Saturday, January 24, 2009

What If?

Our good friend Danae over at Beauty In Distress just tagged The Missus and me. It's a little more complicated than the usual meme so I thought I'd tackle it. The task is to think of a choice you made and more or less knead it to death and see what's stuck to the rolling pin.

I'm going to lead off by saying that there aren't many decisions that I've made that I really regret. I got good at hindsight pretty early on. There's no sense beating yourself up over past choices so if you insist on picking them over you may as well be looking for the good.

One choice that sticks in my mind as being pretty low on the list is working for my former boss. After a lifetime of working for myself having a boss didn't take a whole lot of getting used to. Making clients happy, making the boss happy, easy. Being unemployed for two months didn't leave me with many options and I had pretty much exhausted what few I had, so I went to work for the guy that makes everyone cringe.

Coming from a small crew that knew how to get things done without wasting time, energy and resources and honing those skills working on my own has made me pretty set in my ways. Joining a crew full of semi-skilled grunts was a bit of a paradigm shift. The foreman was a carpentry genius but all he ever did was figure out how to straighten out what the crew messed up. That is, when the boss didn't show up and meddle. Danae wrote about the way she felt her school experience made her feel about life, I was getting a similar vibe.

Goal. Work for that goal. Achieve that goal. New Goal. Work for that goal. Achieve it. I think you get my drift. That's how we're taught, how our minds are molded from a young age, particularly with school. The goal is to go to Kindergarten and pass. To study, do decent on the test, and pass. Then the next grade and the next test. Goal after goal after goal.

That's a decent summary of life on that crew, except graduation to first grade never happened because every three weeks some guys quit and more chuckle heads took their place. It was a never-ending orientation.

Somehow I managed to escape having that philosophy impressed upon myself in my school days. Maybe it was all the staring out the window that allowed what I was learning to percolate in my skull and form abstract connections. It did feel like a series of hurdles but the increasing height of the hurdles lead me to believe that there was a purpose. Eventually I was applying what I could and bookmarking the rest for future use.

I firmly believe in the biblical concept that God doesn't put us through anything we can't handle (with a little help from Him). By that reasoning I've been conditioned by all my past experiences for what I'm doing right now. There was a lot to be miserable about on that job, but I learned a good deal too. How not to run a crew for instance, and how to deal with the unreasonable expectations of upper management and still accomplish something. In the face of loosing our house I could have done worse. As the Rastafarians are fond of saying, "Jah provide, soon come."

And He did provide. When my family was hanging on the very last fibers of the proverbial rope, a job came along. Despite being a grinding experience I still managed to find good in it. And again, just in the nick of time, something else came along. I prayed in desperation one night in August to be free from that job and working somewhere else by the middle of September. My hire date at my current (awesome) job was September 16. Somebody in the back say amen!

I guess I'm having a hard time really finding anything that I actually regret about the experience at all. It sucked but it toughened me up and kept the family going. I'm thinking now of the thousands of times I've said, "wish I hadn't done that" and even in those moments I was still concentrating more on the solution to the problem I had created than anything else.

Sorry to totally not do the assignment but that's what I've got for ya. Take a tip from the shaggy carpenter, don't worry about it. Focus on the lessons to be learned and consider what might be added to your arsenal for future situations, no matter what caused them. If life seems like a never ending series of goals then just work toward achievement. My Sunday School teacher told me that all things work together for good for them that love the Lord.

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  1. Like the meme...thanks for rollin out the dough

  2. Great blog! I think what I meant in all of that was not to have regrets or dwell on the past but to use it for the future and to realize what you have now because of the path you chose. Am I making any sense? lol.


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