Archive for the ‘blogging’ Tag

Dang it!

Well, crap! Missed my posting goal by one day. Ugh.

I’ve had a busy 8 days since my last post. Work and house-cleaning ahead of a post-holiday visit from family took up a chunk of energy. Then a great few days spent with my family, resting and visiting and swimming and dining and watching movies. It was a blast.

Then, on Monday afternoon, I had my second oral surgery. OMG that was painful! Way worse than the first. And sooooo much drool! Yuck!

I spent Tuesday resting and taking medicine. Went back to work on Wednesday, only to find that I’m not invincible. Even though all I do is read and think and type and talk to people, it was more than I could manage. I went home and slept for 5 straight hours.

Now, I’ve worked two full days and am still farther behind in my work than if I’d been out of the office for two weeks. I haven’t been this far behind in years. I hate it! So I’ll be spending time on my laptop this weekend trying to catch up.

Well, maybe after a good night’s rest and a little quiet work tomorrow, I’ll feel caught up enough to enjoy Sunday off. And maybe the recovery will advance enough that I won’t forget to post on time next week. 🙄

I hope you have a restful weekend, friends.

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On Strategic Retreat

I was reared on the belief that quitting is a grievous sin. It compounds selfishness with laziness and imposes your burden, your duty, on someone else. Quitting is the easy way out and earns you nothing.

This absolutist view had a very powerful affect on my formative mind. It embedded itself in my personality and formed a part of my core ethos. In many tangible ways, I have benefited from this belief becoming a trait. Without this conviction, coupled with some courage and a goodly amount of sheer stubbornness, I would not have achieved the level of advancement and respect that I currently enjoy in my career. Nor would I have had the will to undertake this years-long campaign of self discovery and personal growth. Not quitting and consciously, intentionally, habitually opposing any urge to quit, has served me very well.

But even good habits can be injurious when taken too far.

A lesson that has taken far too long to sink into my brain is that there is a time for everything, including a time to quit. When a habit or practice or project or activity… or even a relationship…becomes unhealthy or harmful or unproductive or counter-productive, logic and reason would say it’s time to end that thing. Putting energy and resources toward such a failing endeavor is wasteful and causes more harm than good.

Yet quitting still seems wrong.

Continuing to the end, finishing the course, making sure the job is done, staying true to your word…these are the things I was taught to tell myself to avoid quitting. They’re noble sentiments that reveal a character to be admired. They also have the effect of making failure easier to accept than quitting. Because if you stick it out to the end, give it all you’ve got and still fail, you have preserved your honor and can hold your head up in spite of the outcome. But there’s no honor in quitting, no valor in retreat.

That’s what I was taught and what I’ve always believed.

Yet I was also taught to think and use good sense. And what kind of sense does it make to continue an endeavor that you know will fall or that is harmful to you in some way? What real valor is there in blind, unyielding labor, what honor in futility? Doesn’t even military theory teach the value of tactical retreat, of picking your battles, of living to fight another day?

Perhaps the change in nomenclature will help. A trusted teacher once told me that reframing a problem with language that is palatable to both mind and spirit can overcome obstacles that logic and brute strength cannot. So…retreat, not quitting.

If I retreat from whatever is in front of me and take an alternate path, I do not necessarily have to go backwards. I can go in any other direction and still advance. It might take longer and the original destination may be out of sight for a time, or the destination may change altogether, but there is still movement toward the goal.

That is palatable and I can accept the logic as not merely palliative nonsense. It is not comfortable and not as ingrained as the drive to never quit, but I can appreciate it’s worth.

This has been a long time coming. I’ve had to intentionally cultivate this skill while suppressing my natural tendency toward stubborn determination. It started small, delegating tasks at work to junior attorneys to free time for more advanced projects suited to my more mature skills.

What made that hard was that the tasks I needed to delegate were things I enjoyed and was really good at doing. Handing them off felt like quitting my job to do something I barely understood how to do. That seemed foolish and unworthy. But it was necessary. It was retreat from the familiar in order to take on the unknown and gain immeasurable ground in the process.

It has been the same every time I’ve done it since. Whether it’s taking on a new challenge at work, letting go of unproductive personal habits, finding new paths to self improvement, acknowledging failure to learn and achieve success, or simply letting go of uncertainty and embracing the risk of loss while reaching for the gain, it all requires the same thing: strategic retreat. I know in my heart that term is a euphemism for quitting. But because the layer of meaning on top of it has the virtue of truth, it’s a type of quitting that my spirit is willing to accept.

So, what have I quit recently? A few things, but I didn’t quit any of them without having a clear alternate path each time:

  • I gave bullet journaling a full 90 day shot, daily recording the significant occurrences in my day and often adding a fun anecdote or inspirational quote. But I just don’t see the value in it. It feels forced and takes time away from actually doing those significant occurrences. And I haven’t felt the need to review my entries even once. Instead, I’m doubling down on my commitment to this blog. We’re safely over the halfway mark of the year and I’ve been true to my weekly posting goal. I find value and meaning in this and knowing that I have readers who still read keeps me going. So I quit bullet journaling and will instead work harder here.
  • Keeping with the theme of giving up useless things, I quit three separate standing meetings at work and have no regrets. That’s 90 minutes per week that I have back to do things that actually matter. Since none of them were my meetings, organized by me, I feel no compulsion to replace them with anything specific. I’m just using my time more effectively and that’s good for both me and my company. How freeing it is to simply not attend!
  • Although I’ve been dressing in “masculine” clothing for many years and haven’t worn a skirt or dress in nearly two decades, I still tried to maintain some semblance of female normativity in my appearance. Whether it’s wearing pastel colors to soften the cut of my shirt and bow tie, or adding rings and bracelets or even earrings to signal “yes I’m a girl” to the anxious public confused by my style, I made an effort because I have always feared ridicule and derision. It’s incredibly exhausting always worrying about whether other people will “get” you or if they’ll laugh you out of town. So, gradually and with a lot of effort and the support of family and friends, I have begun to let go of the need for public approval of my appearance and identity. I’m learning to redirect the energy I put into worry and fear into confidence and self-worth. I’m letting myself like who I am and how I look, and learning to not feel guilty for it.

These may not seem like strategic retreats or even real accomplishments to anyone but me. That’s alright. I know the value these changes have to my spirit and the labor that has gone into achieving them. That’s all that really matters – that I know.

So my hope for you, friends, is that you give yourselves permission to strategically retreat from things that aren’t working, free from guilt and self loathing, so that your new direction can bring you to your goal.

Beginning Again

Well, I made it through the second quarter and didn’t strangle any sales guys, so that counts as a big positive. Also, I have started July off on a good foot by doing chores with a good attitude and without grumbling (though no one but me would have heard). Finally, I’m up and going at normal time for a work day, even though my boss bid me to take today and tomorrow ahead of the holiday break easy and work from home, doing only essential tasks because I deserve a break. I will do so, but sticking to routine helps me avoid temptation to turn “work from home” into an unrecorded day off.

All of this and the train of thought that leads me to record it all form another start on my goals of positivity and personal growth. I’ve learned that progress in such things, for me, is actually a series of efforts rather than one long pull to the goal line. I’m not sure why that is. But I’m not unhappy about it. Growth still happens and it’s mostly conscious and intentional. That I seem to need to start out toward the same goal a lot doesn’t diminish the progress I make each time. And because I do start again, rather than give it up, is a meta-win. Not quitting is as important to me as starting in the first place.

So, I’m beginning again. Focusing on the good things, consciously avoiding negativity, and trying to bring substance into my writing. This quarter, when I take stock at the end, I want to have the ability to judge myself as having accomplished all of my primary goals and improved performance on the stretch goals I set for myself last week. But more importantly, I want to be able to say that I’ve stayed the course from this new beginning and head into the next beginning with momentum.

Have a great week, my friends, and may you have many successes on your own new beginnings.

Owie

Ok, I’ll own that I’m a wuss and have a low threshold for pain. But, just as it’s completely possible for the paranoid to actually be the target of people out to get them, even wusses can feel when something really hurts. And this does.

The anesthetic hasn’t even worn off from the first of three oral surgeries in Butch’s Summer of Dental Fun, but I already feel the throbbing. In the immortal words of Han Solo: I have a bad feeling…about how much this is gonna hurt when the numb wears off!

So I’m gonna indulge in a little self care: jammies, soup, Tylenol, an early night and a 3-day weekend.

Be well, my friends.

Sartorial Positives

Today begins the penultimate work week of the second quarter, and the overbearing, unreasonable and unrealistic demands from the sales organization have already (at half past 7am) made this a long, exhausting week. So, I’m looking for fun, light, happy things to take my mind out of the negative space it’s threatening to slip into.

One thing that always makes me happy is looking sharp. I don’t always have the highest self image. But being clean, well groomed, and dressed in clothes that validate my identity always picks me up.

Last week I got new bow ties for the first time in ages. It’s so fun to get packages in the mail and even better when they feel like a surprise because they arrive more quickly than expected.

These are gonna be fun to wear! I’m wearing the fun socks today. Excited to sport the blue diamond tie tomorrow!

Bonus: They’re from the Jesse Tyler Ferguson Tie The Knot program at the Tie Bar. Affordable and a fun, easy way to contribute to the fight for equality.

I hope you all have a great week and find comfort and positivity in your wardrobes.

Let’s hear it for the list!

I’m determined to keep my posting streak alive. I’m also battling a bout of writers block and fatigue. So, I’ll rely on a list to keep it going. Here are some good little things I’ll share this week:

  1. Ocean’s 8 opened this week. Awesome heist flick and it’s all women power all the time. Fun and exactly what I wanted in a summer pic. Cate Blanchett is everything.
  2. 3 cheers for air conditioning! Got ours fixed this week after over two weeks without it. Can’t overstate how pleased I am to have it back.
  3. I’m obsessed with Battle Bots. It’s such geeky, aggressive, tech gore-filled fun. It’s a bucket list wish to see it in person one day. I’m thankful for my DVR, so I can binge-watch a bunch of battles at the weekend.
  4. The motor home is still a huge hit. All their friends have oohed and ahhhed over it. I’m enjoying every story about their plans and preparation for the upcoming road trip to the grandkids. This has turned out to be the funnest gift I’ve ever given because it’s been as much fun to watch my brother and sister-in-law discover the joys of it as they have had in finding them.
  5. I’m preparing for some oral surgery this summer. I’ve been really nervous about it. But the surgeon I’ve got is a great person. She took the time listen to my concerns, as well as to explain the treatment plan to help calm those fears. I’m glad I found someone who makes me feel confident about something as scary as this.

Short list of some positive little things in my life this week. I hope you’re finding lots of good things in your summer.

On Exhaustion

From the random thoughts pile: If energy is neither created nor lost, but simply transformed from one state to another, what does it take to transform enough energy from the nebulous ‘other states’ to fuel a person through a full work week such that the entirety of the weekend isn’t lost to ‘battery recharging’?

Friends, I’m tired. Seems like I get enough sleep – about 6.5 to 7 hours each night. I certainly get enough to eat and it’s mostly good, nourishing, and prepared by the hands of others. I even get leisure time to read or watch tv from time to time. But at the end of every 55-60 (average) hour work week, all I seem to be able to do is sleep in and be lazy.

Of course, the knee-jerk response I get when musing on this aloud among friends or family, is: you’re getting old, just accept it.

I reject that premise. Age doesn’t scare me and I’m not ashamed of my age. I don’t feel old or world-weary. I feel tired, not old or past usefulness. Tired, as in if I sit still for too long I fall asleep, kind of tired. As in, I seem to yawn my head off constantly, kind of tired.

But I don’t have a physically demanding job to explain the exhaustion. I use my brain, not my back, as my grandmother used to exhort me to do. I just don’t understand how thinking and reasoning and arguing positions and negotiating outcomes, all in the comfort of a climate-controlled, well appointed office can induce such deep and lasting exhaustion.

Feels bad to be this tired and not be able to explain it. Especially when others close to me do work physically and for similarly long hours. I know, intellectually, that comparison of such disparate jobs is invalid. But I can’t help thinking that exhaustion from physical work is earned, whereas intellectual labor should be invigorating rather than draining.

I still love my job, though. It’s gratifying to achieve goals and help a good company grow. It’s a blessing for which I’m thankful. I just wish I understood why it makes me so tired.

Flat out 

I had hoped to write something substantive and post earlier in the week. It just didn’t happen. I’ve been working flat out and just haven’t been able to pull it together. But I’m not going to let my posting goal fall to a busy schedule. 

Here’s a list of good things from this week. Although they are not terribly original, they made me happy and kept my positivity going:

  1. Sunshine! I wore my sunglasses on my drive to work every day this week and three of my drives home. It’s finally, truly Spring and I’m grateful. 
  2. I’m enjoying my work. I’ve done some really difficult, executive-level lawyering this last couple of weeks. And in the middle of it, both my boss and outside counsel have been very complimentary of my work and the logic of my theories and deductions. It’s extremely gratifying when those you respect and admire show equal respect and admiration for you and your work. 
  3. Very glad to be able to celebrate the good fortunes of a couple of friends. One has recently been able to visit her new girlfriend and visit old friends and home places for the first time in ages. Another has a new puppy. It’s really nice to have good news for once, and pleasant to share the happiness with my friends. 
  4. My sister-in-law received some lovely flowers from her kids for Mother’s Day and has shared them with the family. Irises are some of the most lovely blooms of Spring. 
  5. I have been reading for fun again, for the first time in ages. Just silly, fluff novels. Cozy mysteries, mostly. I particularly enjoy the weird and wonderful Aunt Dimity series by Nancy Atherton. They demand very little mentally, yet are delightfully quirky and engaging. 

There are five good things for this week. I hope your week has been just as full of beauty and blessings. 

Grateful 

I’ve written several times about my job. They’ve been mostly positive posts, because my work life is mostly positive. Like all people and all jobs, there are good and bad days, good and not so good people, good and less than good experiences. But, taken as a whole, it’s a positive work life. I know how blessed I am in this respect, because I’ve had really bad jobs, horrible bosses and coworkers, and experiences so negative that I was forced to quit. 

But that’s not this job. This job, at which I’ve spent the last 18 years, is satisfying, challenging, and important. I have a great boss who appreciates me and values my skill and contributions. My team is an engaged, high-performing, cheerful group of skilled professionals. The work we do matters to the success of a good company that provides good products and services. Our solutions provide valuable functionality to people all over the world. And the work my team does is a vital component to making it all work. How satisfying it is to know that the hard, frustrating, crazy-making work and the fun, intriguing, fascinating work has meaning and value in something so important to so many. 

This is a good job and I’m happy to be a part of such a great team. 

So today, I took my entire local team out for lunch to celebrate the milestone anniversaries that will occur this year among them. We cheered for our longest-term colleague who is celebrating her 30th year, and our newest member who has been with us two months today, and everyone in between. Collectively, we have over 150 years of legal experience, which is nothing to sneeze at. 

In the middle of it all it struck me how lucky we are to have built such a great team and how grateful I am for each of them. And I told them so. I thanked them for all their great work and for being such a great team. We laughed and ate and had a great time. Then I gave them all the afternoon off as a treat. It felt really great to be able to do that. 

Just wanted to share that gratitude with all of you. I hope you have abundant reasons to feel grateful today. Have a great weekend, my friends!

Spring!

It’s finally here! There have been three straight days of sunshine and warm breezes. My grass is all green and had it’s first cutting of the season. My pear trees are in bloom and the tulips have begun to open. I’m so happy!

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