Creature of Habit, Creature of Change

I'm a creature of habit, so my wife says. I get up at the same time every morning, no need for an alarm clock. I do the laundry in a very particular and predictable way. And I definitely thrive on routine.

All of that said, I've always been the one to shake things up, whether at home or at work. When I was a kid, I'd be the one to suggest a rearranging of the living room. I would take it on myself to flip the sofa position, find a new spot for the tv, and reorganize the books on the shelf. I distinctly remember the anticipation of surprising and delighting the family with a new look. Thirty years along and change is still my habit.

Part of my orientation as a human being is the desire to seek balance. But I seem to have a sixth sense about when things need to be shaken around in order to achieve a better balance. Unfortunately, in the midst of that kind of change, I can prove to be an unpopular person--disliked, disdained, and somewhat displaced. I think that could be the fundamental question of leadership, if you can keep your eyes to the future when the present is crashing in around you. If...

If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936)

Mr. Kipling wrote those words in 1895, about ten years after my great great grandfather Alexander Fleming Thomas moved to Saskatchewan to homestead about "seven miles north east of the present town of Rhein" (from Spinning Stories: A Woven History). I guess that makes me a 5th generation Canadian and the 5th generation that has read and heard the words that ask "If...".

I started rearranging our bedroom this morning, wanting to surprise Heather when she returns from her final weekend away, completing two years of massage therapy training.

I continue to be inspired by her fortitude and determination, her ability to find beauty in the billows of the threatening thunderclouds, and her willingness to embrace change and challenge with delightful fervor. She is my habit and my change, the perfect balance of all the things that life can offer up--good, bad, happy and sad--she is my everything.

June 5, 2010 - 196 pounds, 32.3% body fat


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