25 June 2008

Lead. Follow. Or GET OUT OF THE WAY.

It really frosts me that the older I get, the wiser my parents become. They actually knew what they were talking about when I was a teenager. Who knew?

The above title is something that was on the wall of my father's office, for as far back as I can remember. He clipped it out of the Wall Street Journal in the late 70s or early 80s, from a quasi-cartoon feature they had called "Graffiti." When he retired last year, that yellowed clip was put in a box with pictures of my sisters and I, and a collection of stuff he'd accumulated over 30-some years of running a business. He had pointed to it often, in conversations with customers, employees, vendors. He said it often at home, too.

Now *I* say it. All the time. The phrase means a couple of different things to me, but mostly it is this: it is time for SOMEONE to make a decision when I say, "Lead, follow, or get out of the way."

I know that as most people age, they hear the things that their mothers used to say, or a nagging grannie, and it horrifies us when we hear ourselves saying things we swore we'd never say. This phrase was never one of those for me, but I find I hear lots of things that my dad said coming out of my mouth. Dad-isms. Another favorite was "Everyone has 24 hours in a day." That one was pulled out in response to my sisters or I whining that we didn't have time to do something, and glorr-eeee, did that one annoy me. And now? I say it to people frequently, in response to their lack of time-management skills.

Ahh, time management. I feel like I've suddenly got lots less time, because I'm spending more time at work. As if someone has sucked at least 4 hours out of my allotted 24. I'm not writing as much as I'd like, nor am I exercising as much as I ought. I'm tired, quite a lot, and I know that'd get better if I could get to the gym, but it isn't so much happening. I set the alarm, and it goes off at 05.15 every morning; just about once a week I'm able to haul my butt out of bed to get to the gym. I did make it to a yoga class at another gym last week, at a very, very early hour, and felt great that day. It isn't as nice of a gym as my YMCA, but they offer about 10 times more yoga classes than the Y does.

Spending my days in an office means that an old shoulder injury acts up when I'm in a chair for lots of hours. I have excellent posture (if I do say so myself) so it isn't because I'm hunching over the computer screen whilst sitting at my desk. I try to get up, move, stretch often, but despite doing all of that, the shoulder tightens up and the only remedy that ever works is going to see Mr. Magic Fingers, the massotherapist. Which also cuts into my available time.

Vicious cycle!

I wish I could find that scrap from my dad's office, because I'd put it up in my office too. It was little, but it spoke volumes.


Dawna said...

You have no idea how jealous I am that you had wise/smart parents.

Lucy Arin said...

It was never perfect. You should know that first and foremost.

That said, I do feel very, very lucky...my NYC sister and I talk about this all the time.

Dawna said...

That's true. I'm sure it wasn't all sunshine and daisies. The thing is that you can reminisce about the wisdom that has been imparted unto you and your sibs. Positive wisdom! Stuff that is worth knowing!

Meh. Either way, we were all put in our respective families for a reason, I suppose.

Lucy Arin said...

All I can say is something my sister said when she gave the toast at a wedding several years ago.

Friends are the family we create for ourselves.