It’s my 32nd birthday tomorrow and there’s no denying it, I’m well and truly an adult now.
The question is, am I the adult that I always wanted to be?
I always imagined that I’d be the sort of adult who did a lot of baking. I even wrote a little song to the tune of “If I Were a Rich Man” about owning an oven when I was in university res.
That did not, um, pan out. I’m whatever the opposite of a domestic goddess is (a domestic demon?). I can cook maybe five things well, and half of them Graham doesn’t eat or I can’t eat. In truth, I avoid cooking whenever possible and I’m still the messiest person I know (I call it creative clutter!)
Fortunately, cooking and tidiness are not my core values.
But what are my core values?
The question first occurred to me about a month ago when I was working through a video course on corporate branding. Companies have core values, why don’t people? I’ve been stewing on it.
What are the things that I admire in other people and how can I strive to be all these things going forward?
Sure, there are things that I know I don’t like in other people. Materialism, pretentiousness, constant negativity, bigotry … but I wanted to identify a list of things to aspire to rather than just things to avoid. I also wanted to make them things that require a bit of trying. Putting down “creativity” is a bit of a cop out as I’ll always, automatically, be creative 🙂
In the end, this is what I came up with.
- Reliability – I want people to be able to depend on me. I want them to know that if I say I’ll do something, I’ll do it and I’ll do it when I said I’d do it or I’ll communicate exactly why I can’t as soon as I know I can’t. Like most artistic types, I tend to flip between passion projects on the regular. What gets me excited one week can be very different from what gets me excited the next (and we won’t even talk about how this comes into play when I become obsessed with a fandom). It can be far too easy to over commit when I’m in the honeymoon phase of a project, and then struggle to deliver. It’s important for me to think with my head and not my heart when it comes to committing to things, and to focus on fulfilling my obligations even if I’m no longer all hyped up about it.Being dependable and consistent is not always easy, or always fun. But I think that it’s also very rare, and it’s something that I really value when I find it. Which means that I want to strive to be it too.
- Kindness – As the meme says, “everyone is fighting a secret war you know nothing about”. I can be a prickly pear when I’m out in public and when I don’t want to deal with people. This is something that I need to work on. But I aim to always, always, be kind to service people and anyone who I work with professionally. I’ve seen the way that rude customers can break people and because “the customer is always right”, they never even know. They get to go on living guilt free for ruining someone’s whole day. I never want to be that person, no matter how angry I am. I think a sign of maturity is choosing diplomacy over claws (and subtweeting/vaguebooking and similar passive aggressive behaviour totally counts as claws!).
- Positivity – Listening to people being negative is incredibly draining. The world we live in is full of negative horrible things, and if I focus on that I start to feel like I’m drowning. Moaning because something terrible happened is fine, moaning as a conversation starter – no thanks. It’s easy, but lazy, and I want to try to avoid doing it. This doesn’t mean posting shallow inspirational memes all the time, or thinking only the good thoughts. I’m actually naturally a very cynical person, and I don’t think that will ever change. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s saved me from numerous scams and disappointments. It’s more about what I project onto other people. I want to avoid dragging people down by playing “devil’s advocate” unnecessarily or seeing only problems in my own life.
I’d love to know what you think, and what your three core values would be if you had to choose!