Three days into the New Year and things have not started as I expected.
Expectations, can’t be happy with them, can’t always live life without dodging them.
The last five days have been a whirl wind, no they have been a vortex.
I blame the polar vortex and global weirding.
I was on vacation for the holidays visiting my parents in the midwest. I had my kids with me and had some great times visiting with my family, brother and nephews and more. The polar vortex dipped through the midwest while we were there and brought very cold temps and more snow than is typical there.
I missed an opportunity to visit my Grandmother due to one of the snows.
My own bad, or lack of planning is to blame for that as much as the weather.
While this was a vacation, I had to work. I had things I had to finish up for clients for the year end, for their year end, and for my own. I was more productive in that week at my parents house than I had been for much of December. It felt good to get caught up.
Plus, if I had not gotten caught up, there would have been no money for rent nor gas money to drive home.
Throughout the holiday, I felt a bit like the character Randy Quaid played in Christmas Vacation. Except maybe his character had it together a bit more.
But, by the end of vacation, I felt like I was getting life well in hand. I survived Christmas. I had plans for coming back and getting even more organized and ready for the New year.
A twelve hour drive zapped me a bit. That was followed by a New Year’s eve intended to be low key playing games with friends went a bit off the rails.
It wasn’t bad, just not as low key and easy as I envisioned.
For reasons that I’ll leave offline, I even took a time out to wash my the salt off my car while standing bare foot in a car wash covered in ice from previous washings in 26 degree temps. I needed it at the time to keep my feet dry and to ground myself.
My girlfriend came down with a stomach bug, not the man flu, late that night after the new year had started. The next day I did my best to nurse her through the day.
We had previously and casually planned to work on some vision boards together that day. We had plans of getting more in sync for the new year with our intentions and goals and things.
Instead, we did our best to stay healthy and awake.
It was ok. Sometimes the best we can do is to live to play another day.
My children had stayed with my ex overnight on New Years. It was my holiday with the kids and then my week after that week for custody too. I picked them up New Years day in the evening. We said goodbye’s to my oldest. He went back to college the next day.
I managed to get my girls to school yesterday after a 2 hour delay for the vortex that had reached down to North Carolina.
I had more big plans to head to the VA to kick off some self improvement work on myself. I had 2 appointments scheduled. One to see a psychiatrist (first visit) and another to begin a psychologist lead group. I’ve joined / signed up for 2 rounds of group therapy. One that is 8 weeks and another that is 30 weeks long. I opted to see a psychiatrist as well.
I’ve been working to cope with a low level of depression. I became aware of it almost a year ago. I’ve found some things that help, simple things like taking a 200mg caffeine pill in the morning. Other things like meditation, sleep meditation music, yoga, exercise and more. (the list is long)
But my life currently has very little safety net. My rainy day fund has a negative balance.
I have made tremendous strides to improve my business, my work, my finances and more these last six months.
I have a long way to go. I feel I need the group work to help me talk through and work through some of my challenges. I feel like I have a few blind spots.
I do not have solutions for these blind spots. I feel the need for coaching. I feel the need to develop more coping skills to address them.
Maybe a psychiatrist will be able to help. Maybe there’s a prescription that might see me through part of it.
I’m disinclined to turn to a prescription for many reasons.
I’m not going to leave any stone unturned in my attempts to turn my life around.
Without a safety net, I have little room for mistakes. This is both a feeling and a truth.
So I left the house yesterday to head to my appointment.
I arrived and attempted to sign into the electronic kiosk for the appointments.
No appointments were in the system!
I reached down to grab my phone and double check.
I doubled back to my car, found my phone had fallen out of the clip thingy, and was lying in the car seat. I pulled up my calendar and realized, I had the wrong day. The appointment was not for the 2nd, but the 3rd.
So I drove back home, and tacked into a different day. I did not get nearly as much accomplished yesterday as I could of. I was thrown off a bit. I couldn’t quite course correct and switch gears fast enough from what I had expected the day would be and into what the day was.
This was exactly the type of scenario that I’m hoping therapy will help me address!
I feel like I need help in coping with the days and things that ‘throw me off.’
When I served in the Army twenty plus years ago, I used to describe this as ‘Walking into a fart’.
In the military, you could see people doing this all the time. A great person would suddenly have this look on their face, like they had just walked into a fart. Maybe someone had yelled at them. Maybe they had just encountered some bureaucratic snafu that had stopped them in their tracks. Maybe something very bad had just happened in their life or their career. Maybe all of these things had happened at once.
In the military, this kind of thing typically happens to soldiers about every 4-5 days. Sometimes more often. I personally feel that First Sergeants experience this more than any other person. First Sergeants in the Army are Non Commissioned Officers (NCO’s) that are responsible for a company of enlisted soldiers. Most First Sergeants, especially new ones, develop this almost permanent look on their face like they are perpetually walking into a fart.
The First Sergeants that survive this will eventually learn to let it go. These are the amazing people that later go onto become Master Sergeants. They are a unique class of human similar to a monk or shaman that can let all of this go, and still do amazing things.
There have been times in my life where I was able to let these things go. I’d easily and rapidly surf my way out of a fart and into a better environment, a path that did not stink.
If I could not do one thing, I’d change gears and go do something else. I’d come back to the other thing, when I could.
In my current life and career, I’ve lost that capability a bit.
In some ways, that’s not a bad thing. I need the focus and determination to see a thing through at times. That requires persistence and more. Dropping a project that runs into a fart, stalls, and moving to a different one, does not always serve my clients well.
The walking into a far analogy also breaks down.
Consider it a situation where I have to put on a biohazard suit or something and work in a different way.
I’m hoping to build up some skills, some coping skills in particular, to be able to don the biohazard suit and get things done more efficiently. In some cases, I’m hoping that coaching or these coping skills might enable me to see around corners beyond my blind spots.
I need to be able to see the bumps in the road from a greater distance so that I can dodge them, or surf around them.
So today, instead of yesterday, I’ll be kicking off this new work on myself.
I’m not walking into this work with a new vision plan. However, I do have a solid 6 month vision plan that I made 5 months ago. It has significantly helped me to achieve the things I have done during this time.
It has helped give me confidence. It has helped see me through anxiety and depression at times as well.
I can see what I need to do, where I need to go. I can give myself credit for the good things, I have done to get me there.
I can see the things I have not yet finished. I can see the things I have not done as well as I would have liked.
Case in Point
I wanted to write and publish 2 books these last six months.
That’s a big goal.
However, I have been working on one book since 2010.
I’ve been working on another since 2015.
I published neither of them.
However, I did write and publish a different book all together 3 months ago! (Goal half accomplished).
I wrote and published a children’s book. I did it as much to learn how the process worked as to check something off my list.
In doing so, I can better see the path forward to finishing my bigger, more important to me, other books.
So as I wrap this last month of my 6 month vision up, maybe I’ll get that 2nd book done.
If so, goal accomplished.
It could have been better, publishing both of my 2 important books. But if I can get 1 important book and a ‘practice’ book done, I’m still doing good!
We’ll see. 🙂
These are not expectations. These are goals.
And in the shorter term of this week or something, I’m simply hoping to keep myself healthy, avoid the flu, the viruses, the bugs, and more.
Maybe I will even get my 2018 goals ready, a 2018 vision board for the entire year would be even better!