Thursday, October 13, 2011

Setting goals in the middle of a hurricane

Having a bipolar body/mind (chemistry?) means a life fundamentally different from the usual mind - which I did have until my early thirties.  (And in a sense did have while heavily medicated for twenty years.)  Usual mind gets up much the same every day.  Feels predictably, not excessively, perceives much the same, can be "in a rut."  I am talking about unawakened mind.

There are things about me that stay the same, that "characterize" me.  Say, an interest in Joe Brainard's work, a tendency toward analytic thought, love of color, need for solitude.  But each day I am in a different state as if this particular outcropping of DNA and experience were dropped into a vat of liquid that is hot or cold, dim or murky or crystal-clear.  Or as if I got out of bed, opened the window and looked onto a different landscape.  Of course, we always do that, as things change.  But I mean radically different.  One day dishwater sameness of tired houses and neighbors, a dull world.  Another day the view from a rest area somewhere between Phoenix and Flagstaff overlooking a pine forest.  Another day the charming, simple hut of a haiku poet.  Do you see what I mean?

This is a new thing as I stroll into the second year since my transplant - dealing with this very changeable outlook/perspective/energy/attitude.  For many years as my kidneys failed I was pretty predictably dull and quiet.  Looking back, I see a long subdued depression.  Two years ago I took up knitting.  My favorite thing that year was going to a yarn store, all the colors.  I washed one of the scarves I made the other day and felt tender toward myself, working so hard to create something, to do something.

Now this.  I am thinking how to set some goals for myself, structure some work time, now that it seems possible to have some time not dedicated to just staying alive. This is daunting in a life that changes so radically, not just the mind, but the aging body (four weeks ago today I fell and broke my arm).  In my files in the cloud I found this quote from an article in Harvard Business Review:
In work, your goal should be to spend most of your time at the intersection of three spheres: what you like to do, what you do best, and what adds value to the [world].
As you see, I changed his word "organization" to my word, "world."  I guess when you are retired, that is your organization. I am imagining the above in a diagram of three interlocking spheres, picturing things being something I like to do.  Stay open.

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