By: Revanche

Hot springs, Icelandic horses, and Lies we tell ourselves

October 7, 2011

TeacHer’s “ridiculous” idea about tricking herself into saving by establishing a (possibly fake) Move to NY fund resonated with me.

I’ve never had to trick myself into saving, ever.  Obviously.  But I do have opinions that aren’t always in line with what’s “best” for me on a daily basis.  Opinions that might sound a lot like:  I hate this job I hate these people I hate this job!   Her post reminded me of a dark and grumpy period when that was a daily refrain in my life.

I knew why I was sticking it out for at least a while longer – there were a lot of practical reasons.

I was learning the ropes of that job, of the industry and needed to really master as much as possible before I made my next move.  There’s a natural break between levels of mastery, levels of maturity, at any job or in any work you do, and I was bound and determined to move up the next level before or when I left. I refused to make a lateral move or flounder in between an entry level which, in the newly breaking recession, boded ill for my upward movement just as much as a lateral move.

The job itself was paying for all the things at home, and was flexible enough for me to be there for my parents.

Buuut that didn’t change the Awful of the people I worked with or the Horrid of the .. people I worked with.  Etc.  So, to get through my days while I was Learning All the Things, I thought: how do I focus on Not the Horrible?

There was no positive thinking to be had at that time, in that place, so I had to bring the positive to me. I printed out a pretty picture of a place far far away.  It had horses, it had amazing hot springs, it was really far away. I cannot emphasize how strongly that last point commended itself to me.  There was no way on heaven or earth I could have afforded to go there. There was no sense in even dreaming of going there in real life.  But it didn’t matter. I had a lovely picture of the hot springs, and an Icelandic horse and as each day tightened or loosened its noose, I focused on breathing in however I imagined hot springs air to smell and breathing out the stress.

I hugged a horse in my mind and smiled.  And smiled in real life because even though I had no idea, still don’t, whether I would ever actually want to go to Iceland, it was saving my sanity one day at a time.

Iceland, and the bet on experience, paid off, by the way.

:: When’s the last time you lied, tricked or distracted yourself into doing something good for you?  

8 Responses to “Hot springs, Icelandic horses, and Lies we tell ourselves”

  1. During the 15 years I had an all-powerful department head who did not like me, I just got through 1 day at a time. i had a 3 day teaching schedule, so every day, I would say, I am off tomorrow!

    We stopped in iceland on our way to Paris. If you fly Iceland Air, you can stay over at no extra charge and see the sights. So it is a dream that can come true.

  2. Sense says:

    First off, why on earth would you not want to actually go to Iceland?? 🙂

    Secondly, to answer your question: I pretty much have to trick myself into doing the scarier social-oriented tasks for work–like conference presentations, media interviews, or even teaching a class or leading field trips. Public speaking is not my forte and in order to not pass out with anxiety about it the night before, I sort of pretend it isn’t happening, after preparing as much as I can for it. I know it is good for me and essential for my career to do these things, but it doesn’t make it any less scary to do them. Denial, all the way! Maybe I could also look into getting some Xanax…

  3. Passing through says:

    At one point in life, every morning on my walk I would repeat: Where I am is where I need to be right now. And when I learn what I need to learn, I will move on.

    And thankfully, when the time was right, I was able to move on (and away).

  4. Shelley says:

    Within a few months after moving to England I discovered that I was working for a bully – or a crazy person, I never could decide. I survived for four years until I could apply for ‘indefinite leave to remain’ and could change jobs at will. Working with a bully makes all one’s office relationships a bit weird, but I found nice people outside of work in a running club (where I thought about running away a lot!) I brought flowers to my office, bought pretty paper clips and nice pens and little things to make my office a bit more pleasant. I focussed on the positives of living in a foreign country (stressful as that adjustment was as well) and practically lived from vacation to vacation (but there were six weeks of it, so easier than in the US). It’s horrible sticking in a bad job, but I’m thinking many of us experience this at one time or another.

    As for lies, I sometimes tell myself I’m young and fit before going out for a jog and that this should be a piece of cake for someone as athletic as I – ha! It gets me out the door, though.

  5. Ah, hugging a real (or imaginary) horse always does the trick for me, no matter the circumstances 🙂

  6. TeacHer says:

    Thanks for the shout out 🙂

  7. Revanche says:

    @Frugal Scholar: FIFTEEN YEARS. That’s incredible. Was the dislike just sort of under the surface or an active agenda? Because I only had to deal with the latter for a few years and it was awful.

    I might very well put that stopover on our list, now that you mention it.

    @Sense: Well, I don’t know that I DON’T. I just never really thought about whether I DO! 🙂

    Ugh, public speaking.

    @Passing through: Not a bad mantra.

    @Shelley: Oh, bullies. They are just about the same thing as crazy people.

    You needn’t be lying to yourself about being fit! 🙂

    @Choc&Chants: Doesn’t it? LOVE hugging a horse ..!
    @TeacHer: You’re welcome!

  8. My ex- used to try to avoid overdrawing our checking account by putting false figures in the checkbook. His strategy was to make it look like there was a lot less cash available than we really had.

    The result of this was that neither one of us knew how much was actually in that account.

    Me, I didn’t know because he never bothered to tell me what he was doing. I thought the figures were accurate.

    He didn’t know because eventually he lost track of his math (this was in the days before Quicken…people used actual paper checkbook registers).

    LOL! It’s one thing to manipulate yourself. It’s another altogether to manipulate your spouse.

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