Went by my old work place today.  Was smart and paid for the all-day parking, because once I get talking with old friends, there’s just no stopping.

It’s been two years and things have progressed along the way they do in a large organization.  Some things changed.  Many things haven’t.

I saw my successor: smart, strong, confident in my old office chair, catching me up on the recent changes.

We met years ago at an HR workshop.  I sat down beside her and discovered I knew her mother (technically she introduced herself and I cried out “oh my god, you’re Judy’s daughter!).  In the workshop they asked what we were trying to figure out in our lives at the time, what chances we wanted to take.  She wanted to take a chance on a new job.  Turned out I was looking to hire an HR Manager for a medical leave coverage.  Two years later she’d moved from our HR Manager, through special projects, into my job.  She was nervous and worried she couldn’t manage the financial aspects.  I had complete faith.

My faith has been rewarded.  More than rewarded.  She is flourishing, as is the Department I left in her care.

For the second year in a row, I stopped by on front office holiday decoration day.  (I have a gift for showing up when there’s treats?)  They set up the tree, put up lights, ate some goodies, decorated with bows and boxes and greenery.

The tree is an old, fake tree.  It was actually mine.  When I moved into my current home I made a personal vow that if I couldn’t fit an item into my apartment, it had to go, no storage room pileups for me!  So one early morning I took my old, fake Christmas tree to the office (when I still worked at one) and snuck it into the storage room with the rest of the holiday gear.  It was accompanied in that trip by a bunch of old ornaments that didn’t make the dear-to-me cut and an old tree skirt my mother made for me when I moved into the basement.

As I walked past the closed front office on my way out of the building today, there was that tree, standing small and kind of proud, with lights and garland, decorations I recognized from my years setting up the tree there and from my old personal collection and beneath it was the tree skirt from my mother.

(Side note:  it turns out you can’t anonymously donate a tree to a department without causing incredible kerfuffle, because apparently people don’t believe in magic tree faeries and start wondering if someone stole the neighbouring Department’s tree when they weren’t looking.  In the end I had to confess to my donation.  Sadness.)

There were a number of other little reminders, little moments when I could smile and point my internal, mental finger at it and go ‘hey, I helped bring that into being!’  You know, reminders of basic operational practices that I helped create and that are still useful and going strong, things like that.

I have left a gift of legacy.  I wasn’t perfect, and by the end I was far from perfect, but still.  I see my successor and hold deep pride that I helped bring her to that place, for her and for the Department.  I see my tree and skirt and can literally see that in odd, small ways I have left behind parts of my self that still serve.

I am honoured to be proud.

I didn’t plan it.  It just happened.  Legacy.

~The Abysmal Witch

An illicit pleasure in lists of achievement

They say the first step is admitting you have a problem.

I like to make lists.  In particular, I like to list what I’ve accomplished in a day.  And I don’t want to just make a written list, I want to tell people.  I don’t because what could be more boring? (Okay, maybe somedays I do with a tweet or to an unlucky close friend, but I really am showing a lot of restraint!)

Maybe it feels more real if I tell others?  Maybe I’m shouting my pride out to the world?  I don’t know, but somehow the thrill of accomplishment is even greater when I can splatter shot the world with proof of it.

On the flip side, there is something really great about listing all you got done in a day.  And if you balance that achievement against how you felt at the start of the day (or how inspired you felt during the day), most times I find I come out ahead.  As in, I’m really freaking proud of what I’ve accomplished.

I take time to count the little things.  It’s easy to count the big things, but the little things can matter even more.  Why? Because they are what you are doing everyday.  If you wait for the thrill of success from a big thing, you could be waiting for awhile.  If you count up your little ‘done’ items, you can be proud of yourself everyday.

Some days just getting out of bed is the biggest accomplishment (that’s where you have to take into account your state of being that you were accomplishing things in, because it can dramatically affect your output and acknowledging that puts a supposed ‘lack’ of accomplishment into its proper perspective).

Other days the list of things that got done can be huge!  I love those days.  They’re usually cleaning days (errand days are pretty good, but errand running can take a lot longer than intended).  The trick is not to count the overall task as just one thing, but to break it out into its component parts that could have been done separately, on different days even.

We forget about the little things.  To count them as part of the larger whole.  Sometimes to plan for them (remembered everything for the ritual except something that could actually light a fire, oops!).  It’s so easy to dismiss them as next to nothing.

But they’re not!  Those little things make up the big moments.  Those little things are what life is made of.  When you tally the little things, you start to see just how full life is.  Don’t gloss over it by using big labels that ignore all the pieces that make it up.

Think I’m going to go make a list of all the things I got done today.  And then I’m going to bask in the glow of how damn good I feel about myself.  😀

Life ho!