The picture above is of my daughter’s dogs, with two enormous bones we bought them when we visited in 2006. They looked a bit overwhelmed when they first saw the bones, but as I wrote in About Jean, they got to work and happily gnawed away. They’ve been my role models this past year. A lot has been going on, and I’ve been persistently gnawing away, enjoying the process…mostly, at least.
It’s been a year of adventure in two areas–joining the world of blogging and getting our leaky roof repaired. The bit about the roof may sound strange, but that’s the beauty of having stress management as a hobby, it can turn anything into an adventure. So, my two adventures:
I finally switched to broadband about a year ago. I hadn’t been interested in surfing the net before that, but I wanted to do some writing and it became clear that doing it online was the way to go. So I signed up for broadband, learned some HTML, found a good hosting service and started building this website. Once I got that up it was clear I needed to learn about blogging. So I jumped in, learned enough WordPress to get by and started figuring out what I wanted to write. I looked at other sites that grabbed my attention, joined in the conversations, and noticed where I agreed and where I disagreed. Those conversations plus Flickr pictures and incidents in my own life gave me topics to write about. After the first month or so I decided that posting once a week on each of my blogs was the right frequency. Having a definite schedule for publishing helped a lot when so much of the process was chaotic. And I approached my writing like a meditation practice…it didn’t matter how the sessions turned out, the important thing was I was doing it regularly.
What I Learned
Obviously I learned a lot about HTML and WordPress, and it was/is great practice being in over my head, staying calm, and making good choices about what to learn now and what to put off until later…if at all. It’s also good practice in striking a balance between the task-oriented business of writing a post with a deadline and becoming proficient in HTML, WordPress and the various software programs (and sometimes new hardware) I use. To me that learning comes best when I approach it with a curious, I-have-all-the-time-I-need attitude. It’s a matter of forgetting the rest of the world and having fun with it, playing with it because it’s fascinating and worth doing for its own sake…i.e., getting in the flow state. That overall purpose is more important than any one post.
The other challenging event of the year was the leak in our roof. We live in a top-floor apartment, in a building with a flat roof. And sometime in February we developed a leak in our dining area. Nothing could be done until all the snow and ice melted, so the manager gave us a big garbage pail to catch the drips. Eventually it got so bad that part of the sheet rock dissolved and started falling down.
After things had thawed out, they fixed the roof but noticed that our ceiling was sagging…not a good sign, it indicated a cracked beam. So they propped it up with a jack until they tore the ceiling out, found and replaced the beam, and rebuilt the ceiling. We weren’t back to normal until April.
It was an interesting exercise in stress management. We managed to keep our sense of humor, and we focused on more important things when we had no control over the process. The hardest part was when the workers started doing things that were structurally unsound…such as leaving one beam unsupported on one end and using the wrong size joist hangers so there was no lateral strength to the roof. Neither my husband nor I like to confront people, but we have a longer term interest in the apartment than the workers or even the owner, whose attitude tends to be “it will last longer than I will.” It was a challenge in diplomacy to see things from their perspective and encourage them to humor us without being critical or disrespectful.
What We Learned
We managed to turn it into a win-win situation by focusing on the outcome we wanted and by doing all we could to make it happen. It was important that we didn’t appear to be giving orders, bruising egos in the process. I cleaned up after the workers every day, we bought some good tarps to protect the rug and furniture, and we bought the new joist hangers they needed because they couldn’t find them in town. The net result is we have a structurally sound roof, are on great terms with our landlord, and have our home back. We also have more confidence and skill in handling tricky situations, which will no doubt be useful in the future.
When I look back at this past year I feel a warm glow, not so much from accomplishment as from having learned a lot. I want to learn more about HTML, WordPress, etc., but I’m no longer struggling with the mechanics of writing a blog. The coding is almost automatic now…it’s in my process memory. It’s not just information in my head, it’s in my fingers. I’ve also had plenty of chances to practice the Traits of Stress-Hardy, Resilient People and to integrate them more fully into my life.
All in all, 2007 was a great year. I have no desire to set new goals for 2008, I just want to keep plugging along doing what I’m doing. I find when I do that I don’t have to go looking for more adventure in my life. The adventure comes to me.
What about you? How do you feel about 2007? Has it worked for you? Do you want to make changes in 2008? Please share your thoughts and experience in the comments section.