Some thoughts on a Saturday: Complicated now, complicated later

There is always a certain amount of complication when two or more people interact.

There are a lot of reasons for this, differing goals, differing backgrounds, differing expectations, different ways of communicating . . .

The point is not to get lost in the endless possibilities of why there are complications, and trying to categorize and analyze the complications.

The point is to acknowledge the complications will be there, in some form or another, regardless of what you or anyone else does. It’s part of life.

And once that acceptance is made, you move on to the next decision: do you want it to be complicated now, or complicated later?

Complicated now: you sit down and spend some time inside your own head. No, not dwelling over past victories and defeats, but asking yourself what you want going forward. What type of person do you want to be? What type of person do you not want to be? What do you want materially? How much of yourself are you willing to sacrifice to get that? How much of yourself do you actually have to spend? How much can you really handle, both in terms of skills and in terms of time and energy available to you?

All that takes some time, but at the end you’ll have a set of rules and priorities. You can go back and change them if you think you could get better results with different rules. Personally, I think a fair amount of time before changing my own rules, and I consider a matter for quite a long time before I change my priorities.

No, you don’t have to tell the whole world what your rules and priorities are. In fact, I’d advise against doing that because there are people you will encounter who like to break rules just to show they can, and it’s really a pain to deal with someone who breaks every rule you set just because they think it makes them “cute” and “sassy” and “different”. (1)

But it does mean that when you are in a new or unexpected situation, you have a framework to base your actions on. You have some idea of what you want and don’t want out of that situation, and you’ll even have an idea of what you are comfortable saying and doing as you work your way through whatever is going on.

Because you spent the time to complicate things at the front end, the actual implementation is much simpler.

Complicated later: you don’t do any of that stuff. No self-reflection, no prioritization, no self-discipline, no humility, no self-awareness.

None of that, it’s all way too complicated.

So you just go with the flow, are spontaneous and natural and say whatever’s on your mind.

And because your emotions are variable and you are subject to whims just like any of us and have bad days just like any of us where you’re mad at the world, as well as manic days where you have so much energy you don’t know if you’re coming or going, other people see you as someone who can’t be relied on for anything, except you can be relied on to react very quickly without any thought for the long-term consequences to anyone else, and you can be relied on to always have some way of brushing off or deflecting any criticism of your actions.

Wow, does that sound like someone you’d want to have around?

You just said something that made somebody else look like an ass, because you’d rather they look like a jerk than you have to apologize for the thing you said. You spent a whole evening as a guest in someone else’s house, telling them the whole time how hi-lar-i-ous you think it is that the eyeglasses they wore as children 30 years ago were not fashionable, and it was even more hi-lar-i-ous that 10 years ago they didn’t obsess over visiting a facial salon as much as you thought they should have. HA! HA! HA! HA!

Meanwhile, if you have relatives who can’t keep their mouth shut and you can’t keep your shut around them, or around anyone else for that matter, then your friends (and your friends’ friends) have to spend a lot of time thinking about what — if anything — they can say around you. And finally they have to spend a lot more time deciding how much they want to be around you if they have to examine every word they say (“How can this be used against me?” “What if someone posts this on Facebook?” “Am I comfortable having some random person shout this at a ball game and then say it was because I said it?”) because God knows it’s beyond you to think at all about the consequences before you repeat what they’ve said. (2)

Just realizing the damage you’ve done to your own reputation will be complicated enough. (For that matter, there’s a lot of people who seem to find it too complicated to even recognize reputations exist, or matter.) Undoing that damage, convincing other people that’s not who you are, and actually putting in the hard work to convince them you really are somebody else, hopefully somebody they’d like to have around — well, that’s really really really COMPLICATED.

So, you can make things complicated now, or complicated later. That’s a choice you have to make. The complications will exist, whether you like them or not.

(1) On a side note, for every one of you out there who likes to break rules just because it’s a rule, because that proves how “different” you are: you are all absolutely alike. I’ve dealt with over a dozen of you, and each and every one of you uses the same poor logic, each and every one of you acts like if an idea is new to you, then it must be new to the whole entire world, and therefore nobody in the world will have thought of any way to resist your genius ploy, and each and every one of you has the same baffled surprise when someone else says “No.” and the same resentful sulky expression when someone says “No, and I’m going to explain to you why I’m saying No, because if you continue to do this, I’m not going to associate with you, and I’m going to take a hard look at anyone else who does.”

(2) For some unknown reason, the last few years I’ve been encountering this “Somebody else said it, so if I repeat it, it’s not my fault, I’m not responsible” rationale among Christians. Not just people who say yeah, Christ was a pretty good guy, but the type of Christians who are quite proud of such-and-such history of such-and-such denomination they go to, and who are quite quick with minutiae like where 666 as the number of the beast comes from, or what day of the week of creation God created animals, and what day plants. They get the details right and are quite proud of themselves for knowing those details, but very major things like “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” are just waaaaayyyy too difficult and complicated. I really don’t get this, but at any rate my statement “because God knows it’s beyond you to think at all about the consequences before you repeat what they’ve said.” was not just hyperbole. I hope God knows why it is the consequences of their actions are just too much work to contemplate, because it sure doesn’t make any sense to me.

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