Life is fleeting, a refrain we’ve heard time and time again. And it’s true. Hell, I’ve been alive 46 years and it barely feels like more than 20! Of course, I try to live life to its fullest as I slide through my fifth decade. I still play hockey, jump from airplanes, hike and backpack, and stay in fairly good physical shape. I push myself intellectually, staying abreast in my field of I/O psychology, teaching myself new foreign languages, and reading daily. And yet, occasionally life with throw you a curve that reemphasizes just how complacent or routine even the most adventurous life can become when we’ve turned on autopilot and are just going through the motions.
These past two have been more trying than I can remember in recent times. My dad was unexpectedly (isn’t it always?) diagnosed with brain cancer and underwent a craniotomy last month. In response, the family has rallied and demonstrated its strength in supporting him and each other. It’s really been an inspiring sight, in spite of the circumstances. And we know there will be plenty more trying times in the weeks and months ahead…such is the unfortunate path of glioblastoma. But we will persevere. We must.
It’s when life wallops us that we are given real choices. We can sink inward, wallowing in self-pity and sorrow, or we can build up our support network and develop skills around vulnerability and help seeking. We can bury ourselves in our work, or we can set it aside completely, neglecting our responsibilities to others in lieu of our own emotional needs. We can plod along in a haze of reflection and worry, or we can regroup and respond.
In reality, we can (and typically do) balance all of these to one extent or another. But doing so, and doing it successfully, takes deliberate attention and efforts. And it’s good to remind ourselves of the value to swinging back and forth along each pendulum, recognizing the importance of each alternative in its own time and place.
As an ISTP, I’m action-oriented, but reflective in dealing with life’s inevitable changes (and opportunities). I’m analytical and rational, but often at the expense of fully factoring in emotional reactions and responses of others. This plays into both how I process and deal with issues impacting me, but knowing my preference in this regard is also helpful in recognizing how my own strategies in life may not be the same as for those around me.
So, how does this all translate into the work world, my own professional life and how I move forward in the midst of this turmoil?
Well, for starters, the situations that have lambasted our family over the past several months are simply life, as unpleasant and unwanted as they may be. I recognize that we’re not unique in having to wrestle with this realities of life. But similarly, they provide an excellent chance to reflect and regroup, as a family and certainly individually.
For me, much of this involves ideas and possibilities of change. Personals that have lambasted our family over the past several months are simply life, as unpleasant and unwanted as they may be. I recognize that we’re not unique in having to wrestle with this realities of life. But similarly, they provide an excellent chance to reflect and regroup, as a family and certainly individually.
For me, much of this involves ideas and possibilities of change, personally and professionally. But I’ve always embraced change as a good thing, a necessary thing for growth. So, what changes are afoot? Well, I’m not entirely prepared to reveal all the intricacies of the possibilities at this point….soon enough, though. But I have spent much of the past several months thinking about where my career has come and where it’s heading. I’ve reflected on all the fantastic experiences and opportunities I’ve had professionally over the past 25 years, and there have been many! And I’ve pondered what the next phase will engender, realizing that in the fleeting moment that we call life, there’s precious little time to devote to pursuits in any area of our lives that lack meaning, purpose, and enrichment.
None of that is to imply that I haven’t always sought those three things in every position I’ve held, and in every hobby I’ve pursued. I have, to varying degrees. And whether the future entails continued focus on teaching and research, a return to the corporate world, a transition to non-profit work, more hiking, skydiving, and travel, or some combination of all of these, it will be meaningful. It will have purpose, both for myself and with a focus on service. And it will be personally enriching.
And change does not necessarily mean a drastic change of direction, but sometimes a mere tweaking of things in a way that promotes increased impact, enhanced meaning, and reflected resolve.
So, stay tuned for more announcements….I’ve got a number of ideas percolating and in development!