Fall Back

It’s that time of year where parts of the US rewinds the clock an hour and we get a chance to collectively complain or celebrate getting an extra hour of sleep. (I’m on Team Complain.) Instead of only complaining this year after resetting my microwave clock I thought, “Why don’t you take this day as day to reflect on your life since we sprang forward?” Great idea! And so that’s what I did.

A lot has happened since springing forward on March 13th:

  • Traveled to LA for a concert
  • Attended the Indy 500
  • Dealt with some nagging/but very painful foot issues
  • Went to two more concerts
  • Caught Covid

But what about me as a person? “Eh, no real complaints.” I can complain about things that are out of my control like the market and weather, but that’s a given regardless of time changes. I decided to chew on this “no real complaints” response to see if there was anything there worth examining. It didn’t take long for a few chews to recognize that there was indeed more to chew on before I could start to digest.

I wondered if I had no “real complaints” because I wasn’t doing anything that would cause me to complain. Was I just living on autopilot? Was I settling for an unconscious algorithm where every “decision” lead to comfort? Chew chew chew.

Okay. I think I can swallow now. My first realization was that I was missing intellectual curiosity in my life. When I’m curious about something, I’m also at my most creative. I could not remember the last time I couldn’t put a book down to ruin my sleep schedule or the last time I did a deep dive to master a new skill just because I wanted to. This is when the second realization hit: I was missing personal growth.

At work, growth is measured in a number of ways:

  • Did you hit your goals?
  • Were you promoted?
  • Did you like the most Yammer posts?

But personal growth; that’s personal. You can set personal goals using the SMART method or whatever method you choose, but for me, it’s easier to look back at the moments where I’ve experienced growth and can trace most of those moments to times where my intellectual curiosity was the driving force. Not because I needed to hit some metric by a certain date, but just because I was really effing curious. Chew chew chew. Swallow. Digest.

So what did I learn from Falling Back? That I actually do have a complaint and it’s that I’ve been lacking intellectual curiosity? Nah, but that comfort is cool and having no complaints is cool too; but the world is spicier and little more livelier for me when I’m really curious about something and I find myself hitting gears that were collecting dust. Falling back and looking at the arc of my life I’m sometimes surprised when I find something I did and wonder who put that work out into the world. Then when I realize that was indeed me and that is just a hint of what I’m capable of I feel something light up in me. Digest digest. Uh oh, I think I’m on the verge of doing something great.


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