Thursday, October 20, 2016

Not My Circus

"Not my circus, not my monkeys" is one of my favorite tropes.

Often described as a Polish proverb, to me, this saying acknowledges that drama exists in every person's life. And the drama from other people's lives can be very entertaining. But, at the end of the day, we can only responsible for directing our own circus. 

Which brings me to this week's 52 Lists Project writing prompt, which invites me to: 

"Make a list of the things you will try to ignore."

Now ignore is a tough word, because, by definition, it calls on me to pretend something isn't there. 

Perhaps a result of my commitment to honoring the inherent worth and dignity of every thing, but there are very few things one can actually ignore in the world. On the short list, MAYBE:
1. Paranormal claims, including sightings of the Loch Ness Monster and other mythical beings
2. Conspiracy theories espoused by people with documented and severe mental illness
3. "No-see-ums" and other pesky bugs that potentially annoy, but can't hurt me
4. Dogs barking and other animal noises that are an innate part of their species' behavior
5. Noises - usual and unusual - made by cars either driven by me or near me; I am masterful at simply turning up the volume on the radio

However, I think the spirit of the writing prompt is seeking a different kind of list. I believe this prompt is inviting me to consider making a list of things that distract me from my true north, from being my best self, so that I might try to become impervious to their meddling influence. 

At the top of this list is people and their drama that neither hurt me, nor offer me any discernible opportunity for growth, insight, or other benefit, including:
  • Men at work who constantly undermine my success by redoing or challenging projects other men have called "done" 
  • Anyone who's last name is "Kardashian" 
  • Fights between friends of friends of friends
  • Friends who do not have the self-awareness to get unstuck, and have neither requested nor seem receptive to loving feedback
  • Co-workers' trials and tribulations with their friends and family
  • Bad drivers
  • Judgments made of my weight, my housekeeping, my style of dress, my car, my cooking, or any other immaterial aspect of who I am and how I present in the world that comes from a position (conscious or unconscious) of malice or jealousy
This is the list of things I will try to remain immune to, so I can keep my focus on achieving my goals and living my values. 

What is on YOUR list of things you will try to ignore? Of things you will strive to be impervious to?

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