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Scheme of Things

What You Have
By Nan S. Russell
Apr 8, 2013 - 12:04:26 PM

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It was an early flight the next morning from Toronto back to Montana, necessitating a 3:30 a.m. wake-up call. Before heading to an early dinner with my husband, I decided to expedite what packing I could. In the process, I don't know how I managed to miss the briefcase compartment and launch my PC into a dive to the floor, hitting the corner of a table on the way down. My PC didn't take it well. A cracked and inoperable screen awaited.

There are times when simple accidents are a slight inconvenience; times when they're much bigger. While this was little, it seemed big and important at the time. I'd just signed a new book contract with a manuscript due in twenty-some weeks, so I needed a fully functioning PC. But no worries, I thought, as we headed to dinner, a new screen should be an easy fix.

After four trips to a PC repair shop in the largest town near us in Montana, and two weeks waiting for parts, the verdict came back - not fixable. "I don't want a new PC," I kept telling my husband on the drive home. "I want my old one to work."

Dug-in resistance prevailed when we stopped at two stores to check out the models, and like a five-year-old not getting her way, I manufactured reasons why every PC in stock was not for me. You'd think I might be excited to upgrade to new technology and a faster processor. Nope. Not me. I only wanted what I couldn't have; I wanted my old PC back.

I've seen this stubborn resistance before - my all or nothing, black-or-white thinking that leads me to a stuck blind-spot believing there are "no-other-options-possible." I can't go back and I can't go forward. I want a job I can't have, so I think I should quit; I want different choices than possible in parent-care so I think I've failed; I want a different outcome than I have, a different possibility than is possible, or a different reality than what I'm facing.

After a few stubborn-resistance days, I came to my senses, as I usually do. By then my tech-savvy, problem-solving husband had created a work-around to keep me writing using a remote monitor while he searched for, found, and configured a similar, but newer model replacement.

A few weeks later, I realized my resistance wasn't about buying a PC at all. It turns out it was about other things I can't control right now: a house not selling, decisions on hold, unsettled family matters.

In the scheme of things, the PC "adventure" was a reminder. There are times in life we don't want what we have; times we have what we want, but don't know or appreciate it; and times we think we want something, but even when we have it, it doesn't makes us happy.

So, here's what I've come to realize, once again - life isn't about getting what you want. Writer Mark Nepo puts it in perspective this way, "Have the life you want by being fully present in the life you have." Funny thing about that new PC? I've decided I love it.

(c) 2013 Nan S. Russell. All Rights Reserved.

Nan S. Russell is the award-winning author of "Hitting Your Stride: Your Work, Your Way." Her third book, "The Titleless Leader," was published May 2012. More about Nan and her work can be found at www.nanrussell.com.  Sign up to receive Nan's free monthly eColumn at: www.intheschemeofthings.com


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