Thursday, July 30, 2009

Sometimes Credit is About Taking Charge

Cash or credit? Do you want change with that? Can we charge it?

Funny how these phrases come at us every day and we always assume the speaker is referring to payment. What if we take the financial whim out of the question and focus on the underlying meaning of the words?? Credit. That means so much more to me than a piece of plastic or the status of my borrowing and lending power. It isn't something defined by a number because I am not something defined by a number. It's... it's the idea that my word has significance and meaning to it. It's linked with the phrase "give me some credit" and "I'll take credit for that" - ownership, responsibility, worth. It's the idea that I will follow through on something and that I am a trustworthy individual.

Charge. Yes, it's something you can do when you swipe your cards through those annoying readers at various stores that all have different instructions and leave your signature looking like your primary school teacher's attempt at teaching you cursive... But it's also something about leadership, responsibility and agency. People take charge of given situations and we call them leaders, sometimes even heros. We celebrate their courage, strength and wisdom. Sometimes it's "I charge you with..." and it means giving someone else ownership of an item or situation. Again, it's linked with responsibility. When a nanny says "this is my charge" s/he is referring to the child s/he is watching over at the time.

What is at the root of the meanderings?? I've meditated on a lot of things lately (side effect of being at the beach and stuck in cars for very, VERY long times). I've come to the following conclusion: the only way to have a future is to take charge of the present instead of dwelling in the past.

Perhaps this is a "duh" expression for most people. I'll admit, it's rather simple to say/type right there. But how many people really LIVE by this standard? Really invest time every day to this commitment and make the necessary changes in their routines for it to become reality? My hunch? Very few. I know I have been batting pretty low at this lately.

Sometimes taking charge of the present means doing things against the advice of others. Everyone had trusted folks in their lives that give them good advice. Many people have opinions on various issues you may deal with - from employment opportunities to clothing/fashion choices. It is our responsibility, however, to navigate through these well-intentioned offerings and figure out what is true for us in this PRESENT moment. Sometimes it is related to our past, sometimes it's breaking away from that past to move towards the future.

The other thing about this new standard... it provides total agency to the individual (in this case me) and responsibility for his or her successes and failures. I really don't like that word - failure - for even a mistake is a learning opportunity. It's never really failure... just more information about how to do things differently next time. I guess failure would be if you gave up and refused yourself the chance to have a "next time" - but, alas, I digress.

Too many times people (at least I know I do) wait for other people to resolve their issues or situation. They wait for that phone call or for the other shoe to drop. Honestly? I'm just not that kind of person. I'm the kid that saw a problem in my high school and confronted it head on, creating a new student organization and speaking before parents, school board members, teachers and peers to make it happen. I'm the college student that dared to be the only dissenting opinion in a sea of homogeny. I'm the professional that stood up for others in dire situations despite overwhelming evidence against it. I believe people because I take their word seriously - I give them credit. It's time to do that for ME. A lot of folks have opinions about my life... about what I should and should not do... about how I should live or look or pray or whatever. I appreciate the opinions, they give me items to meditate on. They help me by challenging my status quo... sometimes encouraging an adaptation to a routine or a refining of a skill (oooo, she's sounding so Locke-ian today!).

Moral of my morning story? I'm taking credit for the things I have done well and not so well. I'm taking ownership of my life. I'm tired of waiting for the right thing to come alone... I'm going to go out and make the right thing happen. I'm taking charge of my present instead of waiting for someone else to tell me "yay" or "nay" to given situations. I will continue to listen to the opinions of every important person in my life that offers such a thing... but I am taking charge and giving myself credit.

Attitude. Confidence. Courage. Never leave home without 'em.

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