Monday, August 16, 2010

The Successfulness of Resiliency

It's not fast food when the guy in front can't get his eft-pos card to work and you wait and wait and wait and wait for the three people behind the counter all speaking differently accented versions of English to come up with a solution.

Me: "I'll just pay for it. How much does it come to?" I have the story all worked out you see. He's a part-time Dad, earnest, struggling to pay the bills, treating his kids to McDonalds on a Friday night. I'm a part-time Mum, slack as, treating my kids and now his kids to McDonalds on a Friday night.

It takes about 8 minutes to work through all this and in the end his card is accepted and so is mine. Upstairs in the play area I see him sitting with two clean-cut boys and an older woman. Nana. Where was she when the bill needed paying?

He:"Finish up boys and then we'll go downstairs and you can empty your bladders." What? one of his kids yelled back at him. "We'll go downstairs to empty your bladders." He actually said it, out loud, twice.

I mentally revoked my offer of kindness - this chap was clearly a Class A tool. What is it with language? At a training night earlier in the week I'd heard about the value of resiliency, and just yesterday read about measuring the successfulness of a project.

Where's the harm you ask? We all know what the speakers and writers mean.

Am I wrong to want to hold on to the rules? Is my inableness to look furtherer than the words being spoken creating interferenceness with my comprehendibility of the communicative message being conveyered at me?

Or am I a lone bastion, along with my good friend V, of proper bloody English?

Or am I simply getting old?

The thing with resilience as Seth Godin points out in his book The Dip is understanding the difference between the positive qualities of perseverance and resilience, and their negative aspects of inflexibility, dogmatism, and worst of all, failure to give up when giving up is the right thing to do. We don't berate a battered wife for giving up on her marriage, or frown on an investor who cuts their losses before the fatal haemorrhaging kicks in. How do we teach ourselves and our children to discern the difference between wisely digging deep and stupidly digging in?

Beating cancer is a juggle. Knowing that stress in some of its forms is unhelpful to my immune system I have to choose, and it is a choice, which of life's frustrations to allow in. My mother chooses to care about what she wears to the coffee shop, 'I can't go in this old thing'. C chooses to care about things being tidy. P doesn't care at all about being late for school but certainly doesn't have low ponytails anymore - 'only high ones now Mum'.

I don't care about many of the things that burden others. What people think of me counts for almost naught, I'm certainly not concerned with the fashion of my clothing, and I know that my car is not an outward expression of my inner worth. I don't care about your sexual preferences, your bank balance or what school you went to. But I do care about things, that in a bid to live, I'm learning to let go of: muddy thinking, awful spelling and incorrect use of my mother tongue.

I'm learning to be patient - that can't happen soon enough, and trying to find new ways every day to be less of a know-it-all. I'm hoping to show successfulness in this area and I'm sure the resiliency I have drawn on during my treatment will stead me in good stand for this.


Anonymous said...


This post made me think of a line from a famous poem past...

'If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch'

I guess sometimes if you want 'the earth and everything in it' or just to relate to those more colloquially inclined, then you need to accept the common touch, or common tongue.

Of course for obvious reasons my favourite line is...

'If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same'

We are thinking of you and looking forward to catching up in December.

_Morgan_ said...

I love the way you write, you are amazing. I look up to you. I look up to you and your resilience.

BeJolly said...

"Patient Sacha" - aaahhhh now there goes an oxymoron.

Now the 'empty your bladders' thing: that isn't poor use of the English language - that's just a lack of respect (for children) - he'll probably get it back at him when they're teenagers, and wonder where it came from...