Tag Archives: honesty

Fly Away

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I work too much. Classic humblebrag and the most annoying answer ever to the what-is-your-greatest-weakness interview question. Can it be true anyway? Asking for a friend.

I avoided the Enneagram for a long time but succumbed recently in a moment of weakness and think I may have broken it. Supposedly a 3, but possibly a 1. The official article differentiating the two types made it perfectly clear that I am a 3 (sometimes) and a 1 (sometimes). Thanks a lot, Enneagram.

But one common trait stuck out to me: Both tend to work too much.

3s are told: “Take breaks. You can drive yourself and others to exhaustion with your relentless pursuit of your goals. Ambition and self-development are good qualities, but temper them with rest periods in which you reconnect more deeply with yourself.”

And 1s are told: “Learn to relax. Take some time for yourself, without feeling that everything is up to you or that what you do not accomplish will result in chaos and disaster. Mercifully, the salvation of the world does not depend on you alone, even though you may sometimes feel it does.”

Alright I get it. But I’m a little confused on what to do about it right now.

This is a weird way to observe that it is supposedly summer at work following graduations on Saturday. Summer is typically a time to reflect on a busy academic year, make adjustments and plan for the year to come, and even take a week or two to get away from it all and breathe. That last part doesn’t come easy for me, and I’m struggling to remember when that has truly happened in the past couple of years. Work conferences, family events, officiating weddings and funerals—sure, I remember going places, but we even scheduled our 25th wedding anniversary trip over a holiday weekend because there was work to do.

Don’t hear this as complaint or a plea for sympathy or an attempt to impress (although that blasted Enneagram might argue otherwise!). No, I think I am just processing my own brand of mental illness. Temperatures are in the 80s, the calendar is less cluttered, and I hear Lenny Kravitz singing in my head about wanting to get away, but alas, there is nowhere to go. Plus, there really is so much critical work to be done to plan for a thousand possible scenarios.

What to do? Well, Enneagram 3s are told, “For our real development, it is essential to be truthful. Be honest with yourself and others about your genuine feelings and needs.”

It’s a start, I guess. Talk to me, Lenny…

I wish that I could fly
Into the sky
So very high
Just like a dragonfly

I’d fly above the trees
Over the seas in all degrees
To anywhere I please

Oh I want to get away
I want to fly away
Yeah yeah yeah

Bird Brained

I returned from a difficult morning run and walked the neighborhood searching my brain for the department in charge of breathing.  Eventually, after the wheezing subsided, I heard a strange shuffle-pop sound on repeat, which turned out to be a little bird perched on the passenger side mirror of a neighbor’s car having a little showdown with itself.  It was a good fight, but my best estimate was that it was headed for a draw.

It cracked me up, the stupid little bird ignorant that the enemy in the stare-down was simply his/her/its own reflection.  I admired the courage, what with the sudden beak attacks that were magically matched beak-on-beak, but repeatedly charging face-first into a piece of glass was pretty funny.

Until, that is, it occurred to me that in a sense I am that stupid little bird.  The absolute biggest threat to my survival is that joker staring back at me in the mirror, and although (most days) I don’t slam my face repeatedly in the mirror, it is true that no one attacks me more than me.

An honest look in the mirror, sizing oneself up, noticing flaws and so on, seems not only healthy but also necessary to effect any real, lasting change.  Beating yourself up, on the other hand, makes about as much sense as that goofy bird repeatedly catapulting itself into a mirror.