What a difference a day can make. Monday I was “up to my chin” working on an assignment that merited my full attention. It proved to take a lot longer than I previously had imagined it would. What made it even more frustrating is that it was a holiday and a piece of who I am wanted to play.
I’m sure the General thought I’d procrastinated for months and the day had come to pay the fiddler. I do have a way of maintaining that if it weren’t for the last minute, a lot of things would never get done. However, Monday’s assignment landed in my lap over the weekend and prudent judgment dictated the need to carve out the time and invest the effort.
I almost wrote, “I was in over my head”, but I’m not sure I’ve ever really been in that circumstance. Please don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I’m not saying, “I can do anything.” Actually, what I’m saying is quite the contrary. I’m saying, that I’m fairly cautionary in what I choose to take on. If it’s out of my league, I’ve lived long enough to know that you’ve got to know “when to hold them, know when to fold them and know when to walk away”. I guess to make a long story short, “I’m not game for being in a losing battle”.
Actually, I wasn’t in a battle at all. At the risk of your thinking I’m certifiably crazy, the investment of Monday’s effort would have held a very different and captivating dimension if there had been something I could have lost, had I not done my best. Sadly, it was simply a long laborious task that took concentration, but there was no “winner-take-all” kind of celebration or sense of victory when the assignment was completed.
At any rate, under the concept of “take care of Don”, I took off work mid-afternoon on Tuesday and came home. Consequently, I made my way to the sun-porch where the General had invested the majority of her day doing cross-stitch. By the way, she liked the roses I brought to her. I almost opted not to apologize for my behavior earlier in the day on the outside change that bringing it up again could get me sentenced to the gallows. However, she graciously accepted my apology without any indication that I was still in trouble. I then went to my office and thumbed through a book. Fortunately for me, I was not sitting at my computer when the General came to check. She had the brilliant idea, “Why don’t you read on the sun-porch?” So for about two hours, that’s what I did on Tuesday.
There was no sense of hurry. There was no looming deadline or sense that I had to complete anything. It was simply a very relaxing, pleasant afternoon and evening. I obviously should spend a lot more time on the sun-porch. It was just the dose of medicine that I needed and I wasn’t even sick.
So, how do I process the contrast between the two days and make any kind of sense of it? I had the thought, “All behavior has meaning.” Isn’t it true that the choices we generally make have some relationship to getting our perceived needs met? So why do I opt to go 90 mph most days and I’m perfectly content to tread water at other times?
Actually, the title of a chapter in the book I had been thumbing through came to mind as I contemplated the contrast. The chapter was entitled, “Racehorses and Turtles”. How’s that for an unlikely combination? When you stop to think about it, there are a lot of ways to categorize people and they generally fall into one of two camps. For example:
- Some people think Wal-Mart has everything you need. Other people think Wal-Mart has nothing you need and wouldn’t consider even going inside.
- (2) For some folks the glass is always half-full. They are generally positive and optimistic. Other people always see the glass as half-empty and you can count on them to do their best to “suck the life out of you” whenever you share time.
- Racehorses are made to run. Turtles are made to crawl.
Obviously, racehorses thrive on high levels of stress. Theirs is a vigorous, fast-paced life-style. That approach definitely falls into the “winner-take-all category”. Turtles on the other hand, are obviously happier in peaceful, quiet environments. Isn’t it true that most folks generally fall into one or the other of the two categories? If either type were required to function long-term in the other lifestyle, it would be untenable.
Perhaps, when it comes to Wal-Mart, the chances of balancing either opinion is outside the realm of possibility. You either shop at Wal-Mart or you don’t. You really can’t have it both ways.
From my perspective, I see absolutely no value in alternating between the to opinions concerning the glass of water. My vote will always be “half full”. That is beyond comprehensive for folks who see it differently. Perhaps, you really can’t have it both ways.
What about with the racehorse and the turtle? “Yes” “Yes”, sign me up. I can embrace small dozes of “turtle like behavior”. Actually, that could probably be described as therapeutic. But as George Jones used to sing, “The race is on”.
All My Best!