I hate being late. Whether it is a meeting, an event, a party, dinner at someone’s home or simply arriving late to church, I’d almost rather miss than not show up on time. What I discovered this morning is that I feel the same way about my blog. I last looked at the clock at 3:00 a.m. and remember having had difficulty going back to sleep. However, I obviously did go back to sleep. My apologies to those of you who regularly read the nonsense I write with your morning coffee. Hopefully a break for a mid-morning snack will work equally well.
I awakened this morning with a sense of panic. The panic was transferrable. It moved from the scenario I obviously was dreaming about just prior to awakening to the realization that today’s blog was going to be very late. In my dream I was rushing to set up a meeting room for a last minute special event that someone on a board I serve with insisted that we hold for the organization. I was breathing a sigh of relief that the room was ready in ample time when I realized that I had given no thought to the content of the meeting we were hosting. The person wanting the meeting would be relying on me to preside over the meeting.
Even though I’d like to believe I have the ability to think on my feet and have at times garnered some laughs as a makeshift stand-up comic, I’d much prefer being prepared and having something meaningful crafted in my head to share. When you stop to think about it, any event or meeting is memorable. It falls in one of two categories. It is either good or it is a waste of time.
I like the introduction to Patrick Lencioni book: “Death By Meetings”. It states: “Casey McDaniel had never been so nervous in his life. In just ten minutes, The Meeting, as it would forever be known, would begin. Casey had every reason to believe that his performance over the next two hours would determine the fate of his career, his financial future, and the company he had built from scratch. ‘How could my life have unraveled so quickly?’ he wondered…”
Most of us would much prefer to think the use of our time is meaningful and that it isn’t a waste of time. Whether we are in a meeting, sharing time with a family member or a group of friends, don’t we have some sort of expectation that the experience be good? I have that same expectation for my blog. Some of you are thinking I’m delusional. That’s okay, if you fall in that category you’re probably not reading this to know I’m referring to you. But even if you do, that’s okay.
I awakened at 1:15 this morning with the sound of the General’s cell phone ringing. I have a better ringtone on my phone. Hers is old school. It took me a moment or two to realize the sound I was hearing was her phone. By time I figured it out, the sound had stopped. I nudged her awake and told her she missed a telephone call. As she attended to the phone call, I made my way to my computer to check Facebook. By the tone of her voice when she subsequently inquired about what I was doing, I could tell she wasn’t pleased. The General thought I was wasting my time.
I quickly explained that I was simply checking to see how many “Likes” or comments Jake had received on his blog. Incidentally, I checked again first thing this morning. He has 126 “Likes” and 20 comments. He will be absolutely thrilled. Thank all of you for affirming the value and worth of his writing endeavor.
My being privileged to facilitate his experiencing that kind of affirmation is a source of joy for me. In addition, the encouragement and delight he receives by the well wishes of others is priceless. It underscores his sense of self-esteem, confidence and motivates an interest in continuing the process.
Jake’s dad was doing the same thing by taking him deer hunting. He was exposing his son to something he enjoys and in turn equipping him to have the same passion and interest. I don’t hunt. I don’t run. Much to the General’s chagrin, I write. I’ve now been writing long enough that it has fostered a change in my sense of identity.
When people I meet ask me what I do, I most often respond: “I do the best I can.” When they press me for a better explanation, I suggest that “I’m just and old child welfare worker that never grew out of it.” More recently, I’ve added: “I’m a writer.” I don’t always get it right, but I write it down just the same and I’m having fun in the process.
Even if a person only writes for themselves and their own viewing, it is a powerful tool to reflect on life, process life circumstances, and chronicle longed for changes. It is also a forum for simply giving yourself permission to be yourself. You’d be surprised at the level of emotion, the attention to details, and the value you derive from simply putting down your thoughts in writing.
Somehow writing it down makes it seem more real or more permanent. What better day, that the last day of the calendar year, to chronicle what you’ve valued about the past year and what you hope to change in the coming year? When you write it down, it becomes a contract you’ve initiated with yourself.
Truthfully, if you’re like me, you may not have invested a lot of time to determine what’s working and what needs to change. You’re simple caught up in living life and content to adapt a “whatever will be, will be” kind of pursuit. If you think “death by meetings” can kill you, “a whatever will be, will be” approach might have the same outcome.
People or dying from boredom or lack of purpose or meaningful connections with others and the decision to do life differently could alter one’s outcome. If any of those three things strikes a chord at where you find yourself on the last day of this calendar year, resolve to hit the reset button and do it differently next year. There is nothing better than a fresh new start. The choice is yours and the choice is easier to remember if you write it down.
All My Best!