Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Learning Acceptance

For being 41 years old, I'll admit there was a lot of things I hadn't done in my life until most recently. When you don't have a significant other around, there are just some events that you just don't get to do or it's weird to do them alone. I think my living conditions before I moved in with girl didn't help things, either, in so much as I loved the location but being in a studio apartment meant that there weren't a lot of visitors about. Northwest Portland is an amazing place to visit with its many restaurants, bars, bookstores, sights, coffee houses, you could do so many things and be around so many people. And yet really feel all by yourself.

I had really accepted the fact that I wasn't going to meet anyone to fall in love with after my mom died, and then girl came into my life and changed that. She also spent a lot of time helping me rethink a lot of things, not without some resistance and other things. She only wants the best from me, I get that. And in the end, that's all I want as well. But I have a few lessons to learn that will help me, and one of them is learning acceptance.

I know there's the famous phrase about knowing the things you can control, the things you can't and getting the serenity to know the difference, which many people think covers what acceptance is. I've never really thought about that quote, because I always found it rather cheesy and cliched. But I also work in a large corporation that is constantly coming up with mission statements and mottos to represent this and that, when in reality the best motto doesn't represent the fact that people do what they want to do as long as they can get away with it no matter what credo is on the door. Management may try their best to change thinking, but simply put the corporation is always going to do what it can get away with simply because that's how they work. We hope that they will do good things and be ethical about their decisions, but anyone following the trade papers knows that isn't always the case. The business pages have as much legal news as most sports sections do about litigation, because we can't always trust those with money or power.

Acceptance means that you understand how things are at this point and are OK with that. It doesn't mean you have to be happy about the events, or that you can't wish they were different, but simply to keep sane you have to accept the reality of things for what they are. It's a tough lesson to learn for me, a lifelong sports fan who has always been able to imagine things as they could be, envisioning trades and new players, seeing the optimism of the new season, playing fantasy sports, and generally being able to create a different reality of sorts. If things don't work out the way they should, there's always a reason from lack of coaching to injuries to a bad official to travel to whatever, because I know in my heart that my team is better than that. But this line also keeps you from recognizing that the team may not have the talent to compete, the players you love maybe aren't as good as you think, or it's just not their year to win. For all the hard work and practice that happens in sports, sometimes wins and losses are determined by the bounce of a ball, a miss of a shot, or a last second miracle.

True fans accept the reality of this, and love their teams no matter what happens. I know that's tough, especially in hearing from sports radio or other fans all the troubles happening or what they could do differently. But in order to keep sane and not going too nuts, it's important to have this focus which I know for me will be easier said than done sometimes. There will be points where I'll bitch about the officials or get down on a missed play, but in reality, I need to love my team no matter what. It's all about accepting them for what they are, and sticking with them in the good times and the bad times. And really, the world of sports tends to operate in cycles like that, so things aren't always going to be gloom and doom (well, we hope anyway unless you are a Cubs fan).

But in my own interpersonal dealings, I need to learn this lesson as well. I don't need to go into the gory details of what's going on with me, except to say that I'm trying to find a happy place to be in with some relationships with members of my family. I love them no matter what, but at this point, my relationships are never going to be like what they were when we were younger. I need to accept them for who they are, including their faults and issues and they need to accept me for who I am. I'm talking to a professional to try and figure out coping skills to deal with some of this stuff, including some of the unresolved issues that exist and may remain unresolved for the rest of my life. I'm hoping that the journey I'm going on right now will allow me to find the peace to learn this lesson, because it's about time that I truly think of me and my happiness...and the future happiness of my clan. It's really that important...

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