Some of you have probably been lying awake at night wondering what a conversation over coffee with a customer, a scene from the movie “Pretty in Pink”, and putting away the Christmas decorations all have to do with helping you set your New Year’s goals…
…wait…really???? No way! That’s so crazy weird because I have been lying awake over this VERY SAME THING!!!
If you are still reading, you are clearly one of those people who simply can’t look away when you see a nasty car wreck or when you witness an obviously crazy person walking down the street, in a snow storm, with his coat unbuttoned and flapping all around, happily singing opera with a grin on his schizophrenic face. You are curious (in a caring kind of way), just nutto enough to recognize a REAL nutcase when you see one, and probably someone who needs to have closure, so I will try (despite this minor digression about YOU) to be respectful of that…in a meandering kind of way.
Here’s the thing: I continue to be in awe over the comforting knowledge that when I am wrestling with an issue, an idea or a problem, the universe, without fail, presents answers to me, though usually through unconventional routes…which is completely delightful once I decide to pay attention.
You see it was really bugging me that almost two weeks into January I still had not come up with any New Year’s goals. That’s just unheard of in H World. It felt like the year was passing nonchalantly by, completely indifferent to me and my person because I had not put in writing how 2014 was gonna go down, thereby seizing the comforting illusion of control over the possibilities. The blank slate was threatening to ruin my normal New Year’s giddy joy because I had not narrowed, reigned and harnessed the potential opportunities.
I think I simply got pulled into the “doing” before I had a chance to define what I wanted the doing to BE and what the doing was going to DO for me, that sounds so goofy, even to me, but really! It was beginning to feel like free-falling without a parachute to a control freak like myself, though I understand (mostly) that the lack of clearly set, specific goals is completely acceptable for lots of highly successful people…especially those ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ kinds.
Take for instance the customer I met with early one morning last week at a coffee shop. He is one of my favorite people in the industry I am in: hard working, ethical, passionate, humorous, and very successful, the kind of business owner (and person) I truly appreciate being associated with. I asked him how he felt about the previous year’s growth (it had been substantial for both of us) and if he would be willing to share with me any goals he had in place to further the vision of his company. His response has given me serious cause for pause in my normal thinking. He said, (in a nutshell) that he was not a real fan of goal setting. (I know: gasp!) He felt that goals, whether they are business, sports minded or personal, put too much emphasis on the finish line. He said he was more interested in the day in day out nuts and bolts of his business and felt if if he kept his focus on the details that were important to him, his success would continue and his vision would unfold how it needed to and not be in any way limited; he described a few details of this vision to me with such passion and light in his eyes that he clearly is going to enjoy all the wonderful details of his success as it unfolds. And this is good. See?
One day later, the movie “Pretty in Pink” aired on television. My daughter was watching it for the first time, completely disgusted by the fact that anyone would let economic status interfere with love, which is the premise of the movie. I nodded in distracted agreement. I’d seen the movie at least ten times but this time I zeroed in on something different. Andie (Molly Ringwald) was sitting in her room having a very intense conversation with her chronically unemployed dad. She is a smart, thoughtful girl, wise beyond her years and very, very interesting. For the first time, I really noticed her room which was a signature of who she was. It contained all kinds of lovely items: fresh flowers, beautiful pictures, eclectic bits and pieces of the world placed lovingly throughout her sanctuary. She could have gone along with the physical perception of her economic situation and led a dull, dry, dreary life. Instead she mapped out who she was with every intricate detail, celebrating her journey with absolute delight. SEE?
Fast forward two days later to the moment when I finally decided it was time to take down the Christmas decorations, which is a pink job in our family (and therefore my job, as opposed to blue jobs which are my husband’s). It is customary for me to shove Christmas out the door on the 26th of December, like the Grinch, getting it over with and moving on stoically, with gritted teeth despite wanting to sob my eyes out over the fact that another Christmas had come and gone at the speed of light. But for some unknown reason I dawdled this year. I plugged the tree lights in every night after Christmas, enjoying how pretty our twenty three year old artificial tree still looked. I did not feel the least bit bugged by the clutter brought on by the excessively growing singing snowman collection we have acquired over the years (except when one of the little boys would get them all playing at once…that’s just not okay…and they know this…but do it anyway, the obnoxious stinks). And I ignored the hecklers in the family who wondered if we were going to hang red hearts on the tree come Feburary 14th.
And when the time finally felt right to get the deed done, ironically on one of the gloomiest days of the year (fog and darkness had come across the vast land known as Spokane) I geared myself up for the usual psycho bitch fest that causes even the cat to cringe, but strangely it did not come, which is potentially a sign that I might be maturing (not in an old lady way-that’s RUDE of you to think I am turning into an old lady! WOW! I meant in a Zen kind of holy way, jeez!)…
…which brings me to the two boxes of Thomas Pacconi glass ornaments that my grandmother gave to me long ago which came with a Certificate of Authenticity and a detailed chart that shows where each and every ornament is to be put away in egg crate foam insulated wooden boxes. These ornaments are beautiful but very fragile and it has only been in the last few years that we have been able put them on the tree again…due to the “destructo little kid years”. Plus, the time it takes to put them away (the ornaments NOT the children) has in the past been a giganticus pain in the ass…you can’t just huck these puppies into a box and shove them in them in the closet…you have to sit yourself down and pay attention to the pictures on the diagram, otherwise they don’t fit. It’s like putting a puzzle together.
But this year…as I was slowly and methodically putting these beautiful ornaments in their assigned little nests…appreciating the lovely detail and uniqueness of each intricately made piece…I found myself saying peacefully goodbye to Christmas. I actually had this epiphanic (another H Street Word) moment where I spoke to my grandma: “Oh grandma! I get it now! It’s about taking delight in the details of the journey, of savoring every little last piece and treating it with great respect and care!” See? Do you see!?
These three seemingly isolated “events” all whispered the same thing in my ear: slow down and enjoy the details in the doing and the year will be joyfully successful. Now I am not saying I don’t still have goals in mind: it’s important to reach my sales budget; it will be great to not be so uncomfortable in my jeans; I will need to sit my ass down and write if I want to be a writer.
I pretty much just totally went against this entire Zen theme here because I think I finally just figured out my 2014 goals, ha! I know it had to be done, even at risk of publicly looking a bit hypocritical…it’s just how I roll…
…but seriously, the deal is, I think I’m simply not going to focus SO much on the end results. The world is probably not going to end if I succumb to ding-dongs and have to buy bigger pants. But maybe if I savor the taste of just ONE ding-dong…versus face in the whole box, not looking up from the trough, except to pick the foil out of my teeth…ummm…so you know I have NEVER actually DONE that…I am being metaphoric…mostly…my point being SAVOR don’t DEVOUR the details in the doing and the journey to “where ever” will be a hell of a lot more fun…and comfortable. See?