Friday, May 1, 2009


My mother left a message yesterday, giddy because she had done her first headstand in her yoga class. She said, "I just kept creeping forward and forward, and before I knew it I was upside down!"

Gotta love Mom. She was diagnosed with diabetes about a month ago, and decided, in effect, to say, "Screw you, diabetes!" She has dropped seventeen pounds and has upped her weight-loss goal from twenty-five pounds to forty. She has to wear a belt now. When she goes to cook-outs, she happily eats the meat (no bun), carrot sticks and just a dollop of potato salad.

And, out of nowhere, she has become a yogi.

My mother is not a ditherer. When she decides to do something, it happens. Whether it be a new initiative for her church, a last-minute trip to California, a house project, or a body overhaul, she moves forward without a backward glance.

She's a goal-oriented person. She wants quick action, and quick results. I can relate. I'll decide that I want something---a new job, a new haircut, a change in the house---and I'll make it happen immediately. My brother is the same way---when he decided that he really wanted to quit smoking, he took his final drag, and quit cold turkey.

When I don't get immediate results, I get twitchy. The president said "The ship of state moves slowly," (except that he probably said it more elegantly), but, in essence, he was saying that the things the government does now may not pay dividends for a decade or more. This glacial pace infuriates me.

When I moved from AZ, I briefly worked in school reform. Coming from the immediate rewards of a highly motivated classroom experience, I could not handle the idea that change comes in months, weeks, years. When talking about changing perceptions and actions in a school setting, I felt like taking off the kid gloves and just shaking my fellow teachers. "Just do something! Good God!"

I left that job, and I've never felt an ounce of regret.

I know that I am a short-term, immediate rewards kind of gal. Like my mom, I'm willing to do a bit of creeping, but, by God, I had better get to do that headstand soon.

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