So, I had a thing. A thing I didn’t want to do, but kept being told, “Ya gotta do this.” At some point I came to agreement with my advisors and I did it. So, it’s turned out fabulous, but my question today is, was it really something I needed to do earlier? Or is it working out because I was ready to do it? Because the timing was right?
I’ve decided that the thing is not the thing.
Now I have a new thing. It’s in the realm of “cutting losses,” which is something my personality rebels against. Just like before, the smarty pants people in my life are like, “you have to do this, you will suffer if you don’t.” But what if it’s like the other thing, and it’s a wise idea and I will do it but not until I’m ready to agree that I need to do it? Huh.
This round robin in my brain is what gave me the idea that the thing is not the thing. Why I’m not explaining my circumstances in this blog. Because it’s what’s underneath that counts. The “why” of my rebellion against the wisdom of cutting losses.
I was reminded of this when my friend Jeff posted a photo of an old truck he restored. Excuse me, a 1969 Chevy! I used it as the cover photo. It looks brand spanking new and I am in awe of that work. You see I love restoration, redemption, rehabilitation, recovery… Taking something old and making it new again totally turns me on. Having a bad lens in your eye and replacing it with a new one. Being stuck in a jam and finding a way out. Ha, my son is just like me. We were at the Restore buying an old door to fix up and we were in the parking lot for about a half hour getting that door in my little car. We just both knew if we thought long enough we could make it work without banging our heads on it or blocking the gear shift – which is how it was at first. We were psyched when we drove away with that thing.
So, my new thing. It’s just a thing. But underlying the thing, is my desire to see it come alive again. A desire to complete an unfinished work. A memory of the hopes I had for it. Not to mention the work already done and finances previously invested. All that is what I will have to cut. It’s not the thing. Now, the odds are not in my favor. Because unlike people, some things can’t be fixed. Probably Jeff passed over a few trucks before deciding on which one to restore, right? So, looking under the hood of the thing to what drives me, has helped me see that it’s ok to not want to cut my losses, but I may have to. And it’s okay that I won’t always come to the right conclusions on what to toss and what to keep. Because what makes me come alive is the attempt. The challenge. The impracticality. The possibility.
I was thinking about this in the area of personality. There are a thousand ways to categorize them but the major point to learn is that when we lean a certain way, we will have certain weaknesses. On the Big Five personality test, (https://www.123test.com/big-five-personality-theory/) I score high in openness. Yay me. No, not yay me, it’s just who I was born to be and there is never a reason to add value judgements to personalities. No one is better or worse than the other. The model is useful in recognizing our different strengths and different weaknesses, based on personality. So, for someone who is open, if you live the way your nature wants you to live, you will get hurt. Your trust will be betrayed. But should I alter who I am for every Dick and Harry just because some will be more dick than hairy? Ha, I think I’m funny but that counts for women as well. And sure, there is wisdom in learning how to channel our personalities near deep waters instead of shallow pools. But a person with a more practical personality would balk at me. Like, “No, you need to be more careful, you need to edit yourself, you need to…” Yeah, well, whatever.
I disagree, I need to accept the reality that to live my life to the fullest I will get hurt. Period. I will pick the wrong thing at times and pay the piper. I will pick the wrong people at times and face the betrayal. And wrestling with the challenge of what thing to accept or reject, is all a part of living. Not existing, but really living. Only shame and perfectionism will keep me from being able to make a decision and know full well ahead of time that it could be the wrong one. So I will listen to my friends and family and trusted advisors but in the end I will make a decision. I hope it will go well, but there really is no way to guarantee outcomes. There are always factors impossible to see in the present.
The thing is not the thing. And if you ever do a thing and then lament, weep, wail and mourn because the outcome wasn’t what you wanted, that’s cool for a little while. Because “Hope deferred makes the heart sick…,” as I like to quote. But Hope is one of those things that can always be found again. There isn’t a limited supply in the universe that gets all used up if we depend on it too much. And to my friends in the restoration business; of hearts, minds, bodies, and cool stuff, I see you and I understand what you are trying to do. Keep doing it even when you suffer those losses that will come.
“…it is a characteristic of the American culture that, again and again, one is commanded and ordered to ‘be happy.’ But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to ‘be happy.’ Once the reason is found, however, one becomes happy automatically. As we see, a human being is not one in pursuit of happiness but rather in search of a reason to be happy, last but not least, through actualizing the potential meaning inherent and dormant in a given situation.”
Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning