Do I Need A Handler?

Do I Need A Handler?

I don’t really like change; I like predictability.  In fact, I have spent much of my life discerning how things that appear to be unpredictable are, to a high degree, predictable.

As an expert in human behavior, it is clear that even reactive people have only a limited set of “reactions.”  I’m not saying that I can forecast the future or have the insight to predict a person’s impulsive behavior.  However, once you get to know a person you can see their behavioral patterns emerge.  Reactive people tend to respond in more reactive ways.  I tend to react in predictable ways.  Some people like my steady consistency, others find it boring.  But I digress.

I now am entering the two-week countdown to the end of my private practice.  Everyone is congratulating me on my impending retirement.  They are asking, “What next?” Those who know me understand that I won’t spend my new-found time oscillating in a rocking chair.  However, dear reader, I am also asking the same question of myself.  In fact, I have been thinking about this question for years.  I have come up with, modified, and discarded some ideas.

A part of this problem is predicated on my ambivalence.  In my formative years, people (teachers mostly) told me that I was destined for great things. Hear that a few times and you start to believe it.  I have squandered an opportunity or two to do “great things” over the course of my life.  I think the “great things” portion of my life is over.  I lived my professional life doing what I felt that I should do, rather than living up to some artificial (and likely untrue) expectation. I believed that I should be a practicing doctor, who spent at least a part of his time providing services to the underserved.  I am steadfast that this was the right thing for me to do, but hardly “great things” worthy.

The current status of my retirement will only give me two extra days a week.  This is limiting.  I am battling with the idea of doing something significant vs. something significant to me. What is meaningful to me varies.  Some of it is trivial, some not.

I have started the process of organizing things in my home.  Doing these mundane tasks offers some satisfaction, but organization always tends to move back to disorganization.  The pantry that I spent two days cleaning a few months ago is once again in chaos… And so it goes.

With that said, there is a satisfaction doing concrete and time-limited tasks.  I have tackled a number of these tasks over the last year.  I have much more to do. Some I accomplished with my friend, Tom.  Others, by myself or with the help of my kids.  A few with my wife.  

But I digress again…

It is clear to me that I’m having difficulty writing this piece.  I think that it must create a subconscious angst in me.  It is one thing to dream of doing something; it is another thing to do it.

Beyond the mundane tasks, I have creative goals.  I want to get back to playing my guitar.  I am toying with taking guitar lessons. Oddly, I feel like I need to get better at playing before I take lessons, as I don’t want to waste the teacher’s time.  I know this is ridiculous.  I am thinking about learning a foreign language.  A monumental task as I have terrible auditory discrimination and even worse short-term memory.  I want to expand some of my current creative outlets. I wonder if my friend Tom would let me help him a bit.  It would be exciting to allow myself to learn from someone.

None of the above seem sufficient to me.

OK, I’m stalling. Let’s get down to business…

As I had mentioned in past posts, I was a creative little kid before I discovered science.  I could come up with fantastic stories, I could play the piano by ear, I could build and create things.  I gave up most of that when I decided to move my life in an analytic direction.

I come from a family of writers and creators.  I want to write and create.  I have always had the desire to combine multiple interests into something bigger. What, I have no idea.

I continue to try to improve my writing, but I don’t have a clear voice.  I take nice photographs, but I don’t have a distinct style.  A part of me fights having a particular voice or style as I don’t want to be limited.  I know that this ambiguity is not the road to success.

I also know that I have a passion to know the stories of others.  I see the extraordinary in the ordinary.  The uncommon in common. The treasure in the discarded.  How do I join all of these together?

I want to explore places, connect with people.  I have come up with dozens of ideas, but I have been unable to move forward due to fear and lack of protocol.  

When I founded Genesis 25 years ago, I did it with other partners.  One loved business; the other was an extrovert with superior people skills.  I came to the table with creative, technical, and problem-solving skills.  Together, we formed a formattable package.  Each complementing the other.  I think I need that now.

I need a person (or people) who have the skills that I lack.  I need to brainstorm ideas.  I need someone with connections to help me achieve my goals.  I need someone who can take my ideas and help me turn them into something that would be relatable to others, not just to me. I need a compassionate handler. I need a lot.

I have no idea how to find such a person or group.  I have no idea why anyone would want to help me in this pursuit.  I just know that this is the missing link.  The link to take me to the next step.

My life has been characterized by being fully independent and a self-learner.  My HIgher Power has slowly moved me in a new direction where I have been asking others for help.  This process has been both wonderful and terrifying to me.  When I build my courage to ask for help my childhood tapes play loudly.  I wait to hear, “I’m busy.”  “Don’t bother me.” “That can’t be done.” “Why do you want to do that!” In reality what I typically hear is, “Sure.” “Let me try.” “No problem.”  I need to use my psychological awareness to move past my old garbage and into a brave new world.  However, I need a bit of a miracle to know who or what to turn to for this great adventure.

I find life so interesting and complex.  Onward and upward.  Turn every disadvantage into an advantage. God, show me the way.


8 thoughts on “Do I Need A Handler?”

  1. Dear Dr Mike

    I caught a nice story on the radio. They had invited listeners to write in with any life-changing moments that were provoked by listening to the radio. A woman got in touch with them about how she had been very moved by hearing Sir Kyffin Williams on ‘Desert Island Discs’. She said she was an artist and had produced a lot of work, but wasn’t going anywhere with it. After hearing the radio programme, she said she felt she had to meet him in person. Eventually, she managed to get in touch with Sir Kyffin, and he agreed to her visiting him at his home on Anglesea.

    When they met, he first chatted to her in the garden. He must have been a bit cagey about letting her in his home. But he did let her in, and she asked him to look at one of her paintings. It was a landscape. Fortunately, he like it. He held it at arms length, studied it, and said…

    “You already have everything you need. Don’t give up.”

    That was the pivot point in her life. She’s now a successful artist in her own right.

    On a personal note, Sir Kyffin Williams’ first choice of ‘disc’ was Chopin’s Nocturne in E flat major, Op. 9/2, which was one of my dad’s favourite tunes (that he regularly played on the piano when he got in from work).


    Best wishes, John

  2. Hi Dr Mike

    I found the audio to that story I mentioned (above), and I want to share it with you because it is quite inspirational. Hope you find time to listen. It’s only about 6 minutes long. Artists or writers – it’s all the same.

    Best wishes, John

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