Who is that man?

I got a real good look at him in the mirror at the zoo yesterday.  He looked tired and he's getting old.  But, there was something else about him that caught my eye.  A proud, self-satisfied look.  The look of a man that is doing things he's not sure he can do, and doing them well.  And, while he complains to his friends, his co-workers have no idea how hard all this is for him. 

Yesterday, he stood in the cold wind for hours, with a smile on his face and a joyful welcome for all those that needed to see him to register for the event. 

His fingers were cold and he kept blowing into his hands.  And, he kept turning his back to the wind... and his favorite line of the day was "The weather ain't like this in Texas, y'all.". That got a good laugh every time. 

He's closer to one of his co-workers than the others.  They're about the same age, and they always have something to talk about.  Maybe it's work sometimes, but mostly, it's personal stuff that they enjoy hearing from one another.  It's rare that you find two people who are incredibly different and yet, when they talk about themselves, it's interesting to the other person.  So, they talked and talked all day, sometimes complaining about how cold their hands were and sometimes how bad their feet hurt from being on them all day.  But, mostly about their families and relationships and homes. 

And, when that day was over, he made the three hour drive to the next city, listening to a book about quilting... incidentally, am I the last person to read Marie Bostwick?  Loving her Threads series. 

When he drove up to the casino, he was intimidated.  Having heard a lot about casinos, and this being his first one, he wasn't so sure what to expect from the huge flashy building.  And, once inside and checked in, and walking around, he found he wasn't intimidating, he just wasn't all that interested.  Instead, he sat alone in his room, watching a movie, and getting some much needed rest and time to re-charge. 

Yesterday, he was exhausted and wondered if he'd made a mistake.  Could he keep up with the pace?  Very few of his co-workers that are attending these meetings are attending all of them.  Somehow, he managed to sign up for the full week experience.  But, today, he's feeling like he can conquer the world again.  Ready to face the masses.  But, maybe not ready for the rude lady that he ordered room service breakfast from. 

Okay, so two more days and I will be home.  And, boy, am I looking forward to it. 

There's something about me that needs to see the negative in each experience before I can see the positive.  I don't know what it is.  I don't know why it is.  I can tell I'm doing it when I get feedback, from you guys and from Rob...y'all know me best.  And, while it sometimes hurts a little bit, that whole pull up your big boy boxers and get on with it advice does help... after I've had a few minutes to decide it was meant in kindness.  And, it was meant as encouragement.  And, it is encouraging. 

My negativity and fear used to stop me from doing things, and now, not so much.  Now, I can work through that negativity, try to express it in small amounts, and move forward.  That's so much better.  I can remember days when I was so depressed and afraid that I couldn't get up and go out.  Not even to work.  Now, not so much.  I can't remember the last time I couldn't get out of bed to go to work. 

That's all improvement.  So, when I say that I am surprised by the confident man that I see in the mirror, it's true.  Nobody can be more surprised than me, because nobody else knows what's going on behind that face.  That smile. 

Yesterday, the lady I was working with and I were talking about the project that burned me out at work.  And, I told her about how long that lasted and about sitting at my desk, just being angry for a couple years.  But, then I told her about getting my new boss and deciding to give myself a new opportunity for a fresh start.  Leave all that anger and hurt that I felt about that older project behind and begin again.  And, I told her how nice that was.  And, how nice it was that I didn't have to look for a new job to get it.  I doubt many people get an opportunity to make themselves over at work without getting a new job. But, I got that chance and I took it.  And, while I'm not perfect... take Tuesday's post as an example... I'm doing better.  Much better. 

A therapist once asked if I was good, or good enough?  I said I was good, but I'd never be good enough.  Now, that's changed.  I am certainly good enough.

It's too hard to be perfect.  I'm going to settle for being better. 

And, yesterday, in that mirror in a Men's room at the Indianapolis zoo, I saw what better looks like.  Maybe not in the wrinkles on my face.  But, in the confidence in my eyes. 

Have a good Thursday.  I'm off duty until mid-morning.  Someday, maybe I'll tell the story about taking the air conditioner in my room apart and fixing that rattling sound.  Believe me, it was easier than making them give me another room and I'm certain the next guest in this room will appreciate it.

And, there is my fun fact for the day's meetings.

See ya'.  Lane 


Becky said...

Love you bunches!!!

Lakegaldonna said...

Well, my first thought after reading your post today is, 'He's BAAACK!'
What a nice read for today, thank you Lane. Talk about coming full circle and then some more.

One week ago on Monday I had the pleasure of hearing Marie Bostwick talk at an informal chat at a small library in WI. She's on a multi-state book signing tour for her new book. I had heard her speak last year and found her to be so very interesting so when she was slated to be this close to me I went out of my way to be in the crowd.

She doesn't disappoint! So if you go on her website you can look at her schedule to see if she will be somewhere in your area.
Have a great Thursday.

Sharlene said...

This post made me feel so good! Thanks for sharing and spreading 'warm fuzziness'!

Marei said...

"Confidence" in your eyes is always good to see when you look in the mirror. This was a wonderful post, expressing what so many of us feel....and doing it quite eloquently. Thanks. (oh no! today's verification is to select the hamburgers! I'm not reading your blog anymore until AFTER lunch...you're killing me)

Megan said...

Thank you for sharing, Lane. As one of the people who posted comments that you probably interpreted as 'put your big boy boxers on', I'd like to confirm that my comments were intended as kindness, empathy and encouragement. (Mightn't have seemed like that to you at the time but ... LOL!) I can relate so much to your negativity and the effort needed to overcome it - and the benefits that you experience when you make that effort. So, congratulations you! Yay, yay, yay. I think it's terrific that you can celebrate the changes you've made in your life over the years. Keep it up.

Sydney, Australia

lindaroo said...

You fixed the air conditioner on your hotel room? That's cool!
(Hey, look at what happened there: cool!)
What a great post.

Rebecca Grace said...

I LOVE IT that you fixed the A/C in your hotel room! That is an awesome fun fact about you, something that I really admire about you, how mechanically inclined you are, how you can just take these machines apart, figure out what's wrong with them and get them purring for you like kitty cats. :-) Rock on, Lane!