Usually, I look at the prompts and choose the one that says some like "Write a post inspired by the word _________," of which there are two this time around. This time, however, I’m going to take the other four prompts and answer them, because I’m in the mood to write.
First, there’s "Happy New Year! What resolutions are you making? How did last year’s resolutions turn out for you?" I don’t make resolutions, because nine times out of ten I forget to do them. I mean, totally forget about them. I’m hoping to get into the habit of writing myself a note at the end of the day that summarizes what I did that day, because I’m always stuck for an answer when Mary asks, "so, what did you do today?" Not to mention when I’m asked questions like "what were the high and low points of the past year?" or "name something you learned last month." It’d be nice to have an answer.
Then, "Did you buy yourself any gifts this holiday season? Share what you selected for yourself." Mary and I have basically shopped for ourselves for Christmas the last 20 years or so, because otherwise we would have to write out exactly what we wanted the other person to buy, and even then half of it would go back. Mary buys knitting and crocheting books and patterns, not to mention yarn, and I have no idea what she wants, but she does, so she buys the stuff and says "thank you for my presents!" I do the same for the stuff I want, which this year was a 6th Generation iPod Touch with 32GB of storage. The iPod I had had since about 2006 bit the dust earlier this year, and I bought myself a little MP3 player to provide noise for myself when I sleep. After living with it and its limitations for a few months, I decided I wanted something better. Strangely enough, the new iPod (which I bought through eBay) cost just about as much as the other little player I had. Battery life on the iPod is better, I can run my noise apps as well as play the MP3’s I have on it, and the sound quality is much better. A winner all around.
Then, there’s this: "Write about your New Year’s Eve celebration. How wild do you get?" Not wild at all. We had pizza rolls for dinner, as has become our tradition, Mary was tired and went to bed at 10:30, I was in bed by 11:30 and asleep five minutes after the kids in the neighborhood stopped with the fireworks. We really live life on the edge.
I saved the biggest one for last: Share a quote you remember your parents using often when you were growing up. The one I remember Mom using all the time was "J-O-B does not spell F-U-N." In Mom’s opinion, work was not supposed to be enjoyable. If it were fun, it wouldn’t be work.
I think that attitude toward work is part of what kept me at the software company for such a long time. Something crappy would happen, I’d get mad about it, then I’d shrug, decide that it was just another example of J-O-B does not spell F-U-N, put my head back down and keep on keepin’ on. It was something I think I learned from her: I’d hear her complain about her wild kids, her crazy principal, the shitty neighborhood her school was in, the idiots downtown, the fools that ran the union and the school board, and I’d ask her why she didn’t find something else to do. "Oh, I can’t do that," she’d say, and drag herself through another crappy day, after which she’d come home and complain.
I never understood that. Mom was the most intelligent woman I ever knew and probably will ever know. She could do anything she put her mind to. Any company would be thrilled to have her. She could have taught in the schools that she sent us to, which were head and shoulders above the Chicago Public Schools. "I need a Master’s" or "I couldn’t make the money I make in Chicago" or "Oh, come on! I could never do that!" with a wave of her hand.
And I ended up doing the same thing. I’d get it in my head that I should look for a new job, then it’d be "I’m under/overqualified" or "I wouldn’t make anywhere near the money" or "I’d lose two weeks of vacation." And I’d stay, because J-O-B does not spell F-U-N.
And it’s taken me this long to realize that was BS.