Friday, August 24, 2012

Changing Jobs - Perspective and Exposure Concept

I recently changed job locations and while a move like this would normally make me stressed out and nervous, this time it didn't.  I think it has a lot to do with perspective.  See previously I was working at a big school with a good reputation and now I am working at a little school without a reputation.  I compare it to someone who lived in New York city who then moves out to a small town in the country.  It's as they say, "If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere." 

So this new position has been pretty easy.  The teachers are not intimidating, nor are the students.  Everything is just a big step down from what I was used to and that makes it seem easy.  I remember feeling the opposite way when I moved from a small school to the big school.  Just pulling into the parking lot and seeing how many cars were there was enough to increase your heart rate.

I think this concept applies to all parts of life.  Someone called it exposure therapy.  Basically you expose yourself to a stressful environment until you become used to it and it no longer becomes stressful.  Once you overcome that obstacle, everything else seems much easier. 

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Year Book Reflection, Friendship, and Keeping in Touch with People


I was going through some old stuff the other day and found my Jr. High School year books. It was so long ago, I didn't even remember I had year books for Jr. High. So of course I look through them and see all these familiar faces of people I had forgotten about. That's what is great about yearbooks. They are like a time capsule that can bring memories of the past. Most of the people I probably wouldn't even recognize today, but in the book, they stay as you remembered them.

This got me reflecting on the people I knew back then and how I haven't kept in touch with any of them. I was never really part if the "in crowd" at school. I was good at sports so that made me a cool kid, but as I got older, I found my own group of "regular" friends. I had a small group in Jr. High and another group in High School. I also was on the cross country team, so I made friends there too.

Out of school I would occasionally hang out with friends, but I was never one to initiate an activity. I was not very social back then. I'm not social now, but back then it was even worse. Still I had friends. I remember not wanting to ask people to do something like go see a movie because I didn't want to be responsible if they had a bad time. Like if I asked them to go see a movie and they didn't like the movie, I would feel bad, so I never really organized activities for us to do.

I was kind of clueless to the fact that friendships have to work 2 ways. One time my friend called me out on it. He showed me new cell phone he got and was implying that you use it to call people to do stuff. I was just kinda like "Cool phone.", completely missing the point. I didn't make enough effort with my friendships and over time that's how I lost them.

Into college, I had a group of friends that I met in the dorms there but after I left, I lost touch with them. During summers I would occasionally meet up with my old friends from high school. After a couple years those friendships faded. I will take responsibility for that, and I kind of think I distanced myself from them on purpose. Not that they were bad, but they were not all good. At times I felt like they took advantage of me. Also I didn't like the fact that they expected me to participate in activities that I didn't want to do. Nothing illegal or anything, just things I didn't want to do.

So after college, I pretty much lost touch with everyone. I sort of made new relationships online at that time with people from all over who had similar interests such as music. When social media like Facebook came around and made it easy for people to reconnect with old friends, I stayed away from it. Still to this day, I don't use Facebook. One of the main reasons is I don't want people I used to know to find me. People grow up and change. I don't want to be compared to others my age. This has been a big issue with me, so much that I tend to avoid people my age in social and work situations. I feel more comfortable around older people who I cannot be directly compared to.

Maybe I am not satisfied with my life and feel like I should have accomplished more or turned out better. I think I have done ok, but I know others have gone on to greater things and I don't want to be compared to that. So now I don't have much of a social life, but I think that is intentional. I know it is good to have friends, but it is also nice to be independent and not have to be there to support other people. I wonder if I will ever try to reconnect with old friends. It's a possibility, but people change and move on to other things and make new friends. Maybe one day if I become more comfortable and satisfied with how I have turned out I might reconnect.

UPDATE 8-4-12
I just paged through my high school year book and read the messages from my friends. I was surprised at how much they seemed to like me and it makes me wonder why I haven't kept in touch with them. Your school years are some of the best times in your life to meet people and make friends. You are around the same group of people who are exactly your age and are growing up in the same environment, so immediately you have a lot in common. Once you have developed these relationships, you should hold on to them, if they are good friends of course. I'm sure there are others in my place who have grown up and lost touch with the people they knew from childhood.

This reminds me of a senior student I knew this past year. It was time to get year books and he didn't really care to pick one up. I thought that was odd and tried to tell him he should get it because in the future he will want to look back at it and remember people. A yearbook is a fantastic resource for this. Maybe it's because we have things like Facebook now that kind of does the same thing, but still there is no replacement for a yearbook. If you are in high school now or will soon be, make sure to get your year book and have all your friends write a message in it for you. Trust me, this kind of thing is special and worth a lot more than it seems at the time.

UPDATE 2-22-14
I have been thinking more about the topic of keeping in touch with people and about old friends in general.  I recently came to the realization that all those people you knew growing up who you no longer know are still out there living their lives.  I know this is obvious, but it is interesting if you really think about it.  All the people you grew up with are still out there doing their own thing.  If you do a little searching you will probably find information on some of your old friends you have not thought about for years.  Often you can see what they are doing such as what career field they are in or if they have gotten married or started a family.

Looking back, there are some people who were good friends, that I should have made the effort to stay friends with.  At the time, I didn't think much of it, they were just people that I knew, but some of them were really great friends now that I look back and reflect on everything.  I'm not necessarily motivated to try to get back in touch with them, I'm just saying that I might have done things a little differently if I had the perspective I have now as an adult.