On… Reflection

Hello, thanks for coming back.

lofty heights of disgrace

You last saw me feeling thoroughly sorry for myself, and berating myself as a failure and a worthless human being. If you recall, it was because I had not been able to clear, board and insulate our loft to a standard that I was happy with.

Looking back to how I felt, how I wrote, and how I tweeted on Sunday, I feel, quite frankly, embarrassed. Embarrassed that I allowed my emotions and my inner rage to consume me so completely.

cloud-cuckoo-land

This can be done in a weekend with £50 of chipboard, right?

I had, it is clear, set myself an impossible standard. With the time, budget and experience available to me, there is no way on earth I could have ended up with a finish that matched my mental (in all senses of the word!) projection.

I imagined a perfectly fitted loft-board floor. Insulation board that would tile flawlessly around the rafters. I imagined a space that I would be so proud of, visitors would be hauled upstairs to inspect the attic as soon as they rang my doorbell.

In short, I imagined something along the lines of small-scale loft conversion, just for storing my toolbox, a tent and some old tennis racquets.

down to earth

I slept badly on Sunday night, and woke early, early enough to be in the office well before 7am. It was Monday morning when my mindset began to change.

I reviewed the work that I had done the previous week, and actually, my designs for a partner organisation were pretty good. My draft proposals for developing User Interface standards and implementing Design Patterns are actually sound and will deliver real value to the business. Work began to suck less than it had when I’d finished on Friday.

On Monday, I was also able to help one of my very best friends who was having a tough day. Readers of this blog will know that I write at length about the value I bring to my friends, the worry that I only take and give nothing in return. Now, I’m not feeling fulfilled or glad that my friend was feeling sad and frustrated – I’m not some sick monster who takes pleasure in and validates themselves by someone else’s pain. But, I felt a sense of calm and detachment from my own trivial worries as I was able to focus on something far more important. Namely, the well-being of someone I care about.

Tuesday, and a day’s leave to see my Grandfather, who I’ve not seen since January when I attended the funeral of my Grandmother. Not the nicest of circumstances for a reunion, so I was really pleased to be able to spend time with him yesterday. He looked really, really well. I believe the term ‘rude health’ was invented to describe how active, alert, fit and strong that my Grandfather looked. At 84 years old, he is a real inspiration.

Oh, and I cleaned the house. Proper, thorough clean from 8am-2pm. I love cleaning and tidying, and I love even more doing it to a deadline – the pressure is a real boost to me getting my cleaning “freak on”!

the only way is up

Today, I am struck by the benefit and fresh viewpoint that both distance and other events can bring.

Things I have learnt (I feel a list coming on, make some space):

  • I’m never going to make a business out of converting lofts. So what? I don’t really want to spend the rest of my days crawling around in attics, breathing in fibreglass and being coated in thick black cobwebs and spiders’ eggs.
  • Things go wrong at work:
    • Sometimes it’s your fault, and you try to fix it.
    • Sometimes it’s someone else’s fault, and you hope they do same.
    • Sometimes you work together.
    • Sometimes you have disagreements and are unable to forge a common path.
  • The fact is, you put a bunch of people together with their own skills and abilities, their own goals and aims, fears and wishes – and you create an environment for error. You gotta just accept that it’s not perfect, and move on.
  • That’s not to say that we shouldn’t continue to work towards perfection, but if the environment is such that perfection is unattainable, don’t be surprised if you don’t achieve it.
  • Sometimes, good enough is pretty damn fine.

But the most important thing the last few days have taught me is simply this:

  • Love, family and friendship.
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5 responses to this post.

  1. Hurray for the joy of “good enough”!

    I am proud of you grasshopper 😉

    Reply

    • Thank you. I’m not gonna say that I’m fixed, or I’m never gonna have another black mood. But, perspective, time and reasons to be cheerful are really useful tools in the battle against myself!

      🙂

      Reply

  2. Posted by Captain caveman on May 12th 2010 at 6:46 pm

    In the words of Bill Bailey: when people ask if you are an optimist? simply nod, smile and reply “I HOPE SO!”

    Reply

  3. Very proud of you.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Captain caveman on May 13th 2010 at 7:04 pm

    The boy done good innit!

    Reply

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