Saturday, October 18, 2014

When in Doubt, Just Do Everything 6WS

For better or worse, this is how I've always been, though I'm being forced to narrow things down a bit as time goes on.  But there are so few things in life that are irrevocable, that it seems a pity to close off opportunities without even trying them.  

This means I've made some big mistakes, but in the end I've still been glad that even if the experience turned out to be negative, at least I knew how it turned out. Better than wondering what if. Some of the threads in the shawl of life are rough and bumpy.

A job I had long ago involved a lot of work with midlife women at crossroads in their personal and work lives, and they would be very surprised at the suggestion that they could just try several paths, instead of having to analyze and plan and get just the exactly right next step.  This is not what the books tell you.  But most of the books are written by academics who have little to no experience outside of academia.

You don't have to have all your ducks in a row!  they can be waddling all over the farmyard and it will still be okay. I often come across adult art students who want to know ahead of time how a process will come out, and they're a bit disappointed when I say, I don't know, just try it and find out!  And if it's different from their expectations, to deal with that and see what's good about it rather than lamenting the imagined work that didn't happen.

Years later people I worked with on job issues would come and tell me they'd actually followed my advice, to my amazement,  especially the bit about how you can't tell if you'll like a particular line of work until you've been in it a while. 

And they'd say, gosh that was great, I found I liked jobs I never thought I would.  Or they'd say well, I'm glad I had a Plan B, because that job I thought I'd love I just didn't.  But I knew it was okay and I could just try something else instead, no harm done.

Since we're the CEOs of our lives, it's a Good Thing TM Martha, now there's a person who's made mistakes and gone on, to have an exit strategy for any new venture, which might include a different adventure to get dear late Handsome Partner, a lifelong research chemist, used to ask me what I was going to be when I grew up. 

He'd seen me change direction completely in my work every few years, and always ready to change once I needed to move on. He imagined I was always in search of a lifelong job.  I explained that I was already grown up.  That this was how I was.  Life too short to just do one thing. It was fine.  And when he saw how I never lacked employment, which created new opportunities as I went,  in my whole life, he realized that this flexibility was actually a strength, not a lack of resolve!

Life's a banquet!


mittens said...

I admire that kind of flexibility in someone else, and apparently i do the same thing, although not quite as flamboyantly; along the way, like you, ive found talents that I never dreamed I had, and still use them, and am still exploring them.

It's wonderful to see the process you go through, and the documentation, and most importantly, the way you can utilize what works here as well as what doesn't to make something better there.

Life is a banquet, for sure: and my own mantra is, "life is too short. Eat dessert instead."

Quinn said...

Every now and then someone has asked me "when are you going to grow up?" Not because I have been dependent on them (or anyone else); I've supported myself since I was 17.
It's such an odd question, isn't it? By "growing up" do they mean "stop growing"? When I'm not growing anymore, it will be because I am dead. That's just biology.
If they mean, "Why doesn't your life look more like my life, which is a more valid life?" it seems to me a phenomenally rude thing to say out loud.

Magpie's Mumblings said...

My ducks have done a lot of farmyard waddling over the years, particularly in my creativity. Moving into the apartment and having to compress my interests into a much smaller square footage has made me focus much more on what is important to me. Those wayward ducks still take the odd small tour, but for the most part they are well behaved now.

Ash said...

I love this post. It spoke me deeply. Planning is all well and good but things happen how they will and your input in the outcome is sometimes very minimal. Life is definitely about shifting with the tide and just to keep paddling your canoe as best you can.