Wednesday, September 5, 2012

New Year's Resolutions...Part Five

In case you missed my last few blog posts, please refer to the side of the screen where the last few posts are listed. My laziness prevents me from pasting in all the links. I'm having one of those kind of nights, so please forgive me. (And for shame…how dare you not find me endlessly endearing, charming and fun? Where’s your heart?)

For those of you already yawning and making a move to shut this page down, don’t you dare. Haven't you been listening? Be courageous. Be kind. Have faith. It’ll all be over soon.

Earn your keep…and have fun doing it
Here’s the hard facts of life…unless you fully plan on winning the lottery, and if so, please seek help, at some point after you’ve decided what you want to be when you grow up, or until then, you’re going to have to earn a living. Find something you enjoy doing – cause trust me, that’d be a long haul if you’re miserable. The secret to being remarkable and standing out in a crowd is to enjoy what you do, even if it isn’t your dream job. Focus on the task at hand. Adjust your lens on the ordinary. Be present. People that are exceptionally good at what they do make everyone around them feel better.

Work hard and have fun doing it. After all, no one really cares if you don’t want to be there. That’s your choice, not their baggage. And remember this: it’s a basic equation…you’re trading your time for money. That’s all it is. With that said, you might as well be having some fun and getting some fulfillment out of it. Because if you take yourself too seriously, then you’re bound to lose something in the end. As you know, all work and no play is totally missing the point. A few years ago, I completely missed the point - lost my perspective, my sense of humour, my zest for life. Lesson? I'm never going back there.

Most importantly, never make the mistake of confusing your net worth with the numbers in a bank account – you’re not taking any of it with you. I’ve yet to see a funeral hearse pulling a U-Haul (but promise to let you know if I ever do). You are already worth as much as any millionaire out there. And if one day you happen to become one of those people who makes millions a year, remember this – you're worth no more than the person who makes nothing. Don’t ever forget that. A sign of true character is how you treat those who have nothing to give you in return

And now for a fable about a nasty little pony named Satan. No, wait a minute…his name was Sandy. Way back when, my mom enrolled me in Pony Club. This was likely an attempt to bring some culture into my life and keep me out of trouble. It would make sense then, that I hated it. My older sister had this beautiful thoroughbred horse that looked like a mythical creature out of some movie, and I was saddled with Satan, pardon me, Sandy, a Shetland pony who stood about seven apples high. One day, just after brushing the little beast to a high-gloss shine, I was leading him out to the pasture. It was then that my brother came roaring onto the yard in the combine. Unfortunately, at that very moment, I was in complete defiance of the cardinal rule of Pony Club: NEVER EVER hold on to the halter, always hold the rope (which presumably you have tied to the halter). This will give you a chance to let go should something happen. Well, something did indeed happen. Sandy went completely bat-shit at the sound of the combine and took off like his tail was on fire. My sweaty wee hand instinctively grabbed hold of that halter and held on for dear life. As Darwin suggested, it comes down to survival of the fittest. In this case, Sandy won the evolutionary race. They found me just outside the pasture gate, where that terror must have stopped just long enough for my carcass to drop, my body in the grips of rigor mortis.

As fate would have it, I lived. My face however, was one giant scab. I was horrified. As my mom described it: “You’ll be fine. Your face was just dragging on the road for a bit.” A bit? I had gravel shards wedged into my forehead, nose, cheeks, lips and chin. It took months for the whole mess to clear up. And don’t think for a moment that having a scab for a face was a good enough excuse to hide out in my room. Hell, no. My mom told me to quit acting like I’d lost an arm or something. She even made me continue to participate in the circuit of local fairs that summer, where I ungraciously collected a plethora of fifth place mercy ribbons. See photo below.

For the record, what kind of slacks am I wearing?
Should I tuck them in the boots, or out?
Clearly I couldn't decide, both alternatives being equally delightful.
As for the fifth place ribbon, very harsh, as there were only four of us in the class.

For the record, yes, that’s a forced smile. The scabs on my nose, lips and chin prevented my grin from stretching any further. I’m not entirely certain if that’s a large scab on my forehead, or an awkward attempt at bangs. Let’s go with scab. It's one of the few times my brothers went out of their way to make me laugh. Although they weren't being kind. I'm almost entirely certain they did it just to see the scab break, fresh blood pouring down my face each time.

As a child, that was a tough lesson in perseverance. No matter how bad you think your situation is, you still have to get dressed and show up for the game. Don’t expect to get results without being willing to work hard for something. You want to know the secret to getting lots of stuff done? Get lots of stuff done. To do this, be diligent about deciding what requires your full artillery of anal tendencies, and what does not. Some things require complete focus, others don’t. If you’re writing an email that’s going out to 1,000+ employees, then yes, spend some extra time on it. Heck, get a little crazy and double-check it. But baking that pie for the local charity event? Really, as long as it’s edible. Just remember the saying, it’s not so much how busy you are, but what you’re busy doing. After all, the bee gets praised, the mosquito swatted.

You’ll have days when you feel on top on the world...

 And others where you want to mutter, "F*ck this. I’m going back to bed.”

And that’s alright – knowing it may not be your day of crowning glory, just pin on your fifth place ribbon and head out for the day. And sometimes? Sometimes, life just sucks. Sometimes, it’s really hard. But keep your chin up. Cause guess what? Sometimes you need those crappy moments…sometimes you need to hit those walls…cause only then do you find out what you’re really made of.

Follow your dreams…especially the ones others think are impossible
Dream big. And then go out there and get it. What the heck are you waiting for? Someone to do it for you? Yeah, let me know how that goes. I want to share an excerpt from the commencement address that the late Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, gave to a graduating class in 2005. He said:

“Remembering that I’ll be dead some day is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart and intuition…they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. Stay hungry, stay foolish.”

How cool is that?

Promise me something? Never bet your life on somebody else's opinion. In fact, write a letter to yourself. Write down your dreams, what you want to be when you grow up – your passions, the things that make your soul sing. Put it somewhere safe and open that letter ten years from now. It may just surprise you. And I know what you young people are thinking: “Jeez! Ten years from now? I’ll be so old! I won’t even be able to see." Riiiiiiiiight. Let me promise you something. The next ten years will go by in the blink of an eye. So write it down. Your dreams are the most important possessions you hold. They’re yours. They’re what make you, YOU.  And here’s the kicker, no one can make your dreams come true except you. On the flip side, no one can take ‘em away from you either. Not if you don’t let them.

 To be continued...


Tash said...

Thanks, once again, for reminding me how incontinent 3 labours have rendered me. FYI, I think those were Curt's pants and if those are bangs, they were cut to cover the scab.

Jenny V said...

My favorite resolution post, so far. Well said, lady! I couldn't agree more. :)

Jenny V

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