Jean Croker Petke

On the rails?

On the rails?

Sometimes it’s easy to get our tasks accomplished and/or pursue our passions. Sometimes, it’s not so easy.

Lately, I’ve been struggling to do the things I really want to do — those things I consider a priority: practicing piano, reading, writing, knitting.

The questions I’m asking myself:

  • Have I gotten off the rails, off track, lost my sense of direction and purpose?
  • Am I stalled but still on the tracks, with an inability to choose differently?
  • Am I totally off the tracks?

If I’m off the rails . . .

  • What caused the problem?
  • How do I get back on the rails — assuming that’s the direction I want to continue?

If I’m on the tracks but stalled . . .

  • How do I refuel an engine that’s been idle for several weeks?
  • How do I prevent a fuel shortage in the future?
  • Do I need to look for new tracks?

I’ve wrestled with this dilemma for a few weeks. Traveling and being out of my routine for several weeks, plus lagging energy, are the primary culprits.

Last night the solution began to arrive: make a small decision and “just do it” as the Nike ads say. You see, I’ve not been deciding. Sometimes it’s easier “not to decide” which, in itself, is a decision. Enjoying the momentary comforts and pleasures and relaxation is easiest — the tasks will wait until I’m ready.

Clarity was emerging from the fog: Lack of decision is the problem. It’s not enough to acknowledge my need to practice piano. I must decide to put my butt on the bench and fingers on the keys and begin the work. Limiting the time will make the starting easier. I know from past experience that starting is the hardest moment for me. Once I’m started I’m good for a purposeful time.

Real wisdom came from a Facebook posting this morning:

Be decisive.

Right or wrong,

make a decision.

The road of life

is paved with

flat squirrels

who couldn’t

make a decision.

“Yes,” I said to myself, “decisions are the issue. To not decide is to be dead — on the tracks, on the road, in place. Others will pass by, glance at my body, and say, ‘she didn’t make it!’ By then, I can’t even say that for myself. But recently I’ve been on the way to saying, ‘I won’t make it because I’m not deciding to move forward.'”

Today, I am choosing. I’ll set my sails to catch the breeze. I’ll give my energy to the task at hand. I’m deciding — to put butt in chair to write, to put butt on bench to practice, to begin a new book on my summer patio, and to pick up my knitting which has been left untouched for weeks.

Today I am choosing — only for today. After today, choosing for tomorrow will be a bit easier I think.

I hope you choose — to not be a flat squirrel because you are indecisive.

Road kill — it’s not a pretty sight.

Until next Tuesday . . .


2 Comments - Leave a Comment
  • Karen Baker -

    Jean, what a timely article!! I, too, am struggling with getting my butt in gear. I’m being required to renew my teaching license for work, and that requires 3 Praxis tests. I haven’t been in school since 1979 and I’ve forgotten so much! Your article has given me new hope. Thanks!

    • jcpetke -

      Thanks, Karen. I am confident you will get your preparation done for you tests. Set the overwhelm aside and just get started — one tiny step at a time, consistently, and you will get there.

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