In the interest of doing a little self-education, I took some time yesterday and did some reading, an activity I have to try and do more and more of during the colder weather months as generally I just want to stay in and vege in front of the telly by nature. I'm planning on doing some additional educational coursework starting in January, too, this year. (Yes, I do hate the winter months, and even have a calendar that counts down the days until spring begins...I only survived last year as well as I did because 5 weeks of the season was spent in Oz, during their summer.) So this winter I have decided to throw my focus onto education and career development, in the hopes that if my mind is fully engaged, my overall spirit will follow suit. While I am quite happy as a solitary person in general, the winter months bring on a series of bad personal memories for me, too. I don't get depressed or anything, but I do get very anxious for the rebirth of nature to begin. And God knows how easily I get bored.
Anywho, purely by accident last week at a local thrift bookshop, I ran across a book (a handwritten manuscript, actually, just bound together with worn fasteners) that's had me intrigued for days now. (Living in an university environment, there is absolutely no shortage of unheard of books or unpublished manuscripts.) In it, this would-be self-help author has a series of tests and questionnaires to help you 'weed out' the goals and thoughts that may be holding you back from accomplishing your dreams. Ideally, being the 'idea-a-second' Aquarian that I am, this is right up my alley. Aquarians such as myself (and our close cousins the Gemini) are never short of ideas, but frequently lack the execution to make those ideas come to fruition. I think that's why I so often seek the 'movers' of people to pair up with, so maybe they'll teach me to move along as well. Sometimes I look at my now dozens of journals over the years (and I'm a big subscriber of the Leonardo da Vinci school of journaling, although mine is minus the backwards writing and absolute genius of The Master's notebooks, obviously) and wonder what would happen if I turned the 'idea' part of my brain off and my 'mad scientist/inventor' part of my brain on. I've not made it far into the manuscript yet, but the following was the fourth 'assessment' and I found it a bit enlightening when I did it. According to the manuscript notes, assessments such as this one can help you see what is really important to you...and perhaps also show you where you're not following that path. I thought I'd share it here, along with my responses (responses in italics immediately following the question). By all means, comments are certainly welcome (as always, folks).
The Questionnaire: Your Top 5
Well, I'm going with groups of things, otherwise I'll be very unhappy: photos (trips, family, classic Hollywood memorabilia), chest of souvenirs from Oz trips, chest of souvenirs from other trips, my journals, and a flash drive with contents from all the computers here (*mental note: need to get a much bigger flash drive)...I think I'd take all of these things because they represent things I could not replace and represent a lot of happy times, whether I was traveling away or creating new things at home
2. Same situation and same restrictions as above, but this time you're evacuating the home of a friend or loved one that you've been house sitting. What 5 items do you choose to take away for them and why?
Any pets (presuming no other humans walk in) come to mind first, then photos...both of these represent items that can't be replaced. Then I'd probably make a quick look for any important papers like insurance or what have you, as that would be needed immediately. Finally, I'd probably try to load up any favourite things I knew they liked (stuffed animals, a painting, etc.), because they could use that to start over with. And if I had the time, I'd take a digital camera to take some pictures of all the rooms before I left...again, something as a memento for the person to have.
3. You've just been accepted into a high-paying research study, set in a wonderful resort of your choosing. You will not have a cell phone, TV, Internet, or radio. You can, however, bring books with you but with one condition: the books have to be reflective of you somehow. You are limited to 5 books total. What 5 books do you take with you and why?
This is going to be a very varied book list, but here goes: "Brave New World" by Huxley, "Pride and Prejudice" by Austen, "The Prince" by Machiavelli, "The Grapes of Wrath" by Steinbeck, and "The Histories" by Herodotus. There are so many more I'd love to include, but I could live with this list well (but would beg to include "The History Of The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire" by Gibbon). Why these? Simple...everything you ever wanted to know about the human condition lies herein, and all can teach us something new with every reading.
4. To survive, you have to be separated from the rest of society for an undetermined amount of time...you have some rare, untreatable disease that could be fatal to not only yourself, but to others. You tell your friends and family, who are devastated at the prospect of losing you, of possibly never seeing you again. Some of them still want to come see you somehow, even if it means they may be exposed. Although your doctors strenuously argue against it, they ultimately let you choose to have 5 visitors. Knowing the dangers to those you love, who do you choose and why?
My beloved Mama, who would walk through Hell for me and never complain, so a little 'untreatable disease' thing would never faze her, let alone dissuade her. The rest is a bit tricky...while I have several good friends, I'm not sure any of them would volunteer to go on a suicide mission essentially to come see me. That's not saying bad about them, it's just to all of their benefits: they all enjoy and fully appreciate life. And honestly, knowing that, I'm not sure I'd invite any of them knowing the risks. If I was going to wither away, though, I'd want a minister/clergy/priest also near their end to discuss religion and/or philosophy with...I fully admit I need to be right with God, but the doubts still remain. On the 'damnation' side, though, there is at least 1 person in Oz I'd invite to come see me...but I'd be very tempted to not mention the dangers. Still vengeful even on my deathbed, I guess.
5. You know you have faults, and you know you have attributes. However, your last job evaluation just came back stinging with criticism. You love your job and want to stay. Your career counselor/mentor realises that many of the criticisms listed are the same ones ex-friends, ex-lovers, etc., have also voiced about you. He/she suggests you acknowledge 5 of those criticisms and get to work. What 5 faults do you choose to work on, who initially suggested it, and why?
Bad area for me, but here goes: (1) lack of tolerance to other people's wishes to 'just be' where they are now, forever (from an ex-friend); (2) insensitivity to those who didn't have a pleasant childhood or good home life (from another ex-friend, although she could never vocalize it well); (3) lack of determination to actually to see some dreams through to the end, constantly 'overthinking' things (from so many people over time I've lost count); (4) bad self-image and decreased self-confidence over the last few years (a current and ex-boss); and (5) to be too trusting with people I don't know as well as I should (an ex-friend in Oz). Why do I need to work on these? Hmmm...hate to admit it, but it's because I keep repeating the same behaviours and getting hurt in the process.