Are You Better Today?
It’s odd that my final thought on getting by is at the tail end of a busy couple weeks spent struggling to get by (insert cliché line about life imitating art). I think many of us have, are, or will spend portions of our lives feeling like we are just getting by. When we find ourselves in that state of getting by, when we are struggling, and when we feel like we are on the hook that’s when it’s time to do some extra work.
We need to work beyond simply getting by. This is my final thought, when you feel like you are struggling to get by ask yourself if you are better today than you were yesterday. If you can answer yes to that question then you’ve moved beyond getting by and are on your way to getting ahead.
and Getting Ahead in 2021
We spent the last year or so in a variety of ways but I dare say the most common were isolation and idleness. Getting by appears to be the default mode of 2020. We experienced isolation from acquaintances, friends, and family. Hell, I’ve had friends tell me they miss the staff from the local Dunkin’. Many of us found ourselves in some form or another of forced idleness. Our jobs, hobbies, and assorted pass times were not compatible with a lockdown lifestyle and forced many of into a year long holding pattern of sorts. Simply getting by was the daily grind for many of us last year (and the first part of this one too).
But we got by in 2020. We didn’t give up. We embraced the distance in our interpersonal relationships and made them work. We found ways around the idleness. Those ways may have added a few pounds or worked the liver a little too hard, but we ground it out and found ways to keep active. We got up, and we got by. Now that there seems to an end in sight to this craziness let’s move from getting by to getting ahead in the rest of 2021.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?