A few days ago I discovered an encrypted folder on the server known as My Brain, and I’ve been trying to figure out the password ever since. I know it has something to do with being driven and The Hokey Pokey, but that’s all I’ve got. If you can put those two concepts together without reading any further, then I want to talk with you. I’ll buy you a cup of coffee and we’ll chat, because you might know me better than I do and you might be able to help me decode this encryption.
It all started several days ago when I reconnected with Karen, a high school classmate, on Facebook. We knew each other in school, had classes together, but we never “hung out.” We weren’t in any groups or clubs together, so we didn’t have all that great of a connection. So Karen completely surprised me last week when she offered a lengthy discussion with some very kind words about what she thought of me when we were in high school. She knew I had gone through a lot in life by the time I got to high school, and she had thought I was strong and confident. She had thought I had “things together”, so to speak. And she said she had looked up to me as a role model. I was quite surprised because I remember not at all feeling confident or “together” in high school and had no idea I could have been a positive role model for anyone. But Karen’s recent words reminded me of other classmates who have said similar things in the last few years. One went so far as to call me his hero. (I’m still cogitating that concept.) People obviously saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. (Save this thought for a moment.)
All of these wonderings came at the same time as I’ve been pondering the fact that the last of my four daughters doesn’t seem to have the same determination as the other three. I’ve been trying to figure out what makes a person determined, what gives a person the desire to move forward in life, and what turns on that drive if it’s not engaged. Brianna is intelligent and capable of accomplishing so much, and yet she struggles every day with every task. I can see her potential, but she can’t. (Insert saved thought from above.) The way I see it, Brianna makes everything much more complicated by the poor choices she makes. Her journey has been filled with dead-end roads and U-turns. Why can’t she find her way to the interstate?
The combination of Karen’s comments, the reminder of comments from other high school classmates, and my thoughts about Brianna led me to this encrypted file in my brain. I truly feel I am on the cusp of some kind of enlightenment, but I haven’t been able to put it all together.
Many wise people know, awareness is the first step to understanding something.
But how can I understand if I don’t know what I’m searching for? In an effort to find some answers, I went back to another recent comment Karen made to me. She said she didn’t know if she would have been able to survive had both her parents died like mine had by the time I was sixteen. Well, I know she would have survived. I did. If I can, anyone can.
Some people have a strong survival instinct. When my parents died, my life was not any fun. It was horrible and scary. I didn’t want to think about it. And I didn’t want to think about the months prior with all that illness and sadness and fear. So I moved forward. I was not going to relive that awful past, so I took a step forward. And then I took another. And then another. There wasn’t really any thinking about it. It was instinctual. One step in front of the other. Breathe in, breathe out. That was what life was all about.
By the time I got to high school, I had overcome a lot of change in my life. Change didn’t frighten me like it did other people, so I was able to flex and bend and move with the flow. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I hate change! But it’s not the fear of the unknown that I hate about change. It’s the fact that things change and it takes a while to put the chaos of change back into some kind of order or structure. I tend toward OCD and I need structure. I thrive with order and structure and I knew that instinctively. I didn’t think about it, I just did it. I kept a clean bedroom. I had a clean and organized locker at school. It’s just who I was (and still am). When something changed in life, I saw it as a jigsaw puzzle. If I could find the four corners, and then all the pieces with the flat edges, I could begin to form an image. Then slowly, one by one, I could figure out where each of the other pieces fit. And eventually, the “big picture” was right in front of me. I made order out of chaos. And life was good.
As I became an adult, got married, became a mom, and experienced even greater challenges in life, I still had that trait of being driven to move forward but sometimes I didn’t move as fast as I wanted. I began to think in terms of taking small steps or baby steps. But I was absolutely driven to move forward. Was I still trying to get away from the horrors of both of my parents dying? Or was I just instinctively doing what I was meant to do? One foot in front of the other. Breathe in, breathe out. That’s what it’s all about.
“Progress is our most important product.” That was General Electric’s marketing slogan in the 1960s. I can’t count how many times in a week that thought runs through my head. Forward movement. Progress. Driven. Baby steps. That’s what life is all about.
So now you’ve caught up to my train of thought and how I’ve connected driving (or being driven) with The Hokey Pokey (that’s what it’s all about!). But what does it all mean? What am I on the cusp of discovering? And if I was a role model for Karen and others, including three of my daughters, why haven’t I modeled for Brianna this character trait of moving forward? And how can I help Brianna get out of neutral and into drive?
I’ve tried everything I can think of but I haven’t done The Hokey Pokey with her since she was about three or four. I wonder if I can get her to do it. Maybe, with my granddaughter’s help, I can.