Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Our Lessons Arrive From the Oddest of Venues

I’ve been working on a variety of different projects of late, some writing related and some personal and after finishing my blog entry last night I decided to reward myself with another session of the library DVD’s I’ve borrowed. I’m currently working my way through the third season of Medium. As I sat down, stretching my limbs that had strangely warped themselves into the shape of the chair upstairs, I honestly was not expecting to do anything more than relax for a few hours, and attempt to finish watching the DVD’s before they are actually due back at the library.

It was ironic that the episode next up to play dealt with of all things, dread. It was then that I realized the main character, Alison, was right, what I have been dealing with for years was not fear, but dread. The emotion is not an immediate fight or flight, but a long term familiar attitude towards a situation. You know it will not leave until it has come to a full conclusion. There is no way to hurry it on its journey. It must be faced, full on without avoidance.

It was this morning that I called the Massachusetts Teacher’s Retirement Fund, which I’ve put off doing since I got the notice a week ago. There is no fight or flight reaction to what is coming, merely recognition that there is a long process ahead of working through endless mounds of paperwork and still not knowing what the right financial choices will be in the end. Without having vested my pension, I am going to need to move the money, but after a disastrous experience with my last 401K rollover tanking, there is a need to face the dread and deal with the stress and anxiety. There is no good reason to justify not learning from past mistakes and finding better options for this money than I did with the last. Dread, should not prevent us from moving forward with our retirement planning. I just need to keep putting one foot before the other.

There is another situation of dread waiting in the wings, but again the issue is too important to be ignored. It is time to go out and start organizing the neighbors for the fall elections. By nature I’m not a people person. Give me tasks, lists, and goals of that nature to accomplish and those areas I can shine. However, the thought of actually having to go out into the neighborhood and start working on people to make a decision about who they want to represent them in the ward, is overwhelming. Standing up in front of the crowd, is a walk in the park by comparison. However, dread must be weighed against the alternative outcomes. Should I sit in my comfort zone, I will feel guilty about not having the courage to act. If we lose our ward councilor the guilt will be bad, but the consequences financially, will be an even worse punishment. There is the hope that by overcoming my dread others will finally start to act, too.

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