Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Highs and Lows

I am currently assisting with this retreat-type, introspective, intensive exec ed type class. One of the exercises that the participants have to do is to create a timeline of significant events- both highs and lows. Then, you have to write a few notes on why each was a high or low point in your life, and see if there is a theme. So, here goes.


Get into prestigious college
  • triumphant
  • relief
  • pride
  • way out
  • moving to new phase
  • exceeded expectations of others
  • freedom

Get accepted into [student organization in undergrad]
  • relief
  • fun
  • belonging

Full-time job offer
  • relief
  • excitement
  • optimistic
  • exceeding my expectations
  • freedom/financial independence

Graduate from college
  • relief
  • excitement
  • looking forward to new phase of life
  • finally over

Living in (former city)
  • First city where I truly felt at home (belonging)
  • freedom/autonomy
  • likeminded people
  • self-discovery

Get married
  • happy
  • relief (that I wouldn't have to worry about getting married/having kids/etc.)
  • self-assured


Rejected from numerous orgs at college (and I mean numerous)
  • not belonging, feeling out of place
  • struggling
  • working hard, not acheiving desired results
  • alone
  • not appreciated for who I am

  • What's wrong w/me?
  • not fitting in
  • atypical experience than what everyone else has
  • tired of struggling and working hard to make it work
  • lonely
  • failure

Best friend died
  • total devestation
  • not thinking straight/made bad decisions that introduced chaos into my life
  • still feeling negative effects today
  • lonely
  • fundamentally changed who I am

Living in [current state]
  • feeling out of place
  • feeling isolated
  • angry at myself
  • homesick for old city

Struggling in grad school
  • feel stupid, talents unappreciated
  • not acheiving desired results
  • forcing myself to be something I'm not
  • feel like an outsider
  • at the mercy of others
  • keep everything bottled up
  • exhausting, stressful
  • poor

Do you see a pattern? I sure do. The common themes for the highs seem to be:
  • relief (getting out of a bad situation or avoiding a bad situation)
  • freedom/autonomy over own destiny
  • belonging

Common themes for the lows:
  • feeling alone
  • working w/o results (struggling, failure)
  • struggling
  • lack of control

So what do I want?? It seems obvious to me. I want:

  • Freedom/autonomy/control
  • Belonging
  • Feeling successful, living up to potential

It was an interesting exercise. I think I learned something about myself.

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