Saturday, April 2, 2011

Why am I here? and What's My Plan? (4 of 4)

 So I've just re-read what I'd written in the 3 previous posts which only drew 1 comment and 1 direct email (thank you both). I had hoped for more, but I didn't expect too much so I'm not disappointed. I understand this is entertainment for most, not a participation sport. I expect some of the busier folks will stop by in the next week and I will still be interested to hear their comments.
 So after reading everything straight through and also having the benefit of having thought about this over the week, I have some new observations and I think, some adjustments to my direction.
 My first thought when I read everything straight through was "My gosh, I sound like a whiny spoiled child", "Woe is me". I had not taken stock of how lucky I am, nor have I even been aware of how good I have it.
 First, I work in a great Department with some really fantastic people that have taught me a lot about the Service and life in general. Some folks wind up in a hell hole where no learning takes place, gear is old and broken, and the best folks are barely competent. I got lucky, damned lucky, or I wouldn't have gotten the drive to be where I am now. Further, I have been allowed and encouraged to go outside the Department and learn from some of the very best and bring that stuff back, AND I have been permitted to do that teaching. So many of us get held back or held down by their Departments or co-workers because of politics or jealousy. I've been lucky.
 I've done some downright tough jobs as part of a good, supportive crew, and I have come back from the depths with them to rise to a higher level as a team. Few humans get to know what that feels like, but I do.
 Yes, I am old, but I'm not dead yet. My health is good, better than many my age, and I am in fairly good shape considering the roads I've been on in the last 55 years. (An old bull rider once told me "Son, it ain't the years, it's the miles what takes a man down.") I don't think you will find many 55 year old farts that will readily strap that air pack on and get in there. Not in the volunteer service, anyway.
 Instead of feeling like I am washed up, I should have been focusing on the blessings I've had, and continue to enjoy. I think I am focused now.
 I once had a Boss who was educated well beyond his intelligence and as he would say, 'here are my action items' to myself:
1) Be Happy you are alive and providing a valuable Service to the Department and Community. Most people never get to make that claim.
2) Keep working on being a good mentor to the youngsters and show them, by example what a good attitude and work ethic looks like.
3) Keep learning, because what you learn has value to others as well as yourself.
4) Stay healthy, keep working out, and make every Drill you can. Sweat is good.
5) Keep teaching every chance you can. It keeps you thinking and you learn from your students. Collect that stuff and spread it around. It will keep you young, too.
6) Don't worry about whether or not people respect you, they do. If they don't, you probably didn't want their respect anyway. If you do respectable work, treat others with respect, keep a clean and honest ethic, they will respect you, even if they don't like you.
7) Put the 'age thing' aside for now. Be aware that your body can not deliver what your mind demands anymore, but for now you are holding in. Don't let your pride get in the way of stepping back when that's what you should do. Don't put others in danger because of your short comings. But beyond that, let it all hang out man.
8) FDIC: It can STILL happen for you. You need to have faith and try to find a way to get there. The experience will be more than worth it. Just as with anything else you have already achieved, you need to make it a priority and keep working in that direction. (If FireCritic and the Iron Fireman can get all kinds of free stuff and have give-aways on their Blogs, you should be able to find a way to spend a week in Indy.)
9) Learn how to say "NO" firmly and with a smile. Schedule time for yourself first, then others later instead of the other way around.
10) Ease up on the 'blog thing'. The folks that read it will come read it when they want. getting regular posts out won't make much of a difference. Try to increase the quality while decreasing the quantity.

OK, that's what I came up with. I am guessing you are probably good with it too. If you have something to add or a correction to offer, please do. I don't know why one of you folks, who are supposed to be my friends, didn't tell me I sounded like such a whining jackass? Did you think you'd hurt my feelings? OK, I forgive you, but next time, you'd better let me know when I step off the truck on the wrong side.
 I appreciate you all listening to my head while I worked this thing out. My course correction has been loaded into the system and I'll be back on the road now. I hope you enjoyed the ride.

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