Monday, April 14, 2014

Thinning

I've been in the thick of it for the past few weeks.  But the work is finally starting to thin out for a bit.

Just for a bit.  In time for the nicer weather.

To get to this point, I had to chain myself to my desk last Friday and swear that, come hell or high water, I WOULD get all the grading done, so that I could have a full, blessed TWO days free from all grading.

Another batch of grading arrives today.  Such is the life I have chosen for myself.

I have also finally had to pay the piper on all of the various projects that needed finishing--that is to say, I had to actually finish them.  The ones that can be finished at this time, that is.

And I did.  I have spent the past week systematically plowing through it all.

But lest you feel TOO sorry for me, I'd like to remind you that I now have THREE wonderfully playful and cute kitty cats to keep me company.

Introducing a new cat to the household has been a small study in behavioral psychology, feline edition.  Nevertheless, I've learned a few lessons that I think apply to the human world as well.

Such as, in life, you need to decide what kind of cat you're going to be: will you be the dominant ruler of your territory, or will you occasionally allow others to hunt there too, on very specific terms and with very clear guidelines?

If someone encroaches on your territory, will you fight to the death, or will you just... let it happen?  Or will you steer a middle course between the two, making it clear that what's yours is yours, but that this doesn't mean you aren't willing to live and let live?

How well will you adjust to change?

I think that, in life, we all have to stake out our own turf and script our own terms.  And if I've learned one thing from watching my cats, it's that you have to stick to your terms and be willing to claim your turf.

Others won't simply hand it all over.  And if you just skulk along the perimeter or sit hanging your head and hoping, you'll never get to scamper across the middle of the room fearlessly.

And once you decide who you are, you have to stick to that.  You can't aggressively intrude on someone else's ground, only to retreat in fear, and then try to groom that person as a friend a little while later.

They aren't going to buy it.  They remember what you did.  They saw that side of you.  So now you're stuck with it and with their reaction to it.

Harmony is an ongoing negotiation of personalities, priorities and resources.  On the surface, it may look effortless, but in fact, it is not.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, "Life is short, but there is always time for courtesy."