Stage Two End of a Cycle: Reassess
I am a pretty introspective person, and I always have been. When I get writer’s block or something doesn’t sit well with me, I typically switch things up. Right now, for whatever reason, that took the form of some really broad scale life thinking.
I usually write what I feel needs written. Today, I needed to process through where I am at in the course of my lifespan using logic and graphs. That seems ridiculous. It totally is. I’ve never heard of anything like it, but it makes sense to me! This is what I have come up with.
The first thing I wrote was to examine what I feel like the expectations I have for myself will be over the course of my life. This is the table I constructed.
|Age (in years)||What would I guess? (Expectation/Stereotype)|
|15||Buckets of emotions|
|30||Finally starting to settle (as in, simmer down)|
|35||Hip/Cool vs. Age appropriate (inner turmoil situation)|
|40||Uncool and embarrassing|
|45||Menopausal and CRAZY|
|50||Kind, over the hell (and thank God)|
|70||Peaceful and Simultaneously strange|
|75||“Adorable”/Inappropriate and unapologetic|
|80||Cute like a little bird (I would feel lucky to make it until just here)|
|85||Tired but wise|
|90||Lucky to be around|
|95||Curious about what Jesus will be like.|
I have not ever thought about the different terms I use to describe the world this much, let alone in subjective graphs of my opinion. I doubt many people do, but that it what I felt like. So I made some.
The first is a graph of how I feel my mind, body, spirit, and heart have been, for better or worse, over the course of my life, called Love in Graphs. At the top of this graph is the grade I was in at school (from first until now, as a junior in college), my age (from 7 until 20), and the year on the calendar (2001 until 2014). There is literally no methodology whatsoever and this is by no means science, but it helps me to visualize how the stages of my life have overlapped in any kind of meaningful way.
The second analysis thing is a graph of this year, 2014 (A synopsis). It ranges from January of 2014 to January of 2015. I only included my spirit and heart on this one, because I don’t care about my body all that much (although I suppose that has changed), and my brain has been coasting in terms of actual book learning for some time now. I’m not sure why, but color me bored. Whatever.
Of the two charts of spirit and heart, I plotted numbers for several different focuses that have been consistent over the span of my life.
There are three focuses:
- Logic and Peace
In my experience of being alive, they become important to how I live my life for a time and then transition out. I think you could equate it to the hormonal cycles of a person’s body, but for the respective construct (heart, body, spirit, and mind). There is no set length, but from what I can tell, they typically last from 3-6 months at longest, and 2 weeks at the very least.
I made a chart for the “Sphere of Influence” each of these four constructs have over my actions, and over my faith. The way I see it (as I have analyzed in scripture, not saying it’s the truth, but this is what I believe), the order of importance I place on these determines how I relate to God. I believe the order we are called to relate to God and the world is an inverted pyramid with God and the top and ourselves at the bottom, in this order: God, Significant Other, Other People, Me. You could make it more complicated, but I don’t think that is necessary. If you see grace as the factor that helps God reach us as he moves down the pyramid, it is much like the idea of the veil being torn in contemporary Christianity by Christ’s resurrection. If the width of the pyramid is all of God’s creation, and grace is what makes God come to us, then Sanctification (or becoming more like Christ) is what makes us closer to him (a gift from the Holy Spirit). The idea is that God is infinite good and we are infinitely less good, because we stay constantly human, and he is the infinite one.
I believe that the traits we love most in others are the traits we love most in ourselves and likewise with the traits we dislike. To find the words outside of intuition to translate how I view myself, I decided to list out the best and worst traits of my friends and family (certain specific people). That sounds vindictive, but I don’t plan on sharing that list, and it is pretty tame because I love them a lot and I really don’t keep people around that make me feel really bad. These are not traits that I necessarily have, although some do overlap in both my superpowers (positive traits) and dark side (not good traits).
Traits I like:
Traits I dislike:
- Too nice/Compromise until no meaning is left
- Stressed easily
- “I’m not your counselor”
At this point, I looked back at my original graph of 20 years “Love in Graphs” and decided to see if I could apply the stages with better descriptions of what each stage entails, in terms of the language I use to describe the world and myself when I write.
- Intuition: I generally have more empathy and less predisposition or ability to describe things in concrete terms. I use a lot of really vivid imagery that conveys a sense of unease or vagueness, it is meant to question current perceptions in order to elaborate on things that aren’t easily expressed.
- Logic and Peace: I write in a very structured style, using formulas, and I am generally pretty calm.
- Emote/Experience: I write in in images or colors or feelings that are very vivid, based off of a context, situation, or event. The focus is on things like wordplay and less tangible nuances. I will probably play off of sensory interactions and in a somewhat synesthetic style.
|BEST (+)||WORST (-)|
|Beautiful||“I’m not you’re counselor”|
|Logic and Peace||Listening/Caring||AVOIDS|
|Logic and Calm||Too nice/Compromise|
Based off of the traits I like or dislike, I made a chart of which traits are most helpful by stage.
Reflection on Reassessment:
- I have a lot that I am, from different traits to feelings to cares to concerns to joys to aspirations to dreams to explosions to calm.
- I can’t sacrifice any of it. It won’t go away.
- I feel like I was born knowing exactly how much I have, and I haven’t always stewarded it very well because no one writes like this that I’ve ever read, and furthermore, most people think this is a waste of time. To anyone else, it might be. To me, it makes a lot of sense and it helps fine tune my perspective to what I see on a daily basis, using the metacognition and bizarrely broad analytical capabilities God gave me.
- I was born with all of these things to last me the rest of my life. It is permanent. This is me.
- I can deviate from it here and there, but the point is that seasons and cycles of living will do that naturally for me anyways.
- This is why I try my best to expect reasonable things out of my friends when it comes to being kind and listening and whatnot in small doses, because I don’t know anyone who would pick up on any of this without a lot of rambling explanations. I try to not confuse others, though.
If you were born knowing pretty for certain what you liked and why, what would happen?
You would be told you were wrong across various contexts until you decide to ignore 99.999% of it. Only in ignoring it was I able to regenerate and take stock of all of it just plainly as it is. And as of now, I have been able to think about what it means to steward it well for the rest of my life.
My aptitude for thinking through all of this has not changed since I was born. Neither has my personality or most of my interests, or even the ability to analyze; it was all present with me as a child. My metacognition and what I think about how I experience my emotions has changed. What I think about God has changed, although what I see of the world has expanded and become smaller in terms of details and relevance over time.
Which finally brings me to where I am at as of right now. Currently, I am focused on Logic and Peace. The most dangerous things in this stage are not trusting everything to God, being unintentional in how I speak and live in terms of what language and terms I use (the whole point is to be less vague and more straightforward, looking for specificity against abstract thinking).
This style of thought is more concrete, yes or no, looking for even more beauty in even smaller or bigger things, savoring patience and alone time, with the goal of growing deep roots and sending my hope up, to God. This last chapter of my life was appropriately titled “Love in the Question”. If love wasn’t a catchall category (1Co 13, “the greatest of these is love”) and I felt like changing anything (I do not), I would title this new chapter of cycle “Hope in the Question”. I feel like that is going to be what much of my writing will center upon. My focus was Intuition, it was meant to help me change and grow. This season will be more about consistency and calm.
I would like to put a warning on what I have just written. I do not consider myself anything more than a follower of Christ. People sell things like this for books that I do not support for the most part, because I believe I have all the truth I need in Jesus, my savior. I don’t believe in making a profit off of anything that resembles this. This is just how I think, and I am sharing it because I believe it might be good for someone at some point in some way. Personally, spending time reflecting in this way has always been good for me, even though I think like this always anyways. There are moments of each focus scattered throughout my life on every scale imaginable, which is why it is very hard for me to answer most stupid existential questions in any way that resembles something tangible unless it is extremely contextual and specific. It is just not worth my time, because there are not enough specifics to make any of it useful. Like I said, I only follow Jesus. I am interested in sharing what I can so that I can contribute to his Kingdom Mission, and the rest of it makes me pretty uneasy.
These are my words, they are not science. They are not meant to be used for mysticism or some bizarre spiritual moment. If you want greater understanding of God, ask him. This is just what I have to share.
All the love,