What to talk about, what to talk about… where did I succeed this week? Where did I struggle? I don’t like the shapes and colors. I really don’t. But I suspect my dislike is mostly because I’m not good at it. I’m used to catching onto things quickly; I’m immensely adaptable and I learn as easily as I breathe; it’s a quality that’s stood me in good stead throughout my working career, as I moved from job to job – learning, building relationships and skill, creating a comfortable place for myself… and then growing bored and moving on to the next job, the next challenge, the next team. The only time I’ve needed more than a week to learn how to do what I was hired for was when I apprenticed as a spring winding technician. (I still miss spring winding. I probably always will. I was happier there than I’ve ever been at any other point in my varied job history, though my present job comes reasonably close. But driving an hour or more to get to work had gotten hard on the pocketbook, and staying with my brother in the cities during the week was hard on my hubby (and our cats). So I gave it up. And part of me has always regretted that.) T’any rate. I latch onto numbers, not shapes or colors. And although during a prior iteration of the course I was able to force myself to notice blue rectangles, that’s all they were. They didn’t mean anything.
Until this week. I was at work, setting up a run on the CNC (these days I machine plaques, letters, and signs in aluminum, bronze, brass, and some stainless steel), and I noticed the control panel. I mean, I look at them every day, multiple times a day; reading the information, the numbers on the display, interpreting them, making adjustments or assessing the condition of the metal or tools or coolant flow. But on five of the machines, the main screen on the control panel is segmented, the background colors of three of those segments – you guessed it – blue rectangles. Seeing that, and consciously noticing that not only is it a shade of blue, it’s rectangular, I suddenly realized I hadn’t said “Do it now” 25 times for the second time of the day.
I quickly rattled them off as I completed the setup and started the run, then went to the next machine. A tool needed changing, and I suddenly noticed that the cabinet we get the tools out of is a tall, free-standing rectangle bordered in blue. Within the display window, some of the tools have long and narrow blue casings; others are nestled snugly in blue envelopes a bit taller than they are wide. And I think, I need to set aside time to clean the upstairs bathrooms on Saturday. Which, you might guess, is my chore for the week. So why is it finally working this time around? Don’t know. Don’t really care. I just know that for the first time in six years, since my first time through the MKMMA, I’m linking properly instead of pretending to do it. And that’s pretty darned cool.
Oh my dear and precious gods, what was I thinking? I just changed schedules at work AGAIN so I’m already constantly tired, we’re slammed with orders so overtime is a regular occurrence, I have to put in consistent effort to getting new novelty products up for sale every single day, with Jerry still recovering from heart surgery I’m the only one keeping up on laundry and dishes and the finances, we have to get to Jerry’s cardio rehab sessions three days a week and that takes two and a half to three hours, and oh, crap, I have to make time to write a blog, WHERE ARE THE 30 HOURS MARK SAYS I’M SUPPOSED TO HAVE?!?I am crazy to think I could do this, why am I putting myself through it?!
Such was the racing of my brain on Thursday. And then an odd thing happened. From deep inside came a little voice saying, “Hold on a second. You did your morning reads, all three of them. You started moving through the last set of design uploads looking for errors, and corrected five of them. You created a new .csv to bulk upload and meet your daily goal of new designs. You read the Key. You made sure Jerry has an easy-to-reheat meal for his dinner when you’re at work, and you’re on schedule to leave at two and stop at the store to pick up salad for your work lunch. You’ve accomplished more than you think you have in the last two and a half hours.” But I didn’t finish reviewing the last design set for errors! I silently protest. I ran out of time because I had to de-prioritize that or I wouldn’t have gotten the Master key read or Jerry taken care of or the new file prepped so those designs could upload while I’m at work… “You don’t have to finish it all at once,” my inner voice reminded me. “You just need to do a little bit every day. It’ll be done in no time.” And you know, inner me was right. I had accomplished a lot in a short time. And there would be time on breaks to do my midday reads, plus almost two hours after work to reconcile a month’s worth of backloaded finances, get the sit in, and do my final reads of the night before falling into bed. So why the frantic rush? Because this is my pattern. Overwhelm myself with my to-do list until I feel justified in feeling angry and put upon, and then feel justified in doing nothing so that I can binge watch a favorite show because I have ‘no time to get anything done.’ But the truth is, there’s always time. Everyone has exactly the same number of hours, minutes, and seconds in the day, and we all fill that time, moment to moment. The only question is, what are we filling it with? Excuses and emotional justifications? Or little things, done consistently, that add up to big things over time? Time to break the pattern of rush-rush-rush-I can’t get anything done because I haven’t the time, and replace it with, I do a little bit on the important tasks every day, and over time, everything that needs to gets done.