Find the Good

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So the calendar runs out of pages today and we’ll have to increment the year by one when writing dates.  I’m not a resolution person.  I’m sure they do work for some people but I’m convinced that, for most people, a random calendar date is not enough to trigger a change in lifestyle.  Too often, the resolutions are just doomed to failure and I don’t know how many people end up in a cycle of self-hate just because they keep making the same resolutions over and over again.

Since I also made fun of the news doing a bunch of “best of 2018” stories, I won’t do that here as well.  To be honest, for me, 2018 is a year I’d like to forget.  The year started with my Mom dying and it is hard for a year to recover after a start like that.  So why dredge up the bad.

I am now starting another week of being off work and I think that taking this long break has been really helpful.  I’ll admit to being far less active than I would have liked but that has had the benefit of allowing some of the little aches and pains to heal up a bit.  The mental break has been the best.  There is just so much negative energy right now at work that getting away from it has really been a good thing.

There have been tough times before and times when work is a true drag but the changes and layoffs and general lack of direction this past year plus has been the worst stretch of my “career”.  Things like position and power and, to some extent, money, just don’t provide a great deal of motivation for me.  What has provided motivation is knowing that I’m working on things that do help people and being involved in projects you can take some pride in.  The work was meaningful and that hasn’t been the case since we finished the last big project.

And, it seems pretty clear that there will be further changes.  What little direction we are given hints at a change in the project mix requiring a different skill set.  So we are not currently staffed to handle that project mix and something will have to be done to reduce where we are heavy and bring in where we are light.  This seems obvious to me but there is a clear lack of transparency from higher ups about how they are going to deal with this problem.  When it comes to personal decisions and downsizing, I know most companies are rarely up front until they have to be even though the planning and discussions start long before any decisions are announced.  But knowing and liking are two different things.

Now, there is always the option to leave all the negativity behind and find greener pastures.  The problem is that when you’ve worked at a place for as long as I have, you’ve got certain perks (vacation) that would be hard to replicate at a new place.  Plus, there is a strong financial incentive for me to hang around for another two years.  See, we all create our own prisons.  It is just that my long term life after work gets a significant boost if I make it another two years (I’m actually not convinced I’ll get to make that decision by the way).

This is also what happens when I sit at the keyboard and just let my mind flow.  I wonder if this would be any better if I tried to take a few minutes to outline a path for my thoughts rather than just sitting down and letting my fingers do the talking.  I also wanted to mention that some of my real high points have been the times when I’ve been able to hire people or promote people and especially when I’ve been able to mentor younger people.  In some small way, to know that I made a positive change in someone’s life is a good feeling.  So those opportunities also have helped make work life meaningful and have helped keep me going despite the occasional upper management idiocy.

So this sort of gets to the title of my post.  I’m not a resolution guy like I said and I don’t often think about philosophies of life.  Well I probably do think about it because I’ve got some serious code wired in on how I live.  I just don’t write anything down so it is a mystery.  I just know what feels right to me.

But, one thing that has helped get me through this year was to find the good.  There are some days that are just awful and all you want to do is climb in bed and stay there forever.  But life offers a lot of little moments if you are open to them.  For example, I hate winter and cold as you know.  And the cloudy and grey days are the worst.  The good news is that not every day is cloudy and grey.  There are days when the sun comes out and it gives the world a whole new perspective.  It just doesn’t feel as bad when the sun is shining.  Just take a moment to stop and close your eyes and feel the sun and warmth on your face.  Winter won’t last.  It will be sunny and warm soon.  I can always hold on to those moments for long but you take advantage of them when you can.

Ballroom can be an endless series of frustrations.  Hearing “keep your head up” for the billionth time and struggling to remember all the little tips and things to make your dancing better.  It can wear on you.  It can cause doubt and a lot of “why am I doing this” moments.  OK, I have more of those then I’d like to admit.  On the other hand, you can get those moments when the music is perfect and the moves just flow and suddenly all the practice pays off.

These are just two examples.  There are many more.  Watching animals do something silly.  A warm bit of breeze that reminds you of a beach vacation.  The feeling of a shady spot in the middle of summer.  Flowers.  Bird song.  Trying something new at a restaurant and discovering a new favorite.  Someone randomly doing something nice for you.

I guess the point is that life will toss many of these moments at you along with all the bad stuff.  It can be far too easy to focus on the bad.  I’m certainly guilty of doing this at times.  What I’ve learned this year is that you have to look for the good because those moments are there.  And it is always something to try and get better at.  (Did I just sneak in a resolution??)


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