Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Random Lessons Learned during Twenty-twelve

If you’re reading this, the Mayans were wrong. The world did not end on 12-21-12, and another year is going into the history books. We’re back to following the advice given to us by the Son of the only One who has it all figured out: “Watch and pray for you know not when the time is.”  I guess we could have saved ourselves a lot of stress and worry. Sort of an “I could have had a V-8” moment, isn’t it?

In the working world, a common thing to do at the end of a project is to review the results; talk about lessons learned. One former boss used a military term and called this a “hot wash” session. We don’t assign any importance or order to these observations, just note them. Detailed analysis can come later.

So, here’s my hot wash for the twelfth year of the new millennium.

1: Never assume you can figure out your retirement plans on your own. The sooner you get an expert on board, the better. If your children are young enough, try to interest one of them in financial planning as a career. Raising your own Alex Keaton could be very beneficial to your whole family. On second thought- having a family member in charge of your money at such an early age could be a conflict of interest, and might prompt arsenic in your oatmeal. Better just consult the yellow pages.

2. If you find yourself in the situation of not having to report to work every day, enjoy every minute. Others will try to fill your time, but you are in ultimate control. If you’re trying to find a new job, try not to stress about it. Things will work out.  Meanwhile, live it up, and wear pajamas and slippers all day if you get the chance!

3. Granny Camp with all of your grandkids in attendance can be a real joy. However, the idea of not having another adult around to assist can be abandoned if you have four campers ages 10 and under. Also, shortening the session from a week to three days is a remarkably wonderful idea!

4. You’re never too old for a job interview, and a well crafted resume can be extremely handy. This is your chance to blow your own horn. Don’t be dishonest, but don’t sell yourself short, either. Many employers are recognizing the value of hiring experienced, seasoned employees. On a related note: if you are asked to speak about one of your best features, and one of your worst ones, the weakness should be a cleverly disguised strength. Example: “I have a hard time letting go of a project when it’s finished, because I want everything to be perfect.”

5. Eighteen people can fit comfortably in a garage for a large family dinner. Crafty kids and grandkids can help with decorations the night before. Another stress reducing tip: take advantage of helpful mothers, sisters-in-law, daughters, daughters-in-law and grand-daughters, and send males of all ages outside until everything is on the table.

6. Two serious thoughts about tragic events that occurred just before Christmas. Even if God is no longer officially invited to our schools, He’s still there. And, guns don’t kill people, people who should not have access to guns kill people. I’m trying to keep this list positive, but sometimes things just must be said.

7. We live in a beautiful state, with boundless opportunities for happy jaunts with little or no planning. The State Park system is a secret that we should not keep to ourselves any longer. Though it would be impossible to name a favorite, Mounts Magazine, Nebo and Petit Jean are all in the running.

8. Social media is a fantastic tool for keeping in touch, and even for making new friends. Warnings about revealing too much of your private information are valid, but with due caution, online contacts can become real-life pals.

9. A healthy mix of good food and moderate exercise can make day to day life much more pleasant. Kudos to those who are making great strides along these lines, and for those of you who are just maintaining, never give up!

10.  Changes of all kinds happen. During adjustment periods, don’t schedule too many activities. You need time for physical and emotional recuperation.

New years are full of possibilities. Twenty-twelve is gone, and we’re gearing up for Lucky Thirteen. The Mayans didn’t have everything figured out, any more than we do. Like the psalm and the song that inspired this column puts it:  “To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.”   Use those lessons learned, and keep your smiling face aimed forward!



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