murdering my cynicism.

Fighting my inner cynic has been a personal battle of mine for a long time.

This is probably a surprise to many.  My sunny disposition, hippy demeanor and general optimism doesn’t seem to be compatible with cynicism.  The truth is, those traits that I hold are actually born out of that attitude.

So where does it come from?

Cynicism can be like a cocoon.  A heartbreak, a betrayal, a friendship ended, a tumultuous childhood, a racist remark, a hurtful comment here and there and eventually, this warm blanket of doubt and suspicion envelops you.  A coping mechanism that you hope will save you from the shock of future disappointments and letdowns.

Life can be difficult sometimes.  Our loved ones can let us down.  Our leaders can be exposed as liars.  Even coworkers and acquaintances can fail to live up to our expectations, even when those expectations are pretty low.  But hiding inside yourself doesn’t lead to a rich life full of fulfilling experiences and meaningful relationships.  That can only be achieved by being vulnerable and accepting that along the way, you may indeed get hurt.  You won’t get joy without risking pain.

Honestly, my cynicism is incredibly fragile.  It melts away so easily by the kindness of others, hugs, kisses, sharing a meal with friends, traveling, the laughter I hear from my patient or playing with a puppy.

When I slide a little too deeply into my cynicism, I have to remind myself of where that road can lead.  I have witnessed the horrible examples of people who gave in so deeply to their cynicism, building up wall after wall, so greatly hurt by past trauma that they ended up as nasty, bitter assholes.

No thanks.  Not about that life.

So here’s to the death of my cynicism.  I had to shoot it and bury it in the backyard.  I had to murder my cynicism in favor of kindness, love and forgiveness. I had to kill my cynicism to let gratitude, happiness and positivity in.

I have to be brave.  Cynicism is the coward’s method to life.  I would rather be courageous, risk getting hurt and enjoy my life.

You’re going to scrape your knee,

an ode to worrying.

My brain is weird.

At any given moment, even if I’m already performing a task during the day, I’m always thinking ahead to something else.  Usually, this means I have a perpetually running checklist of things that need to be done that day and a strategy to complete them in the most time-effective way possible.  Efficiency is kind of my thing.

On top of the normal checklist, I also have a steady background noise in my head that is dedicated to looking into the near and distant future.  “If I make career move A versus career move B, how will that affect my earning potential in 20 years?”.  “If I start saving now, I can probably take a trip to Japan next year”.  That sort of thing.

As you might imagine, this kind of thinking is a bit of a double-edged sword.

On the one hand, this trait has served me well in certain areas of my life.  Being able to think ahead and predict how a project could get derailed and then be able to come up with a litany of contingency plans to resolve those potential issues has, oddly enough, proven helpful in my career as a project manager.  Additionally, worrying about potential danger has most likely kept me safe in a variety of situations, especially on the days and nights I was by myself, working in New York City.

However, in my younger, more anxious days (mainly high school), this kind of thinking caused a great deal of distress.  Looking back, I realize that it was my mother, the World Champion of Worrying, who set the example for me.  As I got a little older and a little more independent, I started to realize that not everything is a crisis.  Some things simply don’t need or deserve the same expenditure of emotional energy.  Many times it’s necessary to not give even one single fuck about certain things.

As bad as worrying can be, and it can definitely be very, very bad, I’m still thankful for this little defect.  If I wasn’t prone to worrying, I probably would have never discovered meditation, yoga or even the simple joy of walking through the woods to clear my mind.  Essentially, worrying has taught me to how to relax.  And while I’m still not always the best at it (many thanks to my loved ones who remind me to live in the moment), I now see Worrying, not as an enemy, but as a somewhat annoying, lifelong friend.