Follow-Through…Finishing….Closing the Door

Sports have been a big part of my life as far back as i could remember – more watched than played, but still a big part.  For the middle part of my life, my dad was a baseball coach.  I remember when he would have camps for the little league kids during the summer and one of the fundamental lessons he would teach would be follow-through.  When you swing the bat to hit the ball, follow through.  When you catch the fly ball and throw it back, follow through.  When you’re trying to beat the throw to first, run through the bag (follow through).  The follow-through on the action is what adds the power to the action.  That is why a line drive off a major leaguer’s bat can break a guy’s neck!  It’s not about muscle strength or force.  Strong muscles and exerted force aren’t what allow golfers to drive balls “miles” down a fairway, it’s the follow-through.

Too bad we don’t get follow-through lessons in other things in our lives.  Or in other words lessons on how to finish.

I’m at the end of the pregnant phase of my life, and I’ve learned that I’m pretty terrible at finishing.  I have a stack of started crafts that prove my point.  I have rooms in my house that are 95% clean that add to the evidence.  Now, I’m not expecting my house to be “magazine worthy” clean – I live here, Ken lives here, we have a dog – I know better than to expect that level of clean.  But it’s the pile of opened mail that I know just needs to be sorted through (trash, act, or file).  Or the stack of fast food cups that sit on the counter beside the trash can that should have just gone in the trash can the first time they were handled.  Or the clothes that are laid over the chair that don’t get put up – since they’re not in the floor, they’re really not in the way (translation: I won’t fall over them on my way to the bathroom in the middle of the night).

And cleaning house isn’t the only place we’ve failed to learn the lesson of follow-through (it’s just the first example this nesting preggo things of).  People also fail to follow through with their money.  You say you’re going to get out of debt, you even pay off credit cards, but then what do you do?  Is the account still open?  Is it still attached to your SirShopsAlot account?  Is the card still in your wallet?  Well, you made the promise to yourself that you’d set a limit and make sure you budget enough money to pay it off each month so you don’t accrue interest, that’s enough right?  How’s that working for you (as Dr. Phil would say)?  And speaking of budgets – what does your budget look like?  Is it on paper?  Has everyone who has access to the money agreed to it and understands the consequences of not following it?  You might have a written budget plan and it’s even hanging on the fridge for everyone to see, but where is your money really going?

Yes, follow-through seems to falter in the areas of our life where self-discipline (and self-motivation) is required.  Cleaning, money, health, relationships – all require us to work.  But that’s not the only areas follow-through needs occur.  So many opportunities present themselves throughout our daily lives – they sometimes walk right up to us, look us in the eyes, and jump in our hands.  Opportunities for new relationships, new experiences – learning more, doing more, living life more, sometimes even earning more.  And what do we do with them?  The business card goes in that “black hole” pocket of the wallet; the napkin with the phone number ends up disintegrated in the washing machine; the email or text message goes unanswered.  I wonder what we’re all missing out on?

This blog itself has been a lesson to me on following through with things.  I started this blog on 8/9/12 in Evernote on my iPad.  Something interrupted me in the middle of typing it (I really don’t remember what – went to lunch….got a phone call… had to pee) and when I finally got another minute to work on it, my excuse for finishing it was “I lost my flow of thoughts”.  Thus, in Evernote and (in my psyche) it sat – until today.

When I think about the condition of my psyche, it makes me think of Alice in Wonderland.  Alice walks into this room – it’s a round room, with doors of all sizes encircling her.  How does she get out of this room?  Most of the doors are locked.  In the end, she has to eat the cake on the table that makes her shrink so she can fit through the unlocked door.  But what if all the doors were unlocked?  That’s how I believe my psyche works – just like Alice’s room of doors where I can go through any of the doors I choose, and as long as I don’t let the door close behind me, i can come back to my room of doors and pick a different door on a different day.  The problem is that nothing ever gets completed which leads to me frantically running from one unfinished task to another (and not truly finishing any of them thanks to this thing call entropy – aka the chaos that ensues when you’re not applying energy to the situation) and then leads to the walls of my room being so full of opened doors that there’s no room for anything new in my life, that finally results me being stressed, frustrated, unhappy, and unable to relax in my own house.  What kind of life is that – especially since we’ll have a new baby around?!

Step one: yesterday’s to-do list (just ask Ken or my MIL & FIL about it).  Step two: this blog. Time to close some psyche doors, finish some tasks, and follow through on some opportunities.

Wedding Week – Wednesday

Well, if I thought I worked hard yesterday, today was “hard work” times 25!

The big experiment for today was the backdrop for the ceremony. The stage is like 30 feet wide and to spread your wedding party out that far is a little ridiculous. So, Christa and mom brainstormed this backdrop to make a frame for the ceremony. First we had to make sure it was going to stand, then we had to decide what all was going to go on it. It was way easier and sturdier than we thought – SUCCESS!

We also got the aisle decorations up and the guestbook table decorated. Got the dance floor down and the lobby of the reception partly decorated.

Then to our surprise, the table linens arrived. So I learned how to dress a chair and tie s bow. You would think that a bow is a bow, but it’s not. And I got pretty good at tying bows, so much that I might start tying the sheets in my sleep (Ken better be careful)!

Had some more “who’s wedding is it anyway” moments.

I have to give mad props to my husband… 1) for knowing my breaking point and taking me to dinner and getting me ice cream 2) for keeping his mouth shut when he is told that his help isn’t good enough because he’s a man (and keeping me cool cuz them’s fightin’ words). 3) for staying way longer and helping with more tasks than what I originally promised 4) for recognizing how much I’ve grown in certain areas since we did all this for our own wedding

But a bonus from today: Dad, Ken, and I got our hair cut!  My bangs were out of control, and something had to be done our I might’ve missed the wedding!

I usually don’t work more than 12-hour shifts at my job, and just as a heads up, there’s a certain brain-deadness that comes over me when that 12th hour approaches. I had reached that point today at 4 pm – to me that proves I worked hard.

Engage-o-meter

I’ve discovered last week that I have an engage-o-meter.  It measures how much I am able to engage the people around me.

I usually work 8 to 12 hours a day.  During that time, I have to be super-engaged with everyone I talk to – customers, doctors, nurses, managers, etc.  If at anytime I let my exhaustion or frustration or stress come across in any of my encounters with people, it pretty much guarantees that particular encounter won’t end well.  And after 12 hours of engaging people (using my “gush” as one of my techs calls it), my engage-o-meter is running on empty.

What happens when my engage-o-meter gets empty?  I get introverted.

How do I refill my engage-o-meter?  Well, there are 3 ways that I have found.

1) Sleep

2) Stay introverted (for a long time)

3) Be engaged by others

Sleep doesn’t always give me a full re-charge.

The amount of time I would have to stay introverted would probably take up the rest of the day – which would then lead to sleep which would top it off to be ready for the next day.  And that may sound like a great plan – for people who like to be introverted.  I personally don’t like to be introverted.  It makes me feel uneasy.  Like after several hours of introversion, I start thinking that I’ve missed something and there’s no way to go back in time and take advantage of it and that opportunity probably isn’t going to come around again, so I’m just out of luck and I MISSED IT!  And I do understand that there are times when introversion is necessary, but not in excess – and to me, because of the way I’m wired, several hours seems excessive.  So, staying introverted isn’t an enjoyable option.

The third option is being engaged by others.  Because I’m not a natural introvert, I like this option and would like to utilize it more.  Those of you who work on teams with me may have already noticed my engage-o-meter being low (the evidence being me not talking much, not smiling much, not eye-contacting much).  But, on Wednesday nights, as WE team practice gets started and Ken or Anessa starts engaging the group in the plan for the night and the group starts engaging each other (including me), I can feel the refreshing of my engage-o-meter.  And on Thursday nights, the team engages in getting ready for class.  Then the teens come in and someone engages them and, even in their teenage way, they engage us back.  So as our plan for class is carried out, again, I feel refreshed.

But that’s just 2 days of the week, I usually work 4…5…6 days a week.  And each day, my engage-o-meter needs to be refilled.

I know I have some friends who are natural introverts – they work the opposite as me.  They have a “social meter” – and when socializing drains that meter, it means it’s time to go home – they are done socializing for the day.

I’m just wondering if there’s anyone out there like me?

Pictoblog: My Sista Gurl!

I’ve been thinking a lot about Christa lately since she’s in Africa.  So, I’ve been going back through some of my favorite pictures of us together.

We tried to form a band…

hat

I graduated… then she graduated…

GradFamily

Picture 042

Made a long-distance phone call…

talk to me

Wrote in the sand…

sand

We worked…rehearsal

We played…3D sis

We looked in a mirror…mirror

…and we decided that we actually liked each other!