challenges

Flexible, Agile, Pivot

These three words have come up multiple times in the past week.

First, from my friends in the teaching profession. Those are the three words they are being told to embrace as school begins in person (don’t say face to face it sounds too close) as we return to the buildings. Don’t plan too far in advance, as things could and probably will change day by day. In fact, since we started writing this post, we’ve already switched from in person to online school in many places to start the upcoming year.

Be flexible and ready to adapt to evolving conditions and unexpected challenges. Be agile, able to move quickly, efficiently and confidently from situation to situation. Pivoting to change direction is almost inevitable. With so many unknowns and twists and turns on the horizon those words are valuable to latch on to. For teachers who are trained to plan, abide by calendars, and be as routine and predictable as possible, it’s a bit against their training and possibly their nature. Time to rethink, reframe, and expand in a different direction, and help students and their parents do the same.

Me on the other hand, I giggle a bit on those three words. They represent my life In many ways, during a pandemic or just a routine Tuesday afternoon. All the twists and turns. All the adapting. The organized chaos I call life. I thrive under pressure and beg for adversity most days. It’s fuel to my fire.

Then the conversation hit on a Friday night at the ball field. We all had masks on. Following the rules. The sun was scorching despite the evening hours. I took my face mask down briefly for fresh air. It was still hanging on an ear. Technically I was wearing a mask. The directions didn’t specifically define what mask type, how it needed to be officially placed and so on.

Out comes a gentleman I knew well. He saw my mask and followed his glance with an affirmation (or was it an accusation?) of me not being a rule follower. That spurred a discussion that lingered. I am a rule follower. I just choose to follow the rules within the terms I choose. He implied that I am an A, B, C2-C3-C4 person. As if all the rules have an asterisk. Options within the boundaries.

Yes, that is correct. I always have a backup plan and C4 may be a good pivot point description for me. Explosive. Dynamite in a way. Always with a second, third and fourth plan. I call it depth. It’s layers deep. I make the rules work for me. It allows me to not only survive but thrive.

Some may see it as grey. Operating in the grey tones of life. Pushing the limits. Especially if the limits don’t make sense in certain situations. Staying in the black and white only confines me. Shades give life texture, interest, originality, make me memorable. For some, it makes them rewrite the rules with more care and specificity. It forces people to be agile in their mind and in their lives. But I am always at least one step ahead, if not more. Rewrite the rules and try to corral me. Just another challenge for me to find the gray and keep growing.

I see it for what it is. Depth, diversity, dynamic layers ingrained within. How the mask conversation turned into an unmasking of sorts

perspective

Diamond or Volcano?

I don’t know anyone who has escaped the pressures of the pandemic. Frontline workers putting their lives on the line every day.  Parents who are trying to work from home while managing kids, maybe even multiple kids, who themselves are trying to manage learning from home.  Those same kids who have to try to learn while so many of the best parts of school (friends, fun events, recess) are taken away for now. Adults who can’t work, who have lost jobs, who are facing bills with less or no income. People being abused who are now quarantined with their abusers. People who are anxious, fearful, in despair.

After weeks of staying mostly at home, seeing mostly my family and a familiar four walls, I am restless, tired, often irritable.  I am worn out on eating well some days.  I have less motivation to exercise.  I am quite aware that my problems are much smaller and more manageable than most.

I said in one of my early pandemic posts that this crisis will bring out the best in some people and the worst in others.  A friend recently shared a smart post that said that in this time, jerks are becoming bigger jerks.  Compassionate people are becoming more compassionate. Our essences are expressing themselves.  Which are you?

We all have our ups and downs.  Good days and bad. Some of us have bigger problems looming than others. I get that.

Still, there really isn’t an excuse to be unkind.

I thought to myself, we are all under pressure.

Some of the most beautiful and most deadly things in the world are both born of great pressure.  Diamonds developed when pressure gets extremely intense.  Diamonds, something many consider extremely precious.  Something that sparkles.  Something we cherish. Have you seen diamonds coming out these days?  Kindness?  Generosity? Understanding? Even curiosity?  A willingness to listen?  Changing of minds?

At the same time, pressure between tectonic plates can collide and erupt into a volcano, spewing lava and destruction for miles and miles.  Something we run from, something many of us might fear.  Have you seen any examples of volcanoes around, spewing negativity and lack of understanding?  We’ve all seen them.  Angry protesters screaming at medical workers, police.  Nasty commenters belittling people instead of listening to their sincere concerns.

The 2 chicks have embraced “choose daily” from nearly the start of this blog.  I don’t know if anyone will get through this pandemic without cracks.  But instead of a crack that leads to hurting and destroying everything and everyone around, can you choose a crack that makes you more beautiful?