Thought For Thursday – Taking Time Where it Matters … To You!


This week on Facebook I have seen the following quote shared a few times:

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.” _ Meryl Streep

It is very easy to read that as negative and standoff-ish … but I saw instead something purely positive and self-affirming. Several months ago I wrote about creating healthy boundaries in relationships, and what Meryl says is all about that – saying ‘enough’.

At the same time I loved a line in this post from Laura: I’m ready to find what I love doing again, whether it’s blog worthy or not.

Here are a few thoughts about that …

Decide What YOU Really Want

This can be as simple as ‘I want to learn to play the piano’, or ‘I need to change how I engage in romantic relationships to make myself more happy’, or anywhere in between. The simple reality is that most of us have something in our lives we are either not doing, or are doing but wish we could change. Figure out what yours is (or are) … and do something about it.

Not saying it is easy – and really, just identifying it can be hard enough. But you owe it to yourself to try.

Stop Letting Others Dictate Your Life

Maybe it is because I am in my late 40s and so many bloggers in this running / healthy living arena are in their 20s … but I feel like I see the impact of peer pressure just about every day as I browse my blog feeds. Whether it is someone over-selling how thrilled they are to have so many hands pushing them in various directions about planning major events in their life, or people ending up in places (jobs, relationships, homes, cities, countries) that they quickly realize they never wanted because others told them they SHOULD want those things, and so on … I am constantly seeing people who I fully expect will be saying to themselves or someone close to them in 10 years – ‘well, there are two years / $1000 / whatever I can never get back’

Most of us have things we compromise or concede on in our lives – that is the nature of life with others. But there comes a point where it is not about working together but instead about compromising ideals – and that is when it needs to stop.

The life led for someone else is full of regrets.

Remember That Those Who Love You, Support You

But that doesn’t mean they will always agree with you or tell you that what you choose is great – sometimes the best support is calling us out on our crap. But they do it with the best of intent – you can tell if someone really cares because they are happy for your successes and sad for your failures, and there to listen no matter what.

Further, I have noticed that places like Facebook and our own blog world are very insular and ‘same-mind’. In other words if you see opinions you don’t like, you ignore once, then on the second or third time you silence by ‘unfollowing’. That eliminates views we don’t agree with from our sight – but not from reality. Sometimes this is good … but sometimes it just further leads us down a world where everyone agrees and we never are forced to step out and learn about ourselves.

Ultimately You Get No Points for Doing What is Expected

You joined the right clubs and groups, owned the right cars, wore the right clothes, sat with the right people and so on … isn’t that enough? No.

A big part of life is discovering who you are – so if you simply sleepwalk through high school, college, getting a job, marriage, buying a house and having kids … you will wake up in your 30s with no idea who you are or what this life is you find yourself in the midst of.

What You Love Today … You Might Not Love Tomorrow

One thing I read into what Laura says above is that what she wants to do might not fit with blogging – but that is OK.

I spent a lot of time the last few years trying to compartmentalize computer functionality, to maximize efficient use of tablets to replace computers. But this year that has shifted and isn’t something I want to spend energy doing. That is fine. I also used to play a lot more computer games than now. And up through last year I kept chipping away at character sketches to write a novel.

This year is different … as a new school year starts I am feeling introspective, looking to clarify what I want to be doing and simply my approaches and shed things I don’t care about. There is no obligation – I don’t owe anything to iPad Music accessories if I decide to go back to using a full-sized studio, right?

We don’t owe anything to races or to blogging either – they are things we do purely by choice. Our health? Well, I think we owe it to ourselves to always strive to be the best version of ourselves possible. Which for me means another run in the morning, and another day focused on mental, emotional and physical health … surrounded by a wife and kids I love.

What Are YOU Doing to Make Sure YOU Are Living Your Life For YOU?!?

28 thoughts on “Thought For Thursday – Taking Time Where it Matters … To You!

  1. Thank you for this post Michael, it was perfectly timed for me. Sometimes I just need an additional reminder. I have been spending a lot of time lately deciding what I really want out of this life, mostly from a professional standpoint. although from a personal standpoint as well. Thinking through the things that will eventually allow me to achieve my longer term goals (working closer to home = more time with the family.) It’s been a really hard and exhausting exercise at times but I am now taking steps now to get to where I want to be (and get what I want.) Keep your fingers crossed for me.

    • It really is stressful! I hope you do figure out what is the best path for you … it is a constant chase, and never really too late! I am sure you’ll end up great!

  2. So true and so appropriate for today. I’m 50 today and am in the middle of some re-assessments. I’ve been in the same career since college. Different companies but just different versions of the same job. I’m ready fo a change. Not sure yet what that will be, I also understand that a career change at 50 wont be easy.
    I’m doing my current job to make others happy – to pay the mortgage and get the kids through college. What’s a guy to do?

    • Those reasons – mortgage, bills, kids – are very typical of why even if we do figure out what we would love to do … we’re restrained from ‘chasing our dreams’. And yeah, career change at 50 will require you to work extra hard to make it happen – but if you are following your passion, no problem!

  3. Thanks, Mike! You know I’m thinking a lot about what I want to do for me. These after work walks this week have really been a good recharge for me, and I hate to say it but the shin injury keeping me from running may be a blessing in disguise. It’s reminding me that fitness is just as much about your mental health as your physical. If the focus is always on getting in miles, burning calories, going faster, then ultimately my mental health goes by the wayside. Taking time to just get fresh air and recharge is as vital as an 8 minute mile to me right now, and I hope the feeling doesn’t change the instant I notice an extra pound around my middle.

    • haha – completely agree! That thing where we tie our self-esteem to our pant size is really a problem for so many of us … and keeps us from realizing what really matters. I loved reading about your walks … and REALLY loved today’s post on your marriage – happy anniversary in advance 🙂

  4. Great post, and super empowering. Living my life for me is something that I have worked very hard on this past year. I think that it is my area of the greatest personal growth, and that is something that makes me very proud. I honestly think that writing my blog has become an excellent way for me to check in with myself and make sure that I am still pursing things that I am excited about!

    • Awesome! I think that living for yourself is a lifelong pursuit and effort … I mean you have the whole med-school / resident / whatever thing that weighs on your life together, which necessarily pulls at your ability to focus on yourselves. Then there are the whole medical things … so I think it is fantastic that you have made such progress – and your blog reflects that, which is why so many of us love it. It is purely you – and if you suddenly decided that it would become a knitting blog, we’d still be there 🙂

  5. Very good post, and very timely, since I posted today about bucking traditional wedding standards and doing what Ben and I want, rather than what’s “expected.” My mom’s disappointed, but she’ll get over it cause she loves us.

    • I loved your post and will comment later, but these things – marriage, religion, house, kids, schools and so on … are incredibly stressful and opportunities for others to try to insert themselves into your lives. They will tell you ‘when you’re older you’ll wish …’ or something like that. But that is just an excuse to try to influence your choices. Ultimately your wedding is about two people – you and Ben. That said, it DOES involve others – and I recommend enlisting them as your allies in doing what YOU want to do in a way that allows them to celebrate this next chapter in their children’s live … but with the caveat that they do it on YOUR terms.

  6. The Streep Quote is a matter of perspective. Please do not castigate me too badly for what I have to say, but I feel that many of the things that she says in this quote are earned through the schools of hard-knocks that we all attend and not attainable by all or even the majority of people around me, in today’s world.

    Often while we say that we agree with the words, because they sound so true, have such a pertinent message to our lives and were said by someone many of us look up to. Unfortunately, all too often life gets in the way of being able live and/or understand the consequences that come along with living those words.

    For me and where I am in my life those words mean freedom and relying less on the people and my circumstances now. Not having to care about what others think about me or betray my ideals for those of others to get ahead.

    As I have gotten to be an old fart I understand more what those words, the great advice Mike gives and now am at a point in my life where I can live those words much more than I could have when I was younger, when I had different priorities and responsibilities.

    The biggest thing that I have noticed about myself is that I do not have the patience for fools and ignorance that I did in the past (and accepted as the way it was) and that I see a bigger picture perspective on how we should treat one another, versus the small world view that I had when I was younger, where my focus was more on how something affected me and mine.

    That is me.

    Yes it is great to follow your dreams, do what you love, love what you do, but there are times for many of people today, where it is just about getting by to the next pay check and keeping the phone calls they get civil.

    Sometimes I think/know that many of the bloggers I read are much higher on Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs than most of the population. We are educated (formally and informally), better communicators, tend to look beyond the immediacy of a situation, are more reflective about what we are doing, willing to learn new things, listen to others and are more open to change.

    I wonder if we are the lucky ones, the ones who are able to look at and read a very rich and famous older woman’s view and nod our heads up and down – all the while thinking how great it is to aspire to being able to live by those words, fer sure.

    Does it hurt to take Mike’s advice and add it to anyone’s life – hell his advice is some of the best I have read anywhere.

    Unfortunately, I have to ask is it the reality that most people live – from where I sit and what I have seen around me in rural Maine (my worldview) over the past 5 years, no it does not seem to be.

    Not trying to be a downer, but even with my half full mentality sometimes I have to wonder about the direction the majority of people are going. So many people have been molded by the marketing machines that surround us, that Streep’s words and Mike’s advice sound great, but are foreign concepts.

    Yeah I know a long and meandering comment, that probably doesn’t make a bit of sense and doesn’t really relate to the post, but it was my stream of consciousness going to work :-).

    • I agree, Harold. Many of us bloggers are probably in a better position socio-economic position. We have the luxury of being reflective and having the opportunity to long for and pursue a different type of life.
      I’m from Maine so I know what you are talking about. Many parts of Maine are similar to other parts of the country: people living paycheck to paycheck constantly being told they’d be happier in a bigger car stuffing a hamburger down their throat. Oh, and don’t dare ask for a raise.
      I don’t think we should feel guilty for having our luxury, most of us worked for it.
      So there’s my rambler!

  7. I like this. I’ve been living the life I want for years and couldn’t be happier. I do struggle sometimes with tuning out non-same-minded people. We have a friend from a local cultural organization who has always been so nice and warm to us, laughing, caring, hugging, motherly type, but through FB, it’s become apparent that she’s a birther and an “Obama is a Muslim” person — and a vast majority of what she posts I consider to be ignorant, wrong, disrespectful, bigoted, confrontational. All things I’d never thing from all our personal interactions with her. Part of me doesn’t want to shut out different views, or shut out people I thought I liked in real life, but part of me wants to unfriend online and in the real world.

  8. Where to begin? All of this is awesome. It is important to be true to self and also to understand that not everyone will agree with what you do or think. And usually that is ok. One of my biggest regrets was unfollowing one of my closest friends on Facebook. She is extremely vocal about politics and I do not agree with her ideals at all. In life we agree to disagree but during the last election I got fed up with her constant posting. I should have just read and let it go. I also agree that what we love today can easily change. So darn true!

  9. Love this reminder 🙂 I think the biggest thing I do these days is ask, “if I add x,y, z to my life, what is it going to do? Make it better? Make me happier? How is it going to affect everything else I have going on? Will it take away time from loved ones? What will this bring?” If I can’t answer something positive (overall…something like marathon training or taking a new job that involves a commute isn’t always fun obviously but it should have more positive than negatives for me), than I really try not to take it on. Life is too short for stuff that won’t ultimately fulfill me or take me away from people Iove.

  10. Such a timely message for me as another school year begins and the “mom scene” – now with 3 different ones for 3 kids to deal with – kicks in and I start feeling insecure. It’s hard to keep a balance between socializing a healthy amount and with people that make me feel good, and staying grounded in my own priorities. I’m better than in the past, but I always feel insecure this time of year.

    • I think it is important that you recognize that it is a struggle, and you do the best that you can. Because that is all any of us can do. My boys are just a year apart so many of these things have always overlapped, making it easier for all involved.

      But here’s the thing – you have wonderful, beautiful kids and you want the best for them and have worked really hard this year on integrating nutritional elements into their diet, you are an awesome mom and wife, you have been kicking butt with running, you have worked hard on your own nutrition and done so much to deal with your GI issues … you are just totally badass and don’t need to worry about any of the crap politics 🙂 In fact, I think I will add this comment to your post from yesterday!

  11. I agree with so many things in that quote and have for a long time. However it is acceptable from someone of her age and stature. When I was in my mid-twenties, not so much. I was called rude, snobby and anti-social among other harsher things. That being said, I have had to work on playing well with others. It’s kind of a requirement of of my job and I really do like my job. Blogging and social media has opened up a whole world of different views, some I agree with, some I don’t. It’s their page, they can say what they want; if I don’t like I don’t have to read it and that’s fine. Ok, this comment kind of got away from me, sorry!

    • I love the comment – I don’t think it ‘got away’ at all. And you are right – you are judged differently by age, which really isn’t fair … but you have to think that the people doing the judging are younger as well 🙂

  12. Amazing!! And it is so true–you silence people who’s opinions you don’t agree with by unfollowing them-I never looked at it that way! (Not that I unfollow people!) I actually love reading different opinions than my own.

    the thing I do for me everyday is run, its something I do 100% for me! It is pure joy!

    • Thanks Nicole – I have unfriended some people, but generally only when it becomes too offensive … politics and religious debate I can handle, but anything that is personally directed against others …no thanks.

      And I hear you on the running – call it selfish, an obsession or whatever … just step aside and let me go 🙂

  13. Pingback: CH-CH-CHA-CHANGES! |

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