Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The best of intentions . . .

"How few there are who have the courage enough to own their faults, or resolution enough to mend them." - Benjamin Franklin

I wrote my first (and only) blog post on December 27, 2012. It was full of wonderful intentions and resolutions. Oh the changes I was going to make! A New Year's Revolution I called it. Diet, exercise, a mindfulness towards my good health and positive attitude. I was excited to share that journey through my words with all who wanted to be a part of it. Now, more than two and a half years later, I read that post, and it brings a melancholy smile to my face. There is an innocence to it. As if I could accomplish all I wanted with such ease and be an inspiration to others while doing it. As it turns out, while I was writing of my "revolution", life was making other plans. Plans that would challenge me, hurt me, wear me out, and leave me feeling far from the goals I had set for myself on December 27, 2012.

"Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." - John Lennon

I overestimated my ability to own my faults and mend them. I underestimated the plans that life would be making for me.

Before I give the impression that this post is only gloom and doom, I did accomplish a couple of things since last I wrote. I QUIT SMOKING! It has been almost 13 months now. I quit cold turkey on June 25, 2014. I had tried to quit dozens of times prior and always failed. I am not sure what clicked for me this time. Maybe the fact that I was beginning to notice a chronic cough. I was beginning to feel it killing me. Maybe it was because I had become a pack a day smoker. That is a lot of money that could go to happier, healthier, more fun things. Maybe it was because I leaned on my corporate experience and kept daily metrics on how many cravings I had. It was motivating to watch that number decrease each day until I was strong enough not to keep track. Likely, it was a combination of all of these things, and good timing.

My craving "metric" the first five days of not smoking.

Good timing certainly helped me achieve my next accomplishment. In September 2014 I completed the course work for my MBA and was awarded my degree in December 2014. I started the program in October 2012, and I find it interesting that I did not mention it in my December 2012 blog post. I guess at that time I did not see education and growth as part of my "revolution". Now I see them as key elements, but I will come back to that later. I decided to start an MBA program after years of badgering, I mean encouragement, from a boss/mentor who had known me since I first started my career. My company had a tuition reimbursement program that would pay for about half of the program. It did seem a shame not to use it. I decided in July 2012 to start the two year program in the upcoming October. Sometime over the next year I found out my company was being sold and with that sale would go the tuition reimbursement program. I completed my coursework prior to the sale. I received the full money available for reimbursement, all the while thinking what good timing it was. Not only for the financial reimbursement, but also in preparation for wherever my career may go considering the sale and new owners. Good timing indeed.

So yes, I did achieve two very purposeful accomplishments since I committed to living purposefully. I am proud of them. I cling to them as I think of all the things that have I reacted to in the last two and a half years. The more mindful I have tried to be, the more anxious I have felt. The more purposeful I have tried to be, the more out of control things seemed to become. I am rethinking this idea of mindfulness, living purposefully, and what it really means to change. I don't think I have been doing it right. I don't think I have been doing it wrong. I am not sure I have been doing anything excepting maintaining. That is where the education and growth come in. I want to keep learning - about myself, life, love, and friendship. Through that learning I want to grow as a human being. That is how I will live purposefully. Perhaps I will share that journey, or perhaps I will write again in two and a half years.

"The changes in our life must come from the impossibility to live otherwise than according to the demands of our conscience not from our mental resolution to try a new form of life." - Leo Tolstoy

I do hope to keep regularly posting to this blog because the writing is cathartic, and I think others may relate to my experiences. I hope to hear from anyone who happens upon this blog or may even be following. There is strength in numbers, and growth in sharing.