Just Do The Footwork

9:03 AM Edit This 12 Comments »
Have you ever woken up and excitedly said to yourself, "Today could change my whole life!"
 
I haven't. After watching the dreams of my childhood blow up in smoke, one right after the other, I've built a credible pessimism into my psyche. I'm rarely optimistic that things will happen in the manner I choose. I tell myself not to get too excited about anything because I've learned that I don't manage disappointment well. I remember someone saying to me once while I was in treatment, "Don't you EVER think about the GOOD that could come of something instead of the BAD?" And I simply said, "No. There is no reason to." And whereas at the time, that was a statement full of attention seeking self pity, it is no longer. It's what I have fostered to protect myself from the vagaries of life. And I'm mostly okay with that.
 
I've never gone on a date and said, "He might really be The One." I've never gone into a job interview saying, "This would be the perfect thing for me." And I will never, ever assume that the people I love will ever wake to see a new day. I assume rather, that life is out to get me and I had better take cover and manage my expectations accordingly. I didn't wake up on December 29th, 2005 and think that within two hours, my life would be shattered and altered beyond my control. I didn't think that getting fired 8 months later would be life changing, but I'm glad today that it happened. I didn't wake up in my recovery mom's basement four months after THAT, excited to get locked away in treatment for 30 days, but that changed my life too. However, in what seems to be a dichotomous position, but is really not, I also have faith that The Universe will take care of me, no matter what happens. I may not always be happy, but I have always been provided for. Jason may have died, I may have lost my job and I may have been a horrible drunk, but I've managed to survive and today I am relatively content. I have to be. Apparently, I'm not going to die anytime soon like I wished for, for so long. And if I have to be alive, then I better make the best of it, right?
 
Some people say your attitude fosters what you get. That if you just WILL good things to happen, they will appear. I say that's a bunch of hoo ha. I've willed and wanted so many things in life that have never shown up that I've given up trying to order my own life to my wishful thinking. My motto for the year, "Just do the footwork." Is apt for all areas of my life. If I want something, then I have to do the footwork and leave the results up to The Universe. If I get what I want, great. If I don't, then I have to accept that and move on. So it rather surprised me today, when I pulled into my parking spot on this sunny and beautifully chilly fall morning and thought to myself, "Something might happen today that will change everything." And in a good way. Not in an ominous way. And then as I got out of the car and breathed in the crisp air, I walked the two blocks in to the building with a spring in my step and a smile on my face. And then I caught myself and said, "Good Lord, what are you THINKING? You're not like that. The thing that could change today might be a horrible tragedy, you idiot." And well - the spring was gone, but I had it for a minute there.
 
Suffice it to say that I am meeting with someone after work today that I am excited to talk to about some career opportunities. Not hugely excited, but curiously excited. It's my footwork for the day. And maybe it WILL change everything for the good, but I'm not going to count on it.

12 comments:

carrster said...

What's the saying? Every journey begins with a single step.

Go for it. Why not, right?

melissalion said...

I woke up early and ran today. I thought of you the whole way. It wasn't always good. More like WHY AM I DOING THIS, WHY DOESN'T K8 SLEEP LIKE A PRO? WHY DID SHE HAVE TO CHOOSE RUNNING?!?

And then it was okay. And I was doing the footwork.

Malaise Inc said...

It may be cliche, but there is the saying that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.

I have taken any number of corporate training classes, most of which were useless. The most useless were those that told you to have a 5 year career plan. I suppose it was helpful in the sense that you should be looking ahead and figuring out how to prepare yourself (what you call it? footwork?), but I never saw a 5 year plan that ever survived the first year.

The one thing I learned in those horrid courses is the idea of a circle of influence (which is the sum total of things you can control) and circle of concern (which is the sum total of things you worry about). The best thing you can do is decide essentially shrink your circle of concern such that it is the same size as your circle of influence. It has been a helpful construct for me to use when I get stressed. I can't control the world, I can only control how I react to it.

Shelley said...

Optimism...don't fight it!

Hope you have a good meeting today. :)

The Maiden Metallurgist said...

I don;t think you can will good things to happen, but I do think you can make your own luck by working hard, opening yourself up and putting yourself out there. If you never tell anyone what you want, how can the people who have it give it to you? If you don't know what you awnt how can you go after it. I don't believe you can will anyhting, but your attitude can completely alter how you go about getting what you want and making things happen.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

You may not see the changes in yourself, but I do. The slightest hint of optimism you felt today ... I bet it's been hidden under the surface for years. That excites me just as much as any potential opportunities coming your way!

Todd said...

dang kate, i liked this...i do love stories of triumph in the face of crap and stories of stick to it-vness...as posted on my blog (the jesse fuller bit), but i'm also learning to be grateful consistently and for the little things...i'm learning about 'life on Life's terms' (i capitalize the second time because it helps me to remember God).
i sure do wish you joy, serenity, more contentment, and stuff....
loved your excerpt below...

'but I've managed to survive and today I am relatively content. I have to be. Apparently, I'm not going to die anytime soon like I wished for, for so long. And if I have to be alive, then I better make the best of it, right?

Some people say your attitude fosters what you get. That if you just WILL good things to happen, they will appear. I say that's a bunch of hoo ha. I've willed and wanted so many things in life that have never shown up that I've given up trying to order my own life to my wishful thinking. My motto for the year, "Just do the footwork.'

Lemon Gloria said...

I think I expect good more than bad, but I don't believe in the willing things to happen. I believe that the footwork and the slogging through is a big piece of getting the things you want. I'm very hopeful for your meeting! And I like the spring in your step, if even briefly.

justme said...

i see your point of thinking that the mere thought of positive thought could make things good happen. i do. however, I think that if you were thinking all negative thoughts, you are not giving the positive a chance to come through.

keeping a positive, realistic attitude is KEY!

kilax said...

What are the career opportunities?! :)

I am the opposite. I always expect the best and have tried to train myself to expect the worse, but it's not going so well.

Although, I do agree that willing good things to happen does not make them happen. And crappy things happen to good people. Life is what it is.

kilax said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jen said...

You had it, even if it was for a minute, you had it. And that is progress. Every little bit counts.