Recalibration part 2

Well, I’ve had a nice vacation, and it is time to get back into the swing of things.  I said at the end of the last post that I would give you some examples of when I have had to recalibrate, so here goes.

I have a GPS in my car, and sometimes I use it and miss a turn because I don’t understand where it meant to turn, and sometimes I just know a better way, so I just don’t turn when it tells me to.  When I have a ‘normal’ voice turned on in it, it says “recalculating” and figures a new route.  When I have the voice my husband bought me, Sponge Bob Square Pants, he says – usually in an exasperated voice – “redoing things!”  Either way I think that is pretty much what we are doing when we recalibrate. Maybe something happened that we didn’t expect, so we  ‘redo things’  and move on.  Sometimes it’s a slight change of direction that doesn’t seem to affect much, and sometimes it’s a huge course change that changes your whole life.

An example of the smaller changes is pretty common, and most everyone has to face them at some point.  You are driving down the road and run into construction.  Your “redoing things” may be as simple as having to slow down, or you may have to move over a lane, or something simple like that.  Or it may be bigger, and you may have to take a major detour around the work.  Or you may drive down to the cleaners you go to, only to find that they have suddenly closed, and you have to find a new place to do your cleaning. These are examples of the kind of recalibrating that you do almost everyday, usually without thinking about it much.

Then there are the huge recalibrations you sometimes need to make in life.  Maybe you lose your job, or a relationship you have been in falls apart.  You may do your recalibrations fairly easily and move on when these things happen, but they may hit you a little harder and you may have to stop and actually rethink how your life looks now.  And these huge things may happen becasue you decide they need to, or they may be thrust upon you by someone else’s decision.

I had a job once that I really loved.  I was working for a smaller company, doing some creative work that I loved,  with someone who I really worked well with – I thought I would finish my career there.  Of course, things have a way of changing, and the company got bought out by a bigger company from the other coast.  Needless to say there were some major changes going on with the way work was done, the corporate culture – everything.  I stuck it out for a while, but at some point I had to sit down and look at where the company was going and decide whether or not that is where I wanted to go.  I left the company and moved on, but not without a lot of thought about what it meant to move on. Basically I needed to recalibrate and figure out if the changes were something I wanted to live with or not,  and what my life was going to look like if I moved on..

I am a musician as well, and several times in my life it has been time to move on from groups I have played with.  I am not proud to admit that I did not make these kinds of changes well.  In the past I have tended to not be able to overcome my inertia and actually quit when I needed to.  In looking back at those days now, I can see that what might have helped me was to sit down and recalibrate my thoughts and beliefs about what I am and what I do – and realize that what I do is NOT who I am. I can see now that my belief system had come to be “if I don’t play with this group, no one will ever ask me to play with them again.” That was a thought that was unfounded, and recalibrating earlier on might have saved me a lot of hassles.

The biggest recalibrations in my life have been around raising my son. If you want to really see what recalibration is about, look at someone’s life with a child.  Parents are constantly having to reinvent themselves as parents, due to the simple fact that children are constantly growing and needing different things from them.  You cannot parent an infant the same way you parent a toddler, or a teenager, or a young adult.  Of course there are constants – at every stage in a child’s life they need unconditional love.  But what that looks and feels like is different at different stages.  I think the point that I most clearly remember having to consciously recalibrate as a parent was the day my son got his driver’s license.  One day I was needed to drive him to this friend’s house, or that rehearsal, or this after-school event; the next day I was congratulating him on passing his test and handing over car keys so he could drive himself to all the aforementioned places.  I felt totally unneeded for a while.  I had to do some serious thinking about what being the mother of a driver looked like – that’s recalibration!

So do you have any times when you have had to consciously recalibrate to move forward with your life?  Was it losing a job or a spouse, moving to a new place, taking on a new career?  Do you have times when you can look back and realize that you were just recalibrating as you went – not thinking about it, just doing it?  I’d love it if you want to share your stories…..

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