Monday, August 17, 2009

Renegotiating My Life

In any negotiation, you have to be willing to lose big, in order to win big.

This theory was discussed for hours with friends the other day. I'm starting to think, I need to follow this mantra more...and take more risks. Everything's fine in '09 has been life altering to my eating habits, and to my activity schedule (I never get home before 11pm any night). However, my risk taking has always been minimal. Maybe its part of my middle child syndrome.

My theory: Take the less controversial road, cut your losses, and be mostly satisfied. I never really win, I never really lose, it's a real, internal, negotiation. Here are some examples.

1) I was walking to pick up my friend before dinner on a hot muggy NYC day when I noticed my shirt was spotting w/sweat. I must be out of shape, or maybe it was 100 degrees, or maybe I shouldn't be wearing pants and shoes that don't breathe when planning to walk 15 blocks in the summer. Either way, I had a dilemma....and 3 likely scenarios/choices.

A) I pretend like my sweat stains aren't there. If she doesn't notice and I get away with it great. However...

B) I pretend like my sweat stains aren't there and she does notice. She is disgusted and wondering if I'm just a smelly sweaty person all the time. She is grossed out. The only other option is...

C) I tell her about my sweat stains almost immediately, play it off lightheartedly about how embarrassed I am, and say how she makes me nervous, or say the AC on the subway wasn't working or that I bumped into an ex on the way over. This guarantees she notices, but also guarantees she doesn't think I'm some seriously gross guy. This way, I can shift the attention in the direction I see fit, toward my sense of humor, and away from my sweat stains.

Of course, being the "risk" taker I am, I opted for option C.

2) Last night I was at a bar for a friends bday party when OCD showed up w/the new boy she was dating. When I looked at him, he looked pretty familiar, and when he said his name, I was 99% sure, I knew exactly who he was. We'd been friends in 3rd and 4th grade, had gone skiing together every Saturday those winters, and he'd pretty much almost killed me (have a big scar on my head from 7 stitches from a ski to the head). Obviously, there were 2 options:

I) I could mention that we used to be.

II) I could not mention anything.

And there were 3 scenarios:

A) We have a great time catching up, we get along famously, and OCD likes him even more. The drinks keep coming, the stories about my head cracking open are hilarious, and we all live happily ever after.

B) We catch up for 5 minutes awkwardly. Her friend didn't say anything initially, so may be he doesn't recognize me at all, and/or doesn't remember me. Of course, maybe its not even him! Attention is devoted away from normal conversation and OCD has to discuss me for the rest of the evening, ruining her 3rd date.

C) I don't mention my connection w/her date, and we all have a lovely evening. If there convo were to slow, I'd go over and try to spice it up. But they were doing fine on their own, why interject myself to heavily into their 3rd date conversation.

Obviously, I chose the 3rd option.

If there were a fight on the street, or a problem at a job... I wonder if I'd "A" with the "B" consequence, of if I'd just "C" and take the non confrontational path.

I may be time to start "A"ing.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Turning 30, The Plan

My friend Jim turned 30 yesterday. This was his GF's email to those invited to his party. I thought it was phenomenal...and also explained what she had to put up w/during those last few days.

Fool-Proof Plan to "TURNING 30 & LOVING IT"

Background: In an effort to gracefully enter the fourth decade of his life and avoid any anxiety or negativity sometimes associated with the big three-oh, Jim decided 6 months ago to institute his fool-proof plan.

Strategy: Assume you are already 30 and tell anyone who asks that you are 30 so that when you are ACTUALLY 30 it will feel as if nothing's changed. Leading up to your birthday, don't discuss it often and if someone asks what you're doing to celebrate, make sure you have some crazy trip or experience planned (Jim picked Spain) that in all reality, has nothing to do with you celebrating 30 years of life; it just makes for a great excuse to spend money and guarantees the conversation changes from "birthday plans" to "vacation plans."

WARNING: Three days before the big day, you begin to feel overwhelmed and a bit tense. You think a lot and notice yourself over analyzing trivial things more than usual. At first, you blame your sudden mood change (and loss of appetite) on "a long day at work," or being tired, but this excuse only lasts so long (especially if you have a younger significant other who is very excited to celebrate your special day). It is imperative on these three days that you get plenty of sleep, laugh a lot, and most importantly realize that it's okay to show slight vulnerability and nervousness for the day you've strategically ignored (Jim slightly cracked last night and admitted to not wanting to turn 30 and almost refused to open up an early birthday gift).

Goal: You will have successfully followed the plan if:
1. You were able maintain your composure during the critical last few days, and
2. Effortlessly accept two fundamental and interconnected perspectives: Turning 30 is huge, it's a milestone, you'll never do it again, and while you're allowed to fear it for a few days, you have to celebrate it, and celebrate it well with all the people you care about**, so that you realize that while 30 is a new age and you may have a gray hair or ten, it's nothing but a number and all about how you feel…AND JUST LIKE YOU PLANNED, it really doesn't feel any different than 3 months ago when you were telling people you were 30.