Saturday, February 29, 2020

The up and downside of positivity

For the end of the month of positivity, I thought I’d share my own set backs, first.

I’ve always thought of myself a lightweight. Certainly that term can be dersive, leveled at someone with less than and not enough of whatever qualities as being valued. But, for me, it’s a certain type of lightness. I am a flitter, in and out of conversations, in and out of organizations. Once many years ago, my boss noted in a speech that I always have a broad smile on my face. I’m glad to be known that way.

Like all people, my insides broil and burble with the stresses of life. We all have things, as my boss said recently. We all have parents and friends. Some of us have children. We all hope and dreams. We all have boundaries on our times and our abilities. We all feel less sometimes.

The last few weeks have been particularly trying for me at work, in that a key person left, and in the interim, I found myself drowning in emails. I could feel the cracks in my exterior as they happened. I could feel the light in my eyes flicker, if not dim slightly. Personal things only make the cracks feel like deep fissures. The aches of life and work seem to make the fissures in your facade expand, like wood cracking from moisture.

Positivity isn’t about denying bad things. It’s about knowing you can change them or weather them. The world is neither all good or all bad. But, the world you see and react to is as good as you can make it.

And to end this month of positivity, I thought we could all think about all the amazing things are jobs teach us.

One evening not so long ago, I was sitting in the lobby of work watching a printmaking demonstration. The artist was masterful not only in her technical skill but also in her way with people. As I sat there, two colleagues came by.

We sat for a few minutes watching and chatting. Something came up about food trucks and curb clearance. I began speaking fairly cogently about chassis and disposing of oil. My one colleague, Katelyn, asked how I came upon this knowledge. I’d started a studio van once, I related. Another colleague, Reggie, then began to tell an amazing story of how she found herself cutting an enormous pumpkin at a state fair. I wished I could relate the enormity of the pumpkin or lessons learned, but alas, she was the one who lived that particular experience.

After we all shared more stories of “our other duties as assigned” triumphs, I started to think about how many interesting things we all learn at work. Often these odd assignments feel draining and take us off the path. Finding a balance in those is important, no doubt. But celebrating those little pieces of knowledge and skills as positive can also be helpful to your wellness.

Circuitous paths can be fun or at least funny. Off-topic can help you find new topics or refine your thoughts on the original one. If nothing else, you’ll get yourself a great story.
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