Friday Letter to my Kids – March 6, 2015 –
Dear J, J, L and L,
Last night your Dad told me I’m predictable. This floored me. Sure I like to have some stability in my life, some routine. I seem to function best when I can anticipate and plan. Aren’t most people that way?
And you four, of all people, know my life has been mostly anything but predictable. I’ve learned to be a chameleon, adapting to all the various hues life’s thrown at me. Sometimes, I’ve felt like one of those Color Race runners, smeared in so much color it’s tough to figure out who’s who. I’m flexible and easy-going. That’s not predictable, is it?
In homage to my perceived unpredictability and spontaneity I even changed my mini chalkboard to this quote recently:
Compared to your Dad, I suppose, I’m a brick of predictability, a Stonehenge-sized rock of boringness, an Easter Island statue of immovability.
People keep holding up these mirrors that show me I’m not who I think I am. It’s a little unnerving and discombobulating and confusing and annoying.
I am cheerful though, usually. I at least try to maintain cheerfulness amid my staunchly dry toast without butter demeanor. Sitting here at my freshly cleaned up desk and pristine “writing room/guest bedroom” I look at my bulletin board and read these thoughts which daily remind me of my wish to be contagiously happy and sunshiny.
See, cheery thoughts that I look at multiple times a day. I might be predictable, but at least I’m smiling.
Why do I see being predictable as something negative? I’m not sure your Dad meant it as a negative. He probably said it as a fact, something with no value judgment attached at all.
There’s much to be said for predictability, stability and stick-to-it-iveness. It’s pretty much what keeps the world going forward. But then, so to, the unpredictable, unstable, outside-the-box-thinkers, who never want to color inside the lines or conform to anything. That’s where innovation and invention lives and produces. Mostly, anyway.
This saying also hangs within view from my desk:
It should probably be in Dad’s office and not mine. He has bigger dreams than I have. Mine are tiny and tentative and his are the epic kind that can change the world given a foothold. Or I could make one for each of you, since you’re young when dreams have such promise and possibility.
I guess I’ve always seen myself as a creative thinker. But, really, I’m a schlumpy, by the clock kind of person. I like to be on time or early. I like to have things to look forward to. I like a schedule and a plan. Even if I’m not great at following through with those plans. I need structure.
Where each of you fit on that spectrum, I’m not certain. I know I’m wowed by what you accomplish and by how fearlessly you face forward. As always, I’m amazed that you’re my kids. I think you’re more like your Dad than like me. And that’s a good thing. A very good thing.
Really, you’re each simply a good mix of both your Dad and me and a bunch of stuff that’s uniquely your own. It’s fun watching you be you. Not a one of you has been predictable yet.
I sure love you!
“In fiction: we find the predictable boring. In real life: we find the unpredictable terrifying.” ~Mokokoma Mokhonoana