Analyzing the impulses

What do you do when you run out of personal goals to reach and challenges to conquer? I know some people maintain their favorite hobbies, but I will do something until I feel like I’ve succeeded in some measurable way, and then I lose interest. It’s like the challenge is gone once I’ve accomplished something, so I have to find a new challenge.

I won an award as a kid for my artwork. I received praises in school and college for my writing abilities. I was awarded MVP for my athletic abilities my senior year. I was awarded most professional nurse when graduating from nursing school. I’ve given birth to two beautiful, healthy, talented, smart, kind-hearted daughters. I’ve been married for over a decade. I won the staff member of the week award at work. I received high tips as a waitress and sold the most expensive bottle of wine available. I’ve won the affection of patients, professors, and my elders. I’ve been in leadership. I’ve paid off loans. I’ve done a lot of things in my life. These are just a few. Most recently I wanted to cultivate a best friendship with someone. I’m sitting next to her right now as I write this reflecting on how complete my life is now with her in it.

So now what? Having another child crossed my mind. There are so many things to consider when planning a pregnancy. There is a part of me that just wants to do it out of the sheer challenge. My husband was diagnosed with cancer after we were married only a year. We were told that with the treatments and type of cancer he had, there was a chance we wouldn’t be able to conceive children naturally. Two children later I find myself considering trying for a third. I have two girls, my father has 5 grandchildren, all girls. “Why not try for a boy?” I asked my husband. Of course, he’s on board. However, my best friend of over two years now is strongly against the idea. For my marriage has seemed unstable with my husband’s unreliable fluctuating income over the past few years, his busy schedule trying to grow two businesses, and his absence causing distance between him and his family. However, for a couple weeks now, my husband has landed a secure job with reliable income. He has been home more and our finances appear to look favorable for making a decision like having another baby.

Nevertheless, perhaps babies shouldn’t be conceived on such a whim, with the motivating factor being simple boredom and a desire for a challenge, namely trying to conceive a boy and raise three kids in a small two bedroom house. I have made a lot of impulsive decisions lately. I have felt like taking risks, and dealing with the consequences afterwards. So far, I’ve been very pleased with the decisions I’ve made. I bought a new bedroom set for my kids. I bought a bigger vehicle to accommodate my family and to give my other vehicle to my husband for his use. These things have been for the benefit of those I care about, and I have personally experienced so much joy as a result of being able to provide these things. But how do I evaluate the benefit of having another baby? And how do I approach my best friend’s lack of support? This is the friend with whom I engage in social drinking and who listens to me complain about how some days I feel so tired of life. The robotic routine of work and parenting and homemaking and responsibilities. This is the friend who breaks the monotony of life with me. So obviously getting pregnant would throw a kink in our typical coping practices. But I still have a gnawing eagerness to do something “crazy.” So do my impulses require therapy or action? I’m 33 years old. I am content with my life, but I feel like there’s more for me than this.

I guess I’ll seek the advice of others and consider their take, but at the end of the day, it’s my life. I just hope these impulses will taper off at some point. It creates an anxiety in me for action. I’m so used to accomplishing things, that going any period of time without accomplishing something feels like I’m moving backwards or slowly dying. I like doing great things. I like challenges. I hope life can keep me engaged because I fear my own self-sabotage to create a challenge. I’ve heard it said that human beings need obstacles to survive. Think of all the tragic circumstances people create in their lives just for the drama or the illusion of adventure. Mankind must have a desire to conquer and succeed. The difficult thing is maintaining that success, in my opinion.

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Disclosure

The holidays create stress for many people. I find myself exhausted from the activities and socialization. When I have had too much stimulation, I sleep or withdraw on my days off. I don’t want to socialize with anyone. I don’t want to go anywhere. I find myself stimming to relax, if I do have to be around people.

I overthink most things. Lately, I worry about the expectations of other people. Maybe everyone does that around the holidays when visiting loved ones they haven’t seen in awhile. Sometimes I feel like I’m faking it, or pretending to be someone I’m not, to appease the expectations of others. Sometimes it is just easier than being yourself than hearing their disapproving opinion of you. When I’m overstimulated or tired, I find myself giving my opinion more often, while true, it’s not always helpful. I don’t want to hurt or offend anyone, so sometimes I think it is easier to make meetings brief and superficial. I have to remind myself to smile and make small talk because that’s what most people are accustomed to and expect. But after several days of giving people what I suppose they want or expect, I need down time to be myself and stop pretending.

The concept of whether or not to disclose to family and those close to us about having a social disability is a difficult subject. Perhaps it is easier for people to believe you’re someone you’re not instead of learning about a disorder… that the real you is a complicated, over sensitive, complex creature that requires making adjustments in order to accommodate you. But there is a part of me that thinks there would be less misunderstandings, when I fail to maintain the false image they have assigned to me, if they knew the truth. So far, however, people knowing I probably have (unofficially diagnosed) Aspergers has had mixed reactions. Some people know I am trying very hard to give them what they want, but they still cannot help but feel disappointed that I can’t be what they expect me to be. Some people don’t care and ignore me and forget about my deficits, leading to misunderstandings and anger. I can keep reminding them, and I appreciate their understanding and forgiveness. However, I am not sure the rest of the people in my world would be as accommodating. Also, I am not always equipped to understand what the problem is and why the other person is angry or disappointed with me. In this case, it would be ideal if that person understood me more because they might be quicker to forgive and not get upset. I care about people. I want them to get what they want from me. Appreciation, small talk, smiles, gifts, a well-groomed fashionable appearance, flattery, whatever it is… And I can force myself to do those things, sometimes. But I just wonder if I might one day be able to create a world where I don’t have to pretend in order to give people what is expected, and I can just exist and be accepted the way I am.

Where do you draw the line between people pleasing for their comfort and being yourself for your comfort? Will people still understand that you love them when you stop trying to live up to their expectations?