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Posts Tagged ‘advice’

Reading ADD

I have been experiencing a very serious case of reading attention deficit lately. I just cannot sit down and finish the last few books I have picked up.

First, there was this epic romance, Olivia and Jai, of an America who falls for a bad boy Indian (as in from India) in the 1830s. I got fed up with the female lead. “Oh. He’s so bad and everyone has warned me about him. But I must have him!”  UGH! Give me a break. He’s a jerk and you’re better off without him.

Sherlockk Holmes bored

how I feel about the recent books I’ve read

So then I thought, an action is what I truly need. So I picked up this book Spartacus: The Gladiator. This was certainly more promising at first, but I just could not get emotionally invested in the characters. (I believe I’ve mentioned how easy it is for me to become emotionally invested, so I see this as a huge problem the author has.) None of the characters had enough depth to keep me going.

Alright, so let’s try a non-fiction book. Perhaps I needed more realism in my life. I’m going to admit right here that I did no do the smart thing and go to the library for a book I wanted. I went to my personal library and picked a mythology book that I had purchased but only read one section of before. New Larousse Encyclopedia of Mythology, updated in 1968, is awful! It’s the most ethnocentric thing I’ve read since I did a project on 1940s propaganda for my undergrad. Honestly, the writer shows absolutely no respect for other ancient civilizations and he never takes the wider context from which the cultures are coming from. He continuously compares to other, Western cultures and myths. It’s just awful. The only good thing about that book at all is that it’s fully illustrated. Which means I might donate it to my sis who occasionally dabbles in collage.

I am still technically reading Coffee House Mafia, and while it is funny and I do like the characters; I just do not particularly like reading on my iPhone. (As I have also previously mentioned.) So please do not take my lack of reading out on the book.

I think I might try non-fiction again. I think I was on to something with that. Does anyone have any suggestions? Either for fiction or non-fiction will do. I’m completely open. I’ve just been catching up on professional reading in the meantime. (Which is also pretty boring, but at least I feel productive.)

How do you get over reading ADD? Have you experienced this before? How did you get over the hump?

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We write a lot about history here, but no necessarily our personal history. I am a firm believer that if we pay attention to the lessons of history, we can learn from them. In that spirit, here is a portion of my history, and I hope it helps someone.
I once dated a real jerk, let’s call him Jerkface Root. Don’t get me wrong, he had good qualities, too. He was brave, good-looking, intelligent, and funny. Unfortunately, he was also a liar, inconsiderate, selfish, and had a temper. For a while our relationship was good. Yes, I saw the bad qualities he possessed, but I thought it had to do with his time in war. I thought those unpleasant tendencies would ease up after he spent more time stateside. After all, I’m not one to shirk from a challenge, and I have a pretty nasty temper myself. We fought occasionally. (Not physically, mind you. True, Root had some PTSD issues. However, I only ever felt he would actually hit me once, and to his credit he restrained himself.) We had a lot of good times, too. Most people really liked him. Most people thought we worked very well together.
We talked about our future, about getting married. As we talked a funny thing began to happen, I noticed that the more we talked about our future the more it seemed like his future. He had very specific ideas about his life and very little concern about what that meant for mine. We fought.
However, at this point, about two years in, I was convinced that we were meant to be together. I actually started thinking about different ways to change my plans to match his. He never budged.
Everything shifted when I spent a summer in a foreign land in which I did not know a soul. I was happy. I realized I didn’t actually need Root for my life to be fulfilling. I could be happy all by my onsie. Still, I wanted to make it work with Root. I did love him after all. When I returned to the US, I began to stop budging myself. I decided that if he wanted a life with me, he would have to work with me instead of me just giving in constantly. I really dug in my heels. We began to fight a lot more.
Right before a holiday celebration we had a doozy of a fight about his unwavering position, and how that would absolutely not be possible with what I wanted to do, and couldn’t he just move an inch to help me out. He didn’t. I gave him an ultimatum: he had to either change and compromise with me, or he would lose me. I gave him three weeks.
He did not change. We broke up.
For a while after breaking up we maintained a friendship. He saw other people. I saw other people. We remained on good terms and even went camping together. (Separate tents and all, no worries.)
Twice after we broke up, he asked me back. He said he had changed. He said he wanted a life with me. Twice I believed him. Twice he shattered my heart.
I was wrong. He was still the same inflexible, inconsiderate person he had always been, and probably always will be.
Do me a favor, if you find yourself in my position, get out when you first notice these inhospitable traits. Get out before you waste four years or more of your life on a man who does not deserve you. Because whoever he might be, he is not worth re-directing your life when he would not do the same.

This is just my side of the story. I shouldn’t have to point out that I’m no saint. I have not-so-good qualities in my own personality. However, in my defence, I have managed to remain on friendly speaking terms with all of my other ex-boyfriends, which I figure is a pretty good character reference.

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The other weekend, I was sitting on a friend’s couch, listening to her romantic woes and about the two biggest relationships she has had to date. Like any good friend, I payed attention to the details and on a personal level, I was fascinated by what were at times unbelievable actions and conversations between my friend and her significant others. You see, I find what some would call gossip enthralling. Since gossip isn’t gossip unless you pass it along or use it for nefarious purposes, I like to think that my interest has more of a psychological or sociological bent. I like to know what is going on in other people’s lives, why they do what they do, and hear about stories that are almost always crazier than anything I could hope to imagine in my own life; I even have a friend who is known for such stories. When asked by a mutual acquaintance if this friend embellishes some of the events she retells, my words were that “this shit is so bizarre, it has to be real!”

So, it is established that I have the predisposition to listen to friends’ problems, out-there stories, and relationship disasters, but apparently, I also give amazing and thoughtful advice. I’m not sure what kind of advice I’ve given to friends in the past that has been useful, but maybe just lending a shoulder and pep-talk goes a long way. I’ve been told many times these exact words: “You’re such a good listener and you give such good advice.”

Ok, I’m flattered. Were I to do college and my career choice over, I might consider becoming a psychologist, so these compliments actually mean a lot to me, besides boosting my sense of what kind of a friend I am to people. Everyone wants to know that they are there for their friends and that they can be trusted to be dumped on by the heaviest burdens and to share them. That’s what friendship is all about.

Sigmund Freud

"And how does that make you feel?"

So, where am I going with all of this? Well, ever since that conversation on my friend’s couch, I’ve been thinking a lot about experience and the capacity to understand events one hasn’t participated in. Maybe distance gives me an objective view of things friends are too emotionally involved in to process. Whatever the explanation, the conversation about my friend’s past loves ended and was finished with the appropriate request for me to reciprocate by sharing my romantic follies.

When I was obviously caught in a situation where I had nothing to say, I did what I always try to do, which is to tell the truth. I told this friend that I didn’t have anything to share and was given a kind, but puzzled look in return. The dialogue that followed was along the lines of “you’re better off” and “men are too much trouble anyway,” but I couldn’t help but wonder what she thought of me. I felt the need to justify what she might have thought was a tight-lipped attitude with an explanation of my dateless existence, just so that she didn’t think I was being rude or one-sided in the swapping of personal details.

So, if I’ve had no real experience of my own, what makes me such an insightful sage that many of my friends seem to feel comfortable talking to? I’m not really sure, but I’m positive that my whole situation is proof positive of the saying “those who can’t do, teach.”

Tooting my own horn for a minute, I have to say that I’m pretty good at the friend-cum-therapist shtick. I listen attentively, ask the right questions, and give the right amount of sympathy and well-meant advice. I can see the path of a friend’s relationship for what it really is before even they can and I’ve predicted the death of numerous relationships and flirtations with a 90% accuracy.

Why then can I not figure myself out? I have no freaking idea!

For now, I guess I’ll just indulge in my hobby and be an ear to friends in crisis. I may not be able to help myself, but apparently, I understand what it’s all about. So let me know what’s troubling you, or give me some explanation for this phenomenon. The doctor’s in!

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