Friday, February 27, 2015

The Process Is More Important Than The Goal.. Or So They Tell Me

You can best describe my approach to life as Linear. B comes after A and then we move to C and from there to D. Life has steps. Work has steps. Every day has a process, a flow, a structure. Now granted I work in the entertainment industry so within those steps there is a lot of shifting to the left and then back to the right, dodging, weaving and two stepping but for the most part there is a pretty standard way to accomplish things. 

For example, Monday thru Friday my alarm goes off at 5:50a. I hit snooze and at 6:00am when it goes off again, I grumble, turn it off and sit up in bed. Snoopy is usually staring at me with anticipation from his bed in the corner of the room because he knows that the next step in the morning is for me to stumble to the living, put on my jacket and shoes, grab the keys and his leash and take him for his morning walk. We always walk the same square block and he is pretty consistent about where he likes to stop and sniff, pee, and all that other fun morning stuff. Back upstairs I feed him his homemade breakfast. (I believe I have mentioned before how spoiled he is). We both take our vitamins and then I get ready for work.  

See…. linear, process, steps to my day. Now that’s not to say I’m completely rigid and can’t go with the flow.  Occasionally I oversleep, or Snoopy wants to eat before we go outside, or I need to run the dishwasher before I leave for work. The other morning I had to whip up Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding before I could shower.  But for the most part there is a flow to my day and my life.  
The thing is, I am surrounded by people who like to explore, who wander off the path and sit on a bench for a while.  To them, lists are something to be avoided. They like to look at things from every possible angle, mull it over, sit on it and then… sit on it some more. They say things like, “Why can’t you just enjoy the moment?” and “You keep checking your watch. Are you late for something?” and “Babe, just come sit with me. The dishes don’t have to be done right after we eat.” (Now any sane person knows that last one is complete malarkey. The dishes MUST be done immediately and the kitchen spotless before you can move on to the next activity.) 

JB is one of these people. He has a pace all his own with a slow, measured walk and an “all the time in the world” attitude. He never appears to be in a hurry and there is no time frame for arriving at the next step. He goes to the grocery without a meal plan or even a list. When asked what the plan is for the weekend he usually says… “Not sure. We’ll see.”  He’ll decide at 9am that today is a good day to take the kids to Knott’s Berry Farm.  They didn’t need a checklist of items to take, snacks to pack or appropriate clothing to wear.  They just got up, got dressed and headed out the door. They followed NONE of the “Steps for a Fun Outing”.

Here’s the thing I’m afraid to admit and really hope this is one of the weeks he is too busy to read the blog…. His way might, I said MIGHT, be better. Now don’t get me wrong. My way gets stuff done and is very efficient but it doesn’t always allow for spontaneity (does planned spontaneity count?). Going to Knott’s Berry Farm with me requires an entire week of planning, food shopping and tracking weather patterns. The JB way is fun and easy going.  My way can lend itself to frustration and impatience. (Come on people let’s move. Let’s advance. Let’s take the next step in the process. We have a goal to reach and the only way to get there is to keep moving.) 

I heard someone say once that you can’t skip pages in a book. You will lose the nuance of the story. And they are right. I would never skip pages but I do skim and speed read and too often miss the descriptive phrases.  I end up going back and re-reading sections because I have missed an important piece in my hurry to move on to the next.  I too often forget or fail to acknowledge that the goal is less important than the process and that the steps we take are as meaningful and should be as enjoyable as finishing the task. I might need a tattoo with this mantra on the back of my hand – The process is more important than the goal

I know JB will be reminding me of this until the day we die, holding hands on the porch watching the sun go down (with the dishes done and the kitchen clean cause I’m sure I won’t be able to die if my chores aren’t done).