Right now, in this moment, this guy makes a whole lot of sense to me:
A second can be so very amazing, but like he said, it can also encompass pure failure. When boiling down to just a second, magic of appreciation happens in both success and failure. I like that. I like knowing that if I recorded one second of my life daily, I would have this beautiful story, full of imperfections that I would totally be into. That’s my kind of number.
Really, though, I’ve had such an awful affair with numbers. It goes something like this:
You hated math class. When the teacher wasn’t looking, you’d proceed with your complete focus for digging holes in your math pages with your dull pencil, and quietly ripping the pages as well. This dedication to the destruction of your math book gave you relief because in your mind, with the torture that the subject brought to your daily life, it owed you at least the satisfaction of destroying its literature. The very clear reality was that you didn’t get the language of math. People would try to help, but this was a foreign language that just didn’t trigger any real clarity in your world. Words were so much better. You’d be the class clown to avoid math and you’d spend more time in the halls than in class because the way you saw it, all you needed to know was basic computation, and a bit on statistics. In the end, you were right.
Later, numbers became your enemy of sorts because while you didn’t get them, you were intrigued by their perfection. Math, in your mind, was a perfect language, and so when dealing with them, you needed to be perfect as well. Balancing a checkbook turned into a bit of torture because you couldn’t understand where the nickel went. Of course, human error can mess up any language, but in your mind, you were bound and determined to find that nickel. Later, you realized that if perfection had to be tied to balancing a checkbook, you would just do the opposite: never balance it. The thought of not balancing your checkbook, at first, seemed irresponsible, but you realized that it was a perfect solution for someone who hated numbers, yet was obsessed with trying to conquer them. It only took one month and you knew you had spent years trying to balance a checkbook for nothing. All that time wasted on numbers made you sick, and you began to behave the exact opposite when it came to finances.
When running through a career in education, you were also tied to numbers. Yes, results, but also time. Each minute matters. Each break is calculated. Each session of testing is timed. Your observations are limited. Unfortunately, almost everything that has to do with education is time bound, and so, you begin to not wear watches or have anything other than your oven and phone indicating the time. Even with mobile phones, you were the last of your group to purchase one. The link to time was only required of you inside the building. Once you stepped out into your other life, time became obsolete, unless of course, we are talking about punctuality. You love being punctual, but to this day, you hate watches.
Later in life, you did discover peace with numbers in one area, and that would be fitness. Numbers when it came to your fitness and recreation became peaceful for you. In that area, to this day, numbers feel good, even if they suck.
As Kurt Vonnegut would say, “so it goes.”
20 Mile March:
When I turned 41, I posted about my goals. I don’t do resolutions nor that word. For me, it’s just regret. It’s not that I don’t have regrets because I do. I have some pretty large ones in fact and deeply, I believe that most of us do, but greatness doesn’t come from dwelling on them or trying to make up for them. Goals though, goals are full of intention. Will. Desire. Get after the grit!
Overall, I did a darn good job last year with my goals. I replaced picking up singing again with trying to learn the mandolin. I’m not sure what that means, but I’ll take it. I switched jobs. I experienced firsts and generally, did more of what makes me happy.
But tonight, on the eve of my 42nd birthday, I’m not sure what my endeavors might be. I have a couple of ideas, but nothing shocking.
In Great by Choice by Jim Collins (incidentally, I’m reading this for professional development for the educational company I work for), he speaks of the 20 Mile March. In his research, he found that successful companies are those that stay on course with their 20 mile march, no matter the environment. So, if you set a course or a vision, you stick to it. You don’t go any faster than it, and you try real hard not to go slower. In times of turbulence, you maintain. In times of prosperity, you still just maintain your course. You don’t move or create faster because it’s going well; instead, you just meet your mark. Steadily. This builds a manageable pace over the long term that companies can continue to manage, regardless of their environments. The best part about this research is that it isn’t just tied to numbers. It’s tied to whatever you want your 20 mile march to be: a creative march, a learning march…..whatever is your stretch goal. I think that makes a whole lot of sense, but it is also pretty terrifying.
While I believe in this research down to my bones, when I think about my own 20 Mile March, it is so scary. Damn numbers. If it has to last that long, then it must be my career and I’m pretty sure it looks like this:
Thus far, my career has followed the 20 Mile March rules without me even knowing it, and while I won’t go over all of the required characteristics here, the overall principle is to be slow and steady.
Slow and steady. I so like being that.
2nd Gray Hair:
Because I was just talking about the 1st one I found with all of my family last week, I guess I deserve finding my 2nd one today. Part of me has been hunting for them, on a search for that sign that will make it harder to hide my age. Part of me wants more? Say what? Sometimes when I’m waiting in a line or have some other tedious moment in life where I am forced to slow down, I notice women with gray hair, beautiful women. Both my mother and my stepmother have gorgeous gray hair. I see how it glows, and in a sense, makes them glow more too. I praise older women more and more because lately, they are just letting it all hang out.
I hope mine will look like this:
and that I own my elderly sexiness like Helen Mirren does:
Either way, that third gray hair is coming.
Being 42 in 2014:
When it comes down to it, my endeavors for this year align with Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs:
I use to use this chart when I was an assistant principal because 95% of the cases that came to my office were due to the lack of the bottom of this pyramid. People don’t consider the impact that lifestyle has on the rest of their lives. Not only does it encapsulate what travel is about for me, it also pretty much sums up what life is about for me. It’s what I tend to write about often: Self-Actualization. What I want to focus on is pretty simple really:
1. I and you, all of us, need to do things that bring us more self-actualization. It’s better for us, our communities, and our world.
2. For one specific thing, I would like to reach my 4th continent this year. I’m trying to get to them all at least once!
Numbers aren’t really my thing, but when I review this list, I know that I’m into turning 42, even though it still shocks me. I actually like having 2 gray hairs even though my personality might not be ready for a 3rd. I’m digging the concept of the 20 mile march even though mine scares me. After all, these numbers suggest fears and challenges and that is how we grow. I want 2014 to be full of great 1 second moments and me striving for more self-actualization.
These are all numbers that are working for me right now and I’m thankful for that.
I hope that you also have numbers that are working for you! Thanks for stopping by!