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Measure UP!

| Dec 21, 2007
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3-07sky.jpg Our American culture encourages all of us to measure ourselves largely by what we’ve not yet achieved. Just look at the term “measure up”, it implies always pursuing a higher standard and there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that’s just what we do. We’re encouraged to make New Year’s resolutions, implying that we aren’t yet good enough. At work our annual performance review is often nothing more than an exercise in informing us that we fall short of the ever moving goalposts set by management, the board or the stockholders. Look at the “self-help” section of a bookstore to see our myriad failings. Attend any religious meeting that involves a sermon, homily, devotional, etc. and the most common message is “you fall short of what you should be.” This is not entirely bad””and let’s be honest here””all of us have room for improvement; but society’s focus is clearly on our failings

Is the TG “counterculture” any different in this respect? Hardly. If anything we are even worse than the mainstream as we throw in our varied gender issues as a category where we obsess over what we need or desire but have not yet attained. Look around the community anywhere and you will find constant pressure to take that next step, pursue that next dream, achieve that higher level regardless of whether you are a closeted, part-time crossdresser or an out to the world post-operative transsexual. Again, this isn’t entirely a bad thing, without dreams and encouragement, and a sense of needing to change, life would be rather stagnant.

But there is value in not only grasping where we want to go, but also in reviewing how far we’ve come. Life, whether TG or not, can be more rewarding and the journey much more pleasurable if we stop to recount the progress one has made thus far. And putting where we are in the perspective of the relative situation of others is also helpful. That is particularly true if you look at those less fortunate. Yes, it’s trite, but some things are simply true and don’t lose their value with repetition or the passage of time.

For example, most of you TGs reading this live in a country that is not fully accepting of people like us, but we only have to fear personal reproach and not organized repression. If you and your family have decent health, be thankful””you need only visit a hospital to see the other extreme. The next time you pass a homeless beggar think of a few of the reasons why you are not in his situation””and rejoice. I could go on, but you get, I’m sure, the whole corny picture: happiness has a lot to do with perspective, and perspective is something that is at least partially under our personal control.

I’m not advocating giving up on dreams or self-actualization or improvement. I’m simply saying that the pursuit of happiness is likely to be a lifelong process, and one that is more a journey than a destination. And the alternative to striving for happiness is not being happy, it’s giving up on the pursuit. So, this season resolve not only to seek to move forward, but also to look back and to look around and realize that, when put into a broader perspective, our lives are often not nearly as unfulfilling as they seemed to have been when we only focused on that which we have not yet achieved.


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Category: All TGForum Posts, Transgender Opinion

Alexis

About the Author ()

I have been very involved in our community for many years. I have worked with the Southern Comfort Conference for the last ten years and have had the honor to chair the conference three times. I am also on the Board of Directors for SCC and am currently on the Out&Equal Transgender Advisory Committee.

Comments (1)

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  1. ronnierho ronnierho says:

    Striving to be better is a good thing, but, yeah, there comes a time, when you have realize you’ve reached your limitations. I find myself trying to be better so often that I find I’m never ever happy with what I am.

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