The older I get the more I realize my life is based on dichotomies. The law of opposite pairs exerting equal and opposite pressure. I've thought about it a lot as I begin a new stage in life... I was, or I think I was, hired for a short-term contract position as content developer with Support Space's certification team... It brought up a lot of questions back into the front burner. I've tried to condense them into the dichotomies as I'm feeling them right now.
Short term satisfaction versus long term happiness
The old now versus later. I have a job for the next 3 months and then I'll have to decide if I want to stay (assuming that they'll want to keep me anyways) or I want to move into something else.
Staying put means that I get stability for the short term; I'm happy right now and the future will take care of itself. Tomorrow is someone else's today (because, hopefully you're not the same person you were yesterday) so why worry about something that hasn't happened. The may renew the contract or turn it into a permanent position but who cares, that's further down the road... I just worry about today 🙂
On the other hand, I don't know if I'm cut for self employment or jumping from contract to contract. When I joined location rebels I thought I was ready to take the plunge but I absolutely hate uncertainty and right now I need stability so I can fully recover from surgery, build my strength back up and train for my first freaking Ironman and get that done with.
What you think you want versus what you need and what you think you need
Yes, I like to travel. Yes I like my creature comforts but as I wrote in the last post, I can't loose sight that money is only a means to an end. If I want to be happy then I have to identify the things and people who make me happy and how to best reach them.
Identifying what I need is hard. Stripping the core of who Carlos is may be the hardest thing for me to do but it is also the most important. It's not an easy thing that I can answer in a few minutes. It'll take a while to accept the fact that I need to do it and to come up with the answers that are true and honest.
Sometimes it simple stuff like an office where I can concentrate in what I'm doing but sometimes it's essential like being able to buy insurance (and hell knows I made good use of it in 2011) so it's not as easy as you think it is or how it seems to be when you're younger 🙂
Right versus wrong
I'm disappointed with the world in general. People who bitch because their lives become harder and who don't pay attention to the people around them who have it harder than they do and who, unless changes happen, are not going to get better.
Case in point when Obamacare first came out I was overjoyed because I would finally be able to get insurance when unemployed (because of a preexisting skin condition I was denied insurance by all major carriers in California).
You'd think that requiring people to provide health insurance would be welcome by most people... truth is I got hammered when I defended it. All that people cared about was that it would use their taxes and they wouldn't see any benefit. As long as it doesn't affect me it's OK to go ahead with pretty much everything.
Some times I tend to fall into the You can do whatever you want as long as it doesn't affect me group. Leave me alone and don't bother me unless things have a perceived direct impact on my life. The hard part is to remember that whether it impacts your life or not you are to stand for the one who cannot stand for themselves even if it's not the popular stance along your friends or your community.
Politically it's been an interesting year where I've seen the faith I follow being radicalized and turned into a political tool. It had happened before and I have very bitter memories of the events. In a way it has soured me to the institution of the church.
The church I was taught about growing up was one of love and acceptance, not one where the christian denominations along with the LDS are the biggest backers of Proposition 8 yet when you hear Christians talk about Mormons it's in the context of being a cult and not deserving salvation if they don't become Christians.
In the new testament Jesus himself says that the biggest all commandments is to love one another yet we marginalize those who are different to us. I don't know if it's just because I'm looking for faults but I constantly see people turn their noses when it comes to dealing with those who are different.
And it's not just now, it looks like so-called Christians are always looking for those who are different in order to put them down. Slaves were denied all basic rights of American citizens (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slave_codes) until the 14th amendment was ratified in the late 1800s. We denied people of color to have relationships with people of other races until the late 1960s (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-miscegenation_laws_in_the_United_States). And even now we seek to deny those who can't afford it the opportunity to seek medical care either by using services like planned parenthood (see the fiasco with Susan G Komen and Planned Parenthood) or their tacit and belligerent opposition to the Affordable Care Act just because it wasn't proposed by a Christian Republican (or even a Mormon like Romney who did something very similar when he was governor of Massachusetts) President (See this article for a better answer)
And before you tell me it's individual Christians who argue for these things or that not all the people who voted for these things are Christians and you may be right. But Christian majority now and then didn't say anything to defend the lesser of our brothers and sisters or those who were persecuted for their faith, the color of their skins or the color of the skins of their loved ones. Most Christians had slaves and treated them as inferiors and property. Most Christians forget what it is to live in poverty because they are well to do.
Holding your tongue versus standing for what you believe in
There comes a time when reigning in your tongues is not what's needed. Part of accountability is to say what needs to be said when it needs to be said and damn the consequences. In not challenging the things we perceive to be wrong we become accomplices in the wrongs that people who are Christians commit against the world.
I'm always reminded of Martin Niemöller's quote:
First they came for the communists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a communist. Then they came for the trade unionists, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Past versus future
Learning to live without regrets or rather not letting regrets drive my life moving forward. Sounds easy, doesn't it?
Well, it isn't... at least it's not always easy.
Most of the time is hard as hell to remain centered in the here and now when I have constant reminders of what I let go. I try hard not to stay focused on those things but I'm really bad at just cutting ties and letting go. Some times because of perceived guilt but other times because I just don't know how to.
Some times I can't help but wonder... wonder if I can sustain a relationship or even if I want to get involved in one. Part of the reason why I want to travel and be away from California, I think, is the chance to begin anew. But I tried that and it didn't work, remember?
Would a different set of circumstances make it work? I don't know and I don't know if I want to try or not.