Guided

A belated Happy New Year to everyone. What is it about the end of one year and the beginning of a new year that makes us reflective, whether we want to be or not?

That’s where I’ve been lately..reflecting. On where I’ve been, on where I am, on where I’m going. My mind has slowly flipped through an inventory of my life, thinking about each of the remaining relationships in my life, on my job, on my health, on my marriage, on my belongings. I’ve thought about changes I’d like to make, and changes I need to make. While I am not a religious or spiritual man by any stretch of the imagination, I am guided by a version of the serenity prayer/meditation:

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
courage to change the things I can,
and wisdom to know the difference

  1. Accept the things I cannot change.

    My health. While I do have some influence over my health by taking medications, the exercise I get, they way I eat, and the rest I get, I am mostly at the mercy of what my body will and can do. In one respect, I am healthier than I have been in a long time. But it came with a price, and that price can be daunting some days. I have anxiety about where I go and what I do, lest I have a “malfunction” and all hell breaks loose. I had my first experience of that in a restaurant on New Year’s Eve when, mid-dinner, I had to make a quick exit to the bathroom, where I spent 20 minutes doing a “quick change” and damage control to get through the rest of dinner. I did it, but it shook me quite a bit and has now made me even more hesitant to go out and about. Living with an ostomy is a huge adjustment and I’m afraid it’s going to take me quite some time before it begins to feel “normal” in any way to me. I’ll get there because, well… I have to.

    My job. I don’t like it and I count the days until I can retire. I know some would argue that I have the freedom to leave my job anytime, but I would argue that’s not true. Yes, I could technically leave it, but I would lose 25.5 years of invested time and effort that will pay off big time in 4.5 years, the ability to retire at 55, amazing health benefits (which I desperately need), union protection and schedule flexibility that allows me to have the surgeries and get the medical attention I need without fear of losing my job. I would only be happy a short time after quitting before being overwhelmed by the daunting task of trying to find a new job that offers me similar salary and benefits, with my health issues, in the middle of a Pandemic. I committed to this career track a long time ago, and it’s too late to turn back now. So I do the best I can to find value in my work and new ways to challenge and interest myself at work until the day I can say “so long” to it.
  2. Courage to change the things I can.

    I can research new products and techniques that will allow me to feel more secure with my ostomy so I don’t have to be afraid to leave the house. I can choose to see it as a challenge to overcome, and not a trap I am limited by.

    I can spend more of my time outside of work doing the things I love, to help balance and recharge me. I can indulge my creative side to create, color, and craft things. I can spend more time reading books I love or want to read and playing my trombone. I can get back to cooking, something I learned to love in the past year or two.

    I can exercise more, for both the physical and mental benefits. I am fortunate to have exercise equipment and a place to keep (and use) it so I have safe, easy, and convenient access to exercise any time, day or night, regardless of weather or pandemic.
  3. Wisdom to know the difference.

    I do believe I have this (usually) but I could use this skill more when feeling guilt over things I can’t change, shame over health issues I can’t control, or frustration that so many people (whom I have no control over) make choices that harm others.

    Do you use any specific guidance to navigate your life and choices?

16 thoughts on “Guided

  1. I got quite excited when you mentioned a possible internal transfer at your organization. That did not work out, but I hope that a similar opportunity comes up again sometime, so that you can keep the benefits of your job but serve the rest of your sentence under better conditions.

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  2. Happy New Year! If I were you, I’d prepare to retire at 55 and then find a part time job to fill the time if you need it. Assuming that will also allow you to enjoy those benefits you’ve earned.

    In the meantime, I hope you can get an internal transfer to keep things interesting.

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  3. You are just fine the way you are, we are all part of the human condition, nothing to be embarrassed by. I try to make the best I can of what I have to work with. I try to find the good in others. I focus on how I respond to what happens, I can’t change what the world throws at me, but I can change how I let it effect me. If I let it get to me, it will. Technically I am down to about 17 months until I can retire, more likely 23 months.

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    • We think alike. I am so envious of your much shorter time to retirement, but I know you’ve been working longer and have earned it. And I know many people are jealous that I’m looking at retirement and 4.5 years. I just hope it goes by fast.

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