The Sledge of Time.

Yup, I'm bored. There's only so much slacking I can do before the need to be about something chips away at my sanity like some mad artist turning a marble plinth into a bowling trophy. I fear that I have inherited the work ethic of my grandfather and my father (though he has denied that he possesses it) in that neither of them are content to just do nothing and be retired. Unfortunately, I don't have a retirement yet and actually need to work in order to continue eating, thus adding to the weight of the burden of slack upon me. I've actually faced this a couple of times in the past few months, but the prospect of getting a job, instead of easing my worry, has increased my anxiety levels. I feel like a kid at christmas; I'm about to be given a gift that I know the shape of through the packaging, but have yet to unwrap it to find out which bike, or train, or LEGO set has been given to me. I'm excited at the prospect of working again, and being given the opportunity to not only learn something new, but be given the chance to apply it in a meaningful fashion as well. The thrill of discovery coupled with the fulfillment of making a difference, however small, that is meaningful to others. Of course none of this writing is proving as cathartic as I'd hoped...

My dog is back to his old self again. Eyes bright and shining... and open. Basking in the sun, chasing the birds out of the yard, and generally making a nuisance of himself. Always nice to have a companion as loving and loyal as a dog, someone who will keep me from dropping off the edge of benign insanity and hopeful cynicism into the abyssal reaches of the emo psychotic. No I'm not emo, I don't use broodiness and insecurity as hooks to become more popular and feel like a part of some clique. I do wear a lot of black and surround myself with symbols of death and even listen to some of the same music from time to time, but, for the most part, I'm a pretty cheerful person and have no desire to change myself in order to get more people to like me. I am me, and if you like that and want to share the journey down the road of life with me, Great! the more the merrier. If you can't get along with me, find me annoying, can't stand the questions that I force you to ask yourself, that's fine too, nice knowing you, good luck, and if you ever change your mind, I'll still be here, maybe not the same as when you left, but still being me nonetheless.

Of course, there's a little bit of a difference when it comes to forced interaction in the form of a shared work environment, or some form of social obligation like a party or company picnic or something. In one of those cases I'll still be myself, but I'll tone it down a lot at first and gradually dial back the opacity until I've found your tolerance level for the force of my personality. Of course, I'll constantly be testing the boundaries, and ever striving to get you relaxed and comfortable enough with me (yourself maybe?) that there is no need for me to downplay, which has gotten me into trouble a few times.

All of that said, however, relationships are no one-way street. I'll be learning about you, your hopes, aspirations, hobbies, and the things that are uniquely you. And as I gradually get to know and appreciate the other person, their interests also become interesting to me, and I share joy in their successes and sorrow at their miseries. So gradually, I'll grow to have more in common with you, and yet at the same time lose nothing of who I was before. One of the things that shocks a lot of people that I meet is that not only am I genuinely interested in them, but I actually listen and pay attention to what the other person is saying. Most of the people that I know use the time that someone else is talking thinking of what they're going to say next, or looking for a place to drop in with some prepared statement in order to shift the focus of the conversation back to themself. Listening is actually quite an effective way of eliciting information from others, as most are quite willing to keep talking and revealing far more than they usually do when someone is willing to let them, and the occasional brief statement, nod, or suble shift in body language can keep them going down the paths that you find interesting.

So there's my tip for the day. Listen more, and you might just be surprised at how much less you hate someone. Of course, you might also find that there actually is a valid reason for loathing them, which if nothing else will bring you some peace of mind from actual knowledge replacing what was previously just an instinctive response.

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