Life Doesn't Fit in a Box

tiny intro - Alright - this one is for my friend Mo, and it is also according to the math in the sidebar the 100th post on The Life of Jimmer. My friend Cammie got more than 100 comments on her 100th post. I don't see that happening here. Perhaps you'd like to prove me wrong. (Wouldn't be the first time.)

I've been working on a project at work that has been kind of an "on the fly, seat of our pants type of operation." It had to be that way. We saw a need. It had to be filled. The moment had to be seized and such. The iron was hot. (Insert your cliche here.)

In other words, we didn't go through all the normal planning and testing and piloting and on and on and on that is so much a part of "the process."

I'm okay with that. This one didn't fit in a box. It had to be malleable. We needed to be able to adjust on the fly.

You know - a lot like life.

Many folks are finding out this year that even the best laid plans are subject to failure. Jobs are being lost. Debts are being incurred. Mortgages are being foreclosed and on and on...

And a lot of people feel like failures for no justifiable reason other than circumstance. A friend who is being "laid-off" said to me just a couple weeks ago that he was becoming very depressed over the whole situation, primarily because he was not going to be the main provider for his family for the first time in 20 years.

What do you say to that? He hadn't done anything wrong. He went to work everyday, paid his bills on time, was a good husband and father -- all the right things, all the "supposed to" things, and yet here he was planning for a future he knows nothing about, trying to remake himself at the age of 38.

I've spent a lot of the last year kicking myself for not having done some things, not making changes, not planning better, not being better with money, (Oy vey money), not being a better Daddy and on and on.

I've taken a lot of inventory as I turned 40, but not because of the number so much as because I realized that a great deal of my life had become so focused, too focused on the negative.

I feel like I've made a lot of progress and turned a lot of things around. But up until a couple of months ago there were still some things I couldn't let go of.

One April evening out of nowhere it hit me. Just like that project doesn't fit in a box, neither does life. There are just too many variables, too many unknowns, too many adjustments to be made, and too many answers we just don't see.

We can play by all the rules and "they" can change them in a second.

It was like a cloud lifted as I sat in my office and decided that I needed to live life forward instead of spending so much time looking back.

We don't have any control over the past. It's done. It's gone. It's over. If we made mistakes we can only learn from them and hope to do better next time. If we make a bad decision we can't be afraid to make a decision the next time for fear we might be wrong again. The fear of the unknown, paralysis by analysis as they say.

I know that some of this is "so obvious." What can I say? Sometimes I'm not the sharpest tack on the bulletin board.

As I talked to my friend that day and wondered what to say, I decided that the best thing I could do for him was to be a good listener, a shoulder to lean on, a sounding board for ideas. I decided that the best thing I could say to him was the same thing I had said to myself just a few weeks before.

Sometimes the answer is you just have to be nice and give yourself a break.


Kathy Hennessy said...

Ok Jimmy - it's truly not big news, but I think it's worth reminding people. We get so caught up in the "what-ifs" and "might-have-beens" and "should-haves" and "screwed-overs" and ...well...I could go on and on...we get caught up in those and end up missing out on the stuff we should be directing our energy and focus. Stuff comes and goes, but your kids only have one childhood, one father, one mother, one first word/step/kiss/drive...and your wife only has one husband. We only have one shot at right now, and when it's gone, when we waste it worrying over the past or future, or over-planning for the present, or regretting, we've lost it forever.

Whew. Can you tell I've been wasting a lot of my life lately? 'Sgotta stop!

Jim Brochowski said...

Right on Butch! I'm glad you chimed in. We only get to do this once.

Thanks for reminding us. I hope you get it stopped. Let me know if there is anything I can do. :-)

Love you!

Maureen said...

This post is so right on--it seems like we can all benefit from this type of lesson from time to time! We should call it the George Bailey rule...

And at the risk of getting too personal, I think the fact that you take the time to reflect on whether or not you've been a "good" fill-in-the-blank proves that you are.

Jim Brochowski said...

Love the George Bailey rule Mo. Perfect!

Not too personal at all. Thank you for the smile that put on my face.

Glad you liked the post. Thanks for encouraging me to write it.

Anonymous said...

Great post! Congratulations on your 100th post - looking forward to the next 100!

Jim Brochowski said...

Hello there Dr Lori,

Thanks for stopping by and for the props both on the post and on 100.

Was waiting for someone to say something...

Means a lot!

Thank you