Tautology Tuesday! “Wasted” Time?

I am one sick chick today. HOWEVER, I am really trying to write a post every day as frequently as I can do so – I also want to get back on YouTube at some point and “restart” there; I know I had started to focus in on makeup / beauty kind of stuff because it does help me feel more “normal” in a way – even just putting on tinted sunscreen and a little bit of mascara and making sure my hair isn’t too crazy makes me feel less “sickly.” It’s an “easy” pick-me-up and I think it’s important for those of us who are chronically ill and face the reality of being at home and inside and kind of “away from reality” much of the time to be able to feel not only “normal” but good about ourselves, and if a little bit of makeup gets rid of those dark circles or some mascara opens up your eyes or a little lipstick makes you look a little less ill, then I’m all for it. The problem is that my aim in discussing beauty / makeup is NOT in something like “transformation” or heavy makeup usage; I am not the kind of person who really looks like a different person even after a professional has done my makeup and so that’s not really my style nor is it my emphasis. My goal with discussing beauty and makeup in my YouTube videos (now years and years ago!) was just to make things as simple and as fun as they could be to help other “spoonies” out in feeling just a little bit better when they looked in the mirror – and having some fun in the process. It’s a “niche” niche to say the least, and an expensive one at that – trying to find the “best” products on a regular basis is something someone with chronic illness (and without a trust fund!) can’t really afford. So I do want to get back on YouTube and I would like to continue to do SOME of those kinds of videos, but my goal, in general, here, on YouTube, and everywhere else, is just to help out others who have suffered and continue to suffer with chronic illness (especially “invisible illness”) and disability feel good; to give the most helpful “advice” I have utilized in my own life with chronic disease; and just to be a “voice” that speaks as one of many with chronic illness, showing the rest of the “healthy, normal” world what it is like to be chronically ill (and everything that goes with it …. which is literally everything) and how it changes your perspective on just about everything.

With all of that rambling aside, I would just like to talk about one issue that has been on my mind recently and one that has affected me in the past – one that I see many “healthy, normal” people suffering with as well. Basically, the “tautology” is this idea we convince ourselves of that “giving up” on a certain situation or person because we have invested so much time on or in them means we are going to reap some kind of reward later on for having “seen it through.” As a more concrete example, when I was in my early 20s, before the Behçet’s hit me HARD / went systemic, I was dating a person for many years. The relationship started when I was around 19 (if memory serves!) and lasted almost five years. The person with whom I was in this “long-term” relationship was someone I had met at school and someone in the same graduating class as I was supposed to be in – I have mentioned here elsewhere that I did not graduate with the rest of my class despite having graduated high school a year early and having been able to “skip” most of my “freshman year” because of AP credits and other work I had completed. At any rate, before and around the time of graduation this person, like others in his field, was looking for a job – I should say he KNEW WHAT job he “wanted” and where it was located (I am still 100% convinced this was due to unexamined familial coercion … but I digress!). The issue was that I was still “in school” at the time, trying to finish out my degree (that is such a long story … or series of stories … I will come back to them in time) and the job this person “wanted” was a 5-hr-long drive each way. He asked me if I wanted him to stay and not take the job.

Now. I have to pause here because this is where I seem to get myself into trouble. By “get myself into trouble” I mean that I CANNOT justify telling a person what he or she can or cannot do because of what I want. To clarify that a little bit, I cannot impose the POSSIBLE future resentment someone like a partner or a very close friend might have down the line if I were to say “DON’T TAKE THE JOB, DON’T DO X, STAY HERE.” I am not someone who could live with that kind of burden – just KNOWING that I kept someone from doing what he (or she, if a friend) might even THINK he (or she) COULD want to do is one that I am not willing to carry. I don’t care if the other person in this scenario is the “love of my life” (actually, it holds even “more true,” goofy as that might sound, for someone I care about that much – I want the person I am with to DO EVERYTHING HE WANTS TO DO; TO TRY EVERYTHING HE THINKS HE MIGHT WANT TO DO; TO FOLLOW HIS DREAMS – that is love, isn’t it? That is very much the question….) – I cannot be the factor that stood between anyone and what that person wants to do with his life. I just can’t do it. I know this is more abnormal than normal because most people – at least that I know from watching couples – don’t do this – that is, the woman (I don’t mean to sound misogynistic in any way – it is just what I have witnessed!) in a relationship often dictates the terms of the relationship and the man in the relationship (assuming we are talking about a “typical” heterosexual relationship) simply gives up what he wants out of life in order to be with said woman. I could not be any further from being “that” woman – and I do believe that aside from the actual chronic illnesses, that is THE factor that has “left me” single. The topic that necessarily follows from that one – namely, why men choose dictatorial and “familiar” mother-like women – is one I have written about at length – but not one in which I care to delve here. To make a long story a little bit shorter, although I expressed my unhappiness in his choice to take the job far away from me, I ALWAYS made sure to qualify that statement with something like “but I cannot tell you what to do – it is YOUR choice and I cannot be the one to make it for you.” The guy took the job, leaving me essentially alone in a city that was about 6 hours from my family and the few friends I had left (the relationship was … bad.). Retrospectively, I SHOULD have broken things off after I realized I meant less to this person than the job and I could not personally move myself to the area this job was in because I absolutely HATED the area. To phrase it in another way, although I wanted him to explore having the job he “wanted,” I also wanted to be regarded as a “priority” and to have my needs in finishing school and needing to stay there as “equal” needs – this was ESPECIALLY true after I started becoming very ill.

What I am driving at with that LONG backstory is that after “he” left, I frequently told myself this little lie we tend to tell ourselves in these sorts of situations – “I have already invested years in this relationship. I love this person. After I finish school things will improve. But I DON’T WANT TO HAVE WASTED THE TIME I HAVE INVESTED IN THIS RELATIONSHIP IF I END IT.” IF EVER THERE WERE A FALLACY! If we look at this kind of statement written out like that it looks absolutely absurd – but how many people actually DON’T do that TO themselves? I would be willing to bet the people who haven’t attempted to justify a bad relationship or a career they hate or living in a place they don’t like by utilizing the idea that ending the relationship or getting a new job or moving is a waste of time based on the time that has already been spent. It took me MANY years to see that one clearly – and it is just so silly! If we have “wasted time” in bad relationships, continuing the relationship will only end in MORE WASTED TIME! You are NEVER going to get back the time you have “wasted” on something or someone that doesn’t work for you – the time that has been spent has been spent. There is absolutely NO LOGICAL MEANS of justifying a potential future happiness by a past and present misery. The only outcome you can guarantee is negative – if you feel as if you have “invested” time in someone or in something that is making you unhappy, you can be nearly certain that investing MORE time in that someone or something will only continue to make you unhappy. You will not magically wake up ten years down the road and say “OH! Those few years I wasted in the middle of this relationship? Well gee, they’ve paid off now!” I suppose there might be a rare situation in which that is the ultimate outcome. But in general, if you even have the thought that you have invested time or money or whatever into something that isn’t giving you “positive” returns, you’re probably in that sinking ship called “I’m perpetuating the loss of my time, money, &c.” Perhaps that isn’t a “proper” tautology …. but it is, at best, a FALLACY, and one with extremely high stakes. There is no more precious resource than your time – and if someone is “wasting” yours, you are NEVER going to escape the vicious circle of “wasting time,” no matter what further “resources” you throw into your failed or failing attempts at making things ultimately “worth the sacrifice.” Just think about this in the example of a medical student who realizes he absolutely hates studying medicine but continues working through medical school and residency and accruing huge monetary debts and coming out having lost time, money, and having gained nothing he enjoys! If ever there were a foolish thing we do and we do OFTEN, it is using the idea that we have “invested” x already, so why not keep going?

I apologize for the rambly mess that was! I hope I made my point, at any rate! I am working with a terrible headache and fever and body aches and sore throat and you name it and I’ve probably got it right now … so please work WITH ME! I hope you are all having a wonderful day full of happiness and health wherever you are in the world! And PLEASE, if you EVER find yourself in a situation that makes you even THINK “oh, well, I have already invested this man years / dollars into it, so although it SUCKS now, it will pay off in the end …” – RUN FOR THE HILLS! Get out of that bad relationship, find a career you love, find a CITY or even a COUNTRY you love and move! Whatever you find yourself attempting to justify in these sorts of terms, please DITCH IT IMMEDIATELY! If you find yourself with someone you’ve spent a decade or longer with and things aren’t working and you think there are no more prospects out there for you so you might as well hang in for the long haul – STOP! GET OUT WHILE YOU STILL HAVE TIME! As I have said here before, THERE IS ALWAYS TIME UNTIL THERE ISN’T – AND THERE ISN’T ALWAYS COMES TOO SOON! Those of us with chronic illness know that one all too well – so take it from a SPOONIE SENSEI – get out, get away, move! USE YOUR TIME IN A WAY THAT MAKES YOU HAPPY, THAT ENABLES YOU TO HAVE FUN, THAT GIVES YOU JOY AND MAKES YOU WANT TO GET OUT OF BED IN THE MORNING! FIND SOMEONE WHO IS THERE FOR YOU, WHO WANTS YOU TO FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS NO MATTER WHAT THOSE DREAMS MIGHT ENTAIL!

And with ALL OF THAT SAID, please know my heart is always with YOU. See yinz tomorrow, with any luck!

❤ Always, Beth

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