“Thank you for everything”
This is a phrase I heard a lot at the end of camp. It confuses me a little. I think looking back at camp my ‘social role’ may have resulted in me offering more advice than being there ‘for the lols’. I was a good 6-8 years older than almost every counsellor at camp after all. And I’m a listener, I like hearing people’s problems and helping them reach a solution, that’s where I get my self worth from. I’ve always been like that, in many different friend circles. But even so hearing the phrase never really did much for me. And I think I know why.
It’s all about people’s expectations. What people may have perceived as me putting in extra effort to hear their problems and talk through rough periods with them, was just me being me. But not everyone is me, so it isn’t expected. As I said I have always been that way, despite being one of the younger members of my main group of friends. I have always tried to offer support and advice on matters, and I like to think I have good intuition about what people are feeling. Maybe it’s all those years of psychology paying off! But not everyone is like that, not everyone identifies the signs that someone isn’t doing so well and goes and asks them about it. This isn’t some ‘time to talk’ post (although that is super important), I don’t really know what the point of the post is (sorry) I just know the phrase bugged me. And this blog is nothing if not a scratch pad for my thoughts that replaces social media.
Anyway, luckily for me this year I have been in positions where everyone around me is younger, and so my natural tendency to listen and advise has been more regularly received, as those young’uns are normally worried about something! Firstly in Kenya being a team leader for a group of young people was incredible and I think I really thrived off being in a leadership position (look at this sounding like a cv!), especially when it came to giving people feedback. I dreaded giving people feedback but by being honest and sincere about both strengths and weaknesses I struck a chord with many of my volunteers and they said they genuinely valued our feedback sessions, more so than ones with other leaders as they didn’t go into as much detail.
Then in the US while I had no seniority in terms of a role I was older than everyone. The old man of camp! So naturally getting to know people they would talk about their problems and what’s going on in their lives and I would support them through that. One guy in particular I had many long chats with and really valued his company. He had some relationship dilemmas going on that some people would dream of, but it was causing him a bit of angst. He was the only one who said the phrase to me that I really appreciated hearing it from, because I felt like I’d actually impacted his life through our conversations.
Even though I appreciated hearing him say the phrase I still didn’t quite get why he needed to say it. I said not to worry and that I’d have talked about stuff any time he wanted. I think people at camp said it because they hadn’t known me very long. If they had known me longer then maybe they would know I was doing nothing out of the ordinary for my character. But to them it seems like extra effort.
I guess the point of all this late night bus rambling (18 hours and counting!) is to be yourself???? Is that too shit a conclusion to draw? I don’t know. I think just be who you are and people will gravitate towards what you have or they won’t. I am a listener. I like listening to people. I don’t talk about myself often. I normally get to know people way more intimately than they get to know me, and I’m fine with that. But thanking me for something that I consider to be a part of who I am as a person seemed a little weird, a little jarring. I guess it’s the same as saying “thanks for being you” isn’t it, and I hate to admit I’ve said that to people as well…..
Maybe this blog has no point. If you think it does (the 4-5 that read it) then please say what it is in the comments! I’d love to hear it!
I know this blog does serve some purpose of keeping my mind from drifting (still not ready, more on that/her later). So this is occupying my thoughts. This and “shoe dog” the memoir from the founder of Nike. Truly fascinating!
Anyway enough from me for now! I’ve written for long enough. Like I said please let me know if my words have any meaning or significance, I’d love to hear from you all!
This post is not so much part of my recovery, but it is part of keeping my sanity.