symbol of selling out?

I’ve heard varied opinions and definitions concerning the idea of selling out over the years. There have been times when I’ve asked myself: have I sold out, would I sell out, have I been sold out? I want to answer (or at least address) the questions I put forth at the start of the this post and maybe take a closer look at how selling out, in its various forms, has impacted me. How has selling out impacted you?

-K-

Some Final Thoughts on Unpersoning

Lost & Found In the Age of the Internet

When it comes to words we are in an age of forever. Writers used to worry about their books/texts going out of print. This is not the case anymore, post something on the internet and it will never go out of print. I’m going to wrap up (for the time being) the current topic of conversation with a few words concerning the internet.

“Lost and Found”

The internet allows most anybody to have a voice, to post his/her thoughts and feelings. Once posted this information is out in the ether of the interwebs not only for now but forever. Unfortunately, this everlasting nature of information on the internet can become problematic. It is an all too common occurrence to read or hear about a post somebody made, sometimes years ago, and calls for that person’s cancelation/unpersoning because of the content of that post. We’ve moved beyond the simple advice of watching what you say. It is as if we expect individuals to be able to gaze into some sort crystal ball and somehow forsee how their posts will be interpreted in the future. I believe that individuals should be held accountable for both words and actions, but that accountability should also be proportional to those words and actions. Reactionary calls for cancelation/unpersoning may stifle voices.

There was a time when writers were worried that their books/texts would go out of print and be lost. Now writers may fear that old posts may be ‘found’ and used as means to call for their cancelation/unpersoning. So do we second guess ourselves, do we self-censor, or do we continue to write from the heart and share our voices with the world?

-K-

The Dangers of No Filter

It’s Not Just Cigarettes

I’ve embraced many vices over the years, some more detrimental than others. When I was younger (maybe I should say young-age is a weird sliding scale eye of the beholder kind of thing) I smoked no filter Camels. I knew then as well as now that cigarettes in any form are bad, but there were a few reasons why I thought it was better to smoke no filter cigarettes, one being the environment (seriously people police your butts). Those days of no filter smokes got me thinking about a different kind of filter, one of thought and speech. It’s odd to think that we are in a time when you may worry more about filtering what you say than the possibility of cancer from a no filter cigarette.

“Camel No Filter”

Have you found yourself filtering what you say when speaking to others? Are you watching your language, wondering if your words will label or offend? Obviously there are things we should not say, and those who do say these things should be treated accordingly (that is the topic for a different time). My concern is not about those words, the ones we know are intentionally hurtful or intended to incite. Most of us don’t worry about filtering that kind of language because those words aren’t in our vocabulary. What I mean is the trend of filtering what we say for fear of offending someone’s feelings. Many people are censoring what they say or avoid certain topics of conversation for fear of being called out, called in, or possibly canceled. When we become more concerned about the context of our conversations than the content of them we are inhibiting honest communication.

Quite a bit of time has passed since my days of smoking no filter Camels. The days of the dangers of no filter cigarettes have given way to days of the dangers of no filtered speech and the question of which is more dangerous. Should we be mindful of what we say, yes. Should we not speak or purposely change our word choice out of fear, no. Yet many people are self censoring and in doing so are not being their true selves. Which is more important, polite conversation or honest communication?

-K-

Emotional Exile

Slighted, Snubbed, and Shunned

Have you ever been at a table with friends at the local pub or chatting online and they talk over or around you as if you weren’t there? Have you ever had the feeling of being slighted, snubbed, or shunned? I read somewhere (a long time ago so I don’t remember the source) that the smallest minority is one person and that’s why individual rights are so important. Many people seem all to willing to unperson/cancel others these days without considering that individuals have rights (even if it is a right to be a fool), but it’s truly sad when unpsersoning occurs among friends.

Being unpersoned doesn’t have to be a public or political affair. It can happen among friends drinking a few pints at the local pub or on one of the many (so damn many) social media sights that crowd the interwebs. Say the wrong thing, make an improper comment, or have an unpopular opinion and you’ll find yourself exiled to drinking alone or watching a conversation scroll along without you. Once unpersoned those who were friends will slight your comments, snub your views, and possibly shun your presence, and this is often done without a thought to individual rights.

“Empty Chicken Shack”

When individuals are quick to turn on friends and willingly unperson/cancel them for comments made or views held it gives one pause to think about how they would treat people they don’t know. Sometimes we should and need to remove a peer from our circle of friends, but before committing somebody to emotional exile maybe we should ask if in doing so are we considering that person’s rights (because we would want the same consideration).

-K-

Some Thoughts on Unpersoning

There’s Nothing Cultured About It

Cancel culture is not new, but as we stumble along into a new decade it’s as if the threat or fear of being canceled or unpersoned (‘unperson’ is one of those wonderful Orwell words) is more prevalent now than in previous years. Both the concept and the practice of unpersoning/canceling an individual fascinates and terrifies me. Cancel culture is not a cultured practice but it has become a cultural phenomenon that is worth a closer look.

“Out of Town”

-K-

From Crushes to Breakups

“It’s not you…” is a Prohibition

Have you ever been on the receiving end of the “It’s not you…” talk? Whether it’s after revealing your feelings to a crush or being on the wrong side of a breakup being told, “It’s not you….” is an interesting form of prohibition.

“Awesome”

“It’s not you…” (along with the awkward and one sided conversation that usually ensues) often prohibits an individual from truly knowing why his/her feelings aren’t reciprocated or why he/she is on the receiving end of a breakup. “It’s not you…” does not necessarily explain why feelings are not mutual or why a relationship is ending, but it does offer the one who says it a means to take some sort of make believe responsibility yet somehow not feel guilty. “It’s not you…” doesn’t make the one on the receiving end feel better, but it does prohibit him/her from justifiable feelings of sadness or remorse because the phrase itself implies there is no need to feel sad or remorseful. “It’s not you…” is like getting a participation trophy, ultimately it means more to the person giving it than to the person receiving it.

-K-

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