Wednesday, April 9, 2014

What was the last thing you quit?

I am not known to really be a great conversationalist.  I am more minimalist in terms of how I live life, and this also goes for verbalising!  If I think it is important, I will talk about it.  If it isn't, well I generally don't.  I am completely comfortable in a car on a long drive, lost in thought and not in conversation.  In my mind, I do have moments of communication brilliance, and decent thought provoking conversations, but as an introvert, communication it is sure not my most admired trait.  Although in saying that, I have managed to overcome most obstacles to be able to survive in the workplace, and lead successful teams.

After 22 months of dating, I have had moments of reflection about how to continually improve my relationship, and my/our communications could sure use a leg up.  I would like to know my partner, in a deeper manner than I do.  So in a random moment of shopping recently, ok it was really filling in time whilst my car was getting serviced nearby, I stumbled across a book called 'A Sentence a Day'.  The concept is that for three years you answer a question each day.  So as the years pass, you cross each day and then reflect on your thoughts of the same question throughout the years.  Pretty cool concept I thought.  But even cooler is that I can use this to help create conversations which bring deeper understanding to my relationship.

Today's question is 'What was the last thing you quit?'.  Not keen to rush into a response, I have pondered this for a time.  By nature I am a planner, with an extensive 65 year life plan, broken down into yearly goals.  So mostly I don't quit, I am actually quite stubborn, I hang on for dear life, willing goal attainment.  I do it at work and at home, it is a constant.  For example, I have an auto immune disease which often does not play nicely.  It impacts on my health and fitness goals, it impairs my ability to concentrate as my mind focuses on how to block out the pain enough for me to lead the life I want, it restricts my progress on housework, landscaping and many other activities.  But, I will not let it beat me, I will not relent and acknowledge that it has won.

My yearly goals hang in the shower, so at best I may lose focus for awhile, but my constant check in and realignment means I am never too far from where I planned to be.  I do have moments in life where the goal needed some tweaking.  For about five years I planned on moving from an enlisted troop in the Air Force to a commissioned officer.  This actually required me to get a degree and pass a commission board.  Trouble was I managed to land three lots of knee surgery in 12 months which wreaked havoc on the plans.  Not to be deterred, I took some time out, rebuilt to the best of my ability and then used the Reserves as a method to gain my commission.  I did manage to do this, and during my training I suddenly had an epiphany.  The goal was to prove to myself that I could be an officer, and I had actually done that.  What I really didn't need to do was to spend large chunks of time in another state, and away from my darling toddler.  When I left the Air Force, I did so without regret, knowing that I had set out to do what I wanted, but other priorities were more important at this stage in life.

I am a natural left hander, but I grew up in a time where teachers thought that left handed kids should actually be write handed.  So I learnt to write right handed at school.  This of course has an interesting impact on someone who spent a childhood playing any sort of sport, as much as she could.  I bat left handed, kick right handed, throw right handed and hockey proved to be something I could not overcome!

Now the interesting thing is that the ability to write with both hands is a skill.  It also allows your brain to use both sides, and supposedly fosters moments of creativity.  So each year I have a goal to continue to use my left hand.  If you ask me to write left handed, I can, but the legibility is not as good as it used to be, because I haven't continued to practise.  I have also been tardy this year in my daily quest to reflect and document my top 5 moments of gratitude.  I also started this concept with Maddison when she was younger, but she struggled with the concept.  Fast forward a few years, and she has now picked it up by herself, and I help her write in the her own journal her top 3 moments for the day.  We still need to hone the gratitude part, but it is a delightful concept that she will be able to look back on later in life.  One of today's items involved the pin the tail on the horse for the western themed day at vacation care!  Tomorrow is a visit to the aquarium, so that should also be amusing.

Naturally I have quit jobs, like most people in my generation.  Although I don't reflect on this as moments of quitting, they are more junctions in life where I have chosen a different path, or a career step change, and they are pieces to the broader strategy in the life plan, rather than OMG moments of despair!

In seeking balance in life, I have quite my obsession with OCD.....oh all right I haven't actually quit, but I have relented.  I can actually sleep at night knowing that there is ironing in the pile, an odd dish in the sink, and the edges of the lawn that have not been trimmed!

In reflecting on the concept of the question increasing my ability to communicate.  Well I managed to trot out a few things, which may or may not be insightful to my better half, but I am sure that they will spur on some future discussions.

Amendment 1 - it is noted that I have been an um, well serial dater since the demise of my decade long partnership.  So sure, I have quit a few relationships during this the past ten years.  I also quit my MBA whilst over half way through.  It was a decision made not long after ending my time in the Air Force.  When I first put it on hold, it was time and an awful non English speaking lecturer that was terrorising me.  Sometime later in life when I looked at the potential return on investment from the MBA in terms of time and money, I couldn't make a good case for continuing as the only real reason was it was set into the life plan, and would result in a few extra letters at the end of my name.  My quest for financial independence over ruled continuing the MBA.

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