Yes. … And No.

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I have a colleague, Doug, who frequently replies to pleas for his agreement with “Well, yes…. And no.”

Often this is greeted by a chorus of groans. Especially when the agreement he’s being asked for is one side or the other’s proposed solution to an argument we’ve been having for far too long in our sleep-deprived and jet-lagged state.

But I find it delightful!

Doug is a scholar. A thinker. He doesn’t talk a lot in meetings, but usually what he has to say is powerful, so when he does speak the room tends to go kind of quiet with everybody listening.

After the groans subside Doug carefully outlines the ‘Yes’, fielding questions, and sounding out any new information.

Then he carefully outlines the ‘No’ in the same way.

And I always benefit from the reminder that there is very seldom a 100% yes or 100% no answer to a complex problem.

Doug’s approach reminds me to look at the argument in 360 degrees to see it more clearly.

It reminds me that those 360 degrees are the only way to see it clearly.

Take for example, reducing abortion in the United States: If I oppose abortion, I should only vote for staunch conservatives, right?

Well, yes. …. and no.

Yes, if I vote for conservatives they are probably going to verbally agree with my views on abortion, and those liberals certainly are not. They may also appoint Supreme Court Justices who are more likely to oppose abortion, and will also probably oppose pro-abortion legislation.

On the other hand though, they will probably vote to cut funding for education, health care, and parental leave, and will focus more attention on the rights of the rich than the wages and benefits of the average worker.

Yet access to education and healthcare, escaping poverty, and parents being able to devote adequate time and energy to raising and attending to their children are all protective against abortion.

So the ‘yes’ doesn’t necessarily have ‘yes’ results, and the ‘no’ sometimes does!

In this season of ten thousand pressing decisions – finding a new job, maybe a new career, voting  for a new president, finding a new place to live – I’m trying to keep focused on the biggest picture.

So I’m grateful for the yes, AND the no, because together they hold far more truth than my narrow first impression.

Relearning

Happy Friday!!!

How is everyone?

 

 

 

Well, my time off was useful, even somewhat restful. As usual I tried to pack too many things into the time, and didn’t accomplish everything that I had hoped would be a shining example of COMPLETENESS by today. Sigh.

 

An interesting thing I’ve been noticing now that I’ve had a little time to process: I am having to relearn many things. Very odd things to need to relearn, in fact.

For one thing, I having to relearn what is means to be healthy!

That should be a no-brainer, right?

But if we humans are nothing else, we are an adaptive lot. And if you’ve got chronic illnesses loitering across your life, you have to adapt to them: chronic is ALL. THE. TIME.

Before too long you reframe ‘okay’, or ‘healthy’ or ‘a good day’ in terms of the new normal: “This is the best I can expect with this illness, so this is now my sense of a good day.” You don’t THINK that, it just becomes so.

And after YEARS of that new normal, trust me, it gets to be the only ‘normal’ you can clearly recall.

So being here, in an environment that is a bit healthier for me, I’m hitting these patches of ‘healthy’ that poke out beyond my ‘normal’!

And I’ll remember that once I felt like this, before I was sick. But it’s a shock now. I’m having to learn how to feel healthier than I could previously even remember.

And I’m having to relearn community.

Colour image of three cups of coffee on saucers.

Now, this one is really an offshoot of the improved health, but sometimes now I find myself with enough energy to do more than just survive the day.

Don’t get me wrong: marathons are NOT in my foreseeable future, nor is ADHD. But I CAN actually handle investing a tiny bit in my community now.

I am not exaggerating when I say that for the last few YEARS that was simply more energy than I’ve had.

So I had simply lost the concept of community engagement as something positive. In my last location, I limited it as much as humanly possible, just to have enough energy to do the required bits of life.

Now, here I am with a wealth of cool people to know, and interesting places and activities to explore,  and more energy than I need to just maintain basic function! It’s wild!

AND limits!

If anyone ought to be the Limits Guru by now, it’s me, right?

And yet, having that little increase in energy has required a little relearning even there. It took me a little while to remember that MORE energy is not the same as LOTS of energy. Now I, of all people, have to learn to pace myself!

Who would ever have imagined that?!

So, I’m having to figure out what I truly CAN contribute to – because I’m still in no condition to take on every cool thing and stay healthy – then slowly step back into a space I thought I had left behind for good.

Curiously, I’m also having to relearn my values.

Or, maybe reevaluate is a better term for this one.

I live in a small town. And, it’s not quite in the middle of nowhere, but it’s also not anywhere near the greater metropolis.

So there is a new kind of balance to navigate here.

Do I drive to the big town a good half-hour away, to patronise the local Co-op, or do I content myself with Safeway, part of a huge conglorporation, but right down the hill?

Similarly, I have long had a desire to reduce the plastics in my life.

Living here can push me further toward that goal: we do not have trash and recycling pick-up, and a landslide closed the direct route to our recycling and waste disposal centre, so getting rid of plastics requires a 40 mile round trip. BIG incentive to ditch plastics!

On the other hand, since my shopping options are limited, it’s harder to find the things I buy without plastic wrapping.

And of course, I am on a very limited budget right now, which makes it necessary to be creative in a place where organically grown food is not the majority priority!

Another example: It’s really important to me to support the local economy. But ours is based on an unsustainable monoculture that is likely to implode before too long. How do I most helpfully navigate that set of opposed values?

So, it’s been an adventure. At the very least, it should help to keep my mind elastic for awhile!

I’ve certainly relearned my value for quiet. 😀

And for temperate, grey climates and beautiful surroundings!

Pixabay image of pink rain boots and umbrella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be well. 

Truth and Dare

Do you ever feel inferior?

I imagine some of you looking perplexed: “No, of course not, what’s she on about?”

While others nod, “Every moment of every day; thanks for bringing up a painful topic.”

And perhaps some of you are like me. I tend to think pretty well of myself, and I know there are areas where I’m very, very good, areas where I’m average, and areas where just about anyone has me beat (just about anything dealing with numbers falls here).

I’ve always been more of the jack-of-all-trades type than The Expert.

I WANTED to find some topic to delve into until I was the Supreme Master of it, but there were so many interesting topics in life! That 10,000 hours on just one was beyond me.

Then, in my last job, I was the squarest of square pegs in a long line of round holes. We’re talking fundamental, DNA-level squareness. I was as different from 90% of my colleagues as it is possible to be!

This had its advantages. I was really good at a few necessary tasks that they almost universally feared and hated, so that worked out well for all of us.

However, I spent a lot of time struggling to even speak the same language as these lovely people, because we just lived in completely different worlds. Our brains simply worked differently.

Some of my super-numerical, or extraordinarily technical colleagues inspire me to awe!

And though I’m never down on myself about it, I’ve always sort of felt young and new in comparison with those who have a clear, specific niche. So, I tend to think of all of these awe-inspiring former colleagues as vastly more sophisticated than I am. More experienced, more … grown up.

One of the interesting things about having been laid off from a company that has laid off hundreds of people in the last couple of years is that I have a sort of peer group of former colleagues in similar positions to mine.

Many of us went on to other ‘regular jobs’, of course, but I’m not the only one who decided to try to get off that merry-go-round and go into business for myself.

So, I had an interesting experience this week.

One of these Awe Inspiring Colleagues, a person that I admire to excess – you know the type: one of those frighteningly competent folks that you wonder how they manage it all – got in touch with me because he’d been offered a job that he’s not going to be able to fit into his schedule and he wondered if it might be something I would want to do.

And it is!

 

Oh my goodness, it is!

But as with most Adventures it has some drawbacks too. There are a lot of things I have to think about in deciding whether to take this opportunity.

And it has been very interesting walking through this with my Awe Inspiring Colleague.

One of my mental health practices is to never oversell myself. All that does is land me deep into very stressful situations where I must frantically tread water trying to survive – not the emotional state I’m seeking in life.

So I was very clear with Awe Inspiring Colleague about what I was able to do and what I’m not.

I REALLY felt like a little kid talking to the CEO or university president! But I gritted my teeth and did it.

I ended one of our conversations with a statement that I was completely intimidated but game to try it. And Awe Inspiring Colleague’s response was “You know, it’s kind of new and scary for me too.”

Huh. Who’d have guessed??

Maybe it’s not just that I’m a jack-of-all-trades! Maybe there’s new and scary out there somewhere for everyone!

We’re still working through whether or not either of us have the capacity to handle this job right now, and that’s cool.

I kind of hope that we do, but even if we don’t I will have gained a great deal in just processing through all of this with the Awe Inspiring Colleague.

I suppose this is also a good opportunity to revisit my New Life Resolutions.

 

What have we got here? 

Focus FIRST on getting more of the kind of work that I really want to keep doing.

  • Check! This is a good fit with my life goals, and could potentially lead to even more opportunities.

Expect hope instead of horror with this next move.

  • Uhoh! Here is where the rubber meets the road! Although this New Life Resolution originally applied to my move from California, in order to accept this work opportunity I definitely have to stick to this ‘hope instead of horror’ faith walk! (Deep breaths.)

GAIN health in the coming transitions.

  • Check. No real conflict. It does involve some dreaded time on airplanes, but one can work around that – AND one can be cognisant of this resolution throughout the process!

Shape my life so that one year from today my own life is more abundant and I’m more of a catalyst for others’ abundance too.

  • Hmmm… you know, this has some interesting possibilities! While this resolution is not the main focus, there’s no specific conflict, and of course the more I manage to achieve the first three resolutions the most chance I have with  this one. 
  • If I can do this well, I may improve a tiny piece of the lives of those I’ll work with.
  • And I wonder if just having the courage to try might not be among the most valuable preparations for both a more abundant life and being a stronger catalyst!

Good enough!

 

 

Be well.