“Perhaps a key lesson I have definitely learned over the years is to step away sometimes.”
OK, so let’s assume there is a bonfire right in front of you. If you were to touch it directly, it would burn and hurt you, right? Obviously, the answer is yes. So what would the obvious thing to do if it is burning you? You stop touching it.
Again, pretty obvious, right? It is, and yet I am someone who definitely has not learned his lesson no matter how many times I let myself feel the burn.
The point of the matter is, regardless if it is a fire or whatever kind of analogy you want to use, it’s the same darn thing. A lot of people like myself never learn to avoid that which is bringing us down or harming us in some literal fashion. And thus, the cycle repeats and repeats until something changes.
Don’t get me wrong. Confronting particular problems directly is important, as mustering up courage to do so can be a big undertaking within itself. However, there are certainly other cases where just avoiding what is ailing you is just as effective, if not more ideal, when it is appropriate for such a course of action.
Looking back at it all, I learned a lot about avoidance when I was an unemployed guy who was living at home with his parents after graduating college.
At my worse, I had to avoid a lot of things until I got my head back in the game. When I felt defeated and worthless because I could not find any job to bring in any income toward my name. I had to deal with a lot of lectures and straight-up yelling sessions with my dad about it. Maybe back then it was cowardly of me, but I just started to avoid my dad as best as I could.
My dad worked throughout most of the afternoon until late at night, so there was a time frame where I could essentially “dodge” my dad if I just woke up at the right hour before he would get up.
It was not my bravest moments, nor was it something I would even like to admit wholeheartedly, but I spent my share of time “walking” away from my dad. During a certain point in the morning, I just would go outside and start walking around for hours.
Where would I go? Anywhere but home. That was what I had to do. I was weak. I was quite pathetic. I was at rock bottom in all kinds of ways. It had to be done.
My dad never stopped me or tried to follow me.
I walked around the neighborhood. I walked alongside the river by my house. I walked around near the hills. As long as I never had to come across my dad, as long as he and I did not have to make any contact, I could therefore avoid some of the negativity.
And I get it. I was a jobless dude who needed a kick in the rear. Perhaps I needed someone like my dad to snap me out of my funk and really drag me out of my rut. Still, for someone like me at the time, I guess I am kind of glad I was able to recover somewhat by sticking to this avoidance thing with my father.
Just being scolded and reminded how crappy I was doing with my life was so detrimental, so toxic and so damaging for someone as vulnerable like me.
What can I say? I was an easy target. I wasn’t being myself. I was just a big mess that needed to be cleaned up.
Years now in the aftermath of it all, I can at least talk to my dad. Sort of, anyway. We never really had much of a rapport, especially as far as father and son. In his own way, he was just trying to look out for me and “motivate” me to get my act together. He didn’t want to see his college grad son be an unemployed loser.
And sure, some of his comments at the time really hurt me on a personal level, like saying my college degree was worthless now and I should just throw it away into the trash. But words are words. He was just mad and frustrated with me. I was mad and frustrated with myself in certain regards as well.
I avoided my dad to keep myself going, in a weird and indirect way. Again, not my bravest moments. But this is what I had to do. As long as I avoided a particular element in my life at the time that could inject any further negativity into my well-being, I could survive and hopefully recover enough until I was strong again.
My logic back then was to retreat and regroup later. I needed to collect my thoughts. I just needed to step away from it all until my mind was clear again to see the answer lying in front of me.
When something is burning, you have to save what you can. By salvaging what remains, there will always be some kind of chance a comeback can be made down the road.
For someone like me, I am still on that road. Toward what? I don’t really know. I am not certain because life has given me new things these days to avoid, or at least that’s what my gut is telling me.
Hang in There
In regards to my dad, I guess part of me has always wished he was more supportive and less hostile about me being unemployed back then. I was weak and incapable of figuring it out as fast as I could. I accept this fact. However, being enabled and coddled at my worst would have been bad in its own ways.
I never would have learned how to grow up. This would have been the major drawback.
Tough times strengthen the sense of resolve. For me, my initial resolve was nonexistent. I was an entitled brat who thought the world owed me a favor or two. It owed me nothing. Heck, I should have been more prepared to fight for what I wanted out of life. The universe is such a cruel, yet understandably competitive environment in this manner.
Right now, I want to make the right moves. I want to get to that next stage so badly, but I keep stumbling. I keep having to push back my plans because things are not falling into place the right way.
I am naturally vexed about it all, but I rather would be vexed that some pieces of the puzzle don’t quite fit yet versus being down on my luck with nothing to show for it.
I want to avoid those bad things that hinder me, but I also have certain things that must be addressed in some sort of head-to-head manner.
“Progress is perseverance.” – Nhan Fiction