A few weeks back I wrote about how People Do Not Make Sense to me anymore. This still holds true, I guess. Yet, over the last week I have been thinking a lot about others and eventually a couple nights ago the narrative occupying my mind, my living quarters, and imbedded in each move I made (make?) flipped on me. What if it is me who does not make sense anymore?
Early in my graduate studies program my cohort and I took a change theory course. Walking into this course I was adamant that change is not possible, that people do not change, and that as practitioners we should be looking for ways to work with people as they are but not to change people. That course, changed me! I shifted my academic and professional career from recreational based practices to narrative therapy, I started to believe in counselling (for others, not me), I went from being a fairly happy person to having many moments of doubt that led to a highly reflective lifestyle, and I started running marathons.
The last years have accumulated various other changes such as calling Victoria BC home instead of Calgary AB, a shift to an academic career versus a practice oriented career (this will likely shift back and forth for many years to come), to a new nutritional and physical activity regime, globe trotting, and constantly altering religious and/or spiritual views and practices. I have made friends, lost friends, left friends and found friends. And in many ways, I have likely altered (changed) the lives of others. While I hope for the better, one can never really be too sure of their impact on another.
Anyways, I have gone on a tangent. Those, I do not think have changed over the years. But, for your sake, let me get back on track.
What this new narrative is telling me is that other people no longer make sense because I no longer make sense to myself. I am content with few social interactions, enjoy walks along the ocean independently of others, I have found comfort near water, I can sit at my coffee table and journal for more hours than I can hold a conversation with another person, I do not drink coffee like most thirty year olds I know, my career is not set nor do I have a consistent income. I think long and hard about every action I take and the intention behind each action. I avoid text messages and phones calls, and I can spend hours reading and writing (which is currently my job) without realizing the sun has come up and gone down. I have to set an alarm to remind myself to eat or I could go days without a full meal. I live by a schedule that indicates when and where I will be. And, if it was not for my volunteer commitments or Friday afternoon nerdfest with a fellow graduate student, I likely could go days without wearing clothing other than my house pants and shirts.
This may not sound all that odd to you. In fact, on paper it sounds like a graduate student life that I was told about as I entered the doctoral program I am now feverishly working to escape from. But for me, this is odd. I used to like being around people (for a short periods of time). I would welcome others to join in on my morning or evening stroll and my journalling would only last a hot cup of tea. I never worried about my financial status or debated every move I made. I was quick to react and would never leave a message unreturned (I thought, and still do think, that it is rude to not respond to those making an effort to connect). And reading, well I hated it.
None of these shifts are bad and if your mind has gone to wondering if I am “sad” or “depressed”, I am neither. What I am, is developing (changing…ughh) into the person I am met to be. I have found (dis)comfort in my own skin, in my own space, in my own life that I am trying to learn about. I want to know everything about me, I want to explore the world through my eyes and not the perceptions of others, and I want to learn what each feeling feels like in my body. To do this, I have to be alone at times, I have to engage in the world independently, and I need to find reflection at the top of my priority list. This is not being “sad” or “depressed”, this is being me. This me does not make sense to me yet. I am not sure when or if it ever will. But what I do know, for this moment at least, is that it is not you that does not make sense, it is me!