The column “Find Your Buried Treasure” appears weekly in the Chanhassen (MN) Villager. This column was published on October 14, 2010.

I drove down to Chicago with my sister last Friday, so we could drive up to Milwaukee on Saturday for a family wedding. After the wedding and luncheon, we drove back to Chicago so my sister could attend her high school reunion and I could spend some time with my dad. On Sunday, we had a birthday party for our nephew – who turned 13 this week – and for three other relatives whose birthdays have already passed, but recently enough that we could still get away with having a party for them as long as we were in the area. Then on Monday we drove back home to Minneapolis.

 Although it may sound like it was a jumble of a weekend, it’s actually one in which everything fell into place nicely. We had a bit of juggling and adjusting to do in the first place with regard to the timing and agenda, but everything ended up fitting together neatly and smoothly, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

It doesn’t always work that way. Sometimes, trying to coordinate even two events or activities within a weekend – or a week – seems like mission impossible. The change of a detail in one of them necessitates a change in the other, and that creates another conflict with the first one. And after spending more time bouncing between the two than the situation warrants, we still end up with irreconcilable differences.

At other times, we fit more things into a day – easily and effortlessly – than seems humanly possible. We move along comfortably from one place or project to the next, and it’s only in hindsight or when we’re checking things off our list that we realize how much we’ve accomplished in a short amount of time.

There may be divine or cosmic forces at work in all of this, but I think a lot of it – even the things that seem beyond our control – has to do with our attitude, our determination, and our reasons for doing the things we do. And that goes for the things we do on a day-to-day basis as well as on special occasions or in extenuating circumstances. I know that sometimes I’m on the go all day with meetings, appointments, and coaching sessions, and I’m more energized at the end of the day than I was when I first started out in the morning. On other days, that kind of schedule can exhaust me.

Of course, having a sunup-to-sundown schedule too often or for too many days in a row would be exhausting even under the best of circumstances. I also cherish and enjoy the times when I can sit in front of my computer for most of the day, engrossed in my writing. Those are the times when I can feel lost in space – in a good way – to the point where I’m a bit disoriented when I come up for air. It’s as if I’ve been in another world, and it takes a few minutes for me to return to this one.

Sometimes I wonder about these two “extremes” in my personality and in the work that I do. Some of it involves being active, involved, and busy with other people and events, and I love that. But some of it requires being alone, quiet, and reflective, and I love that, too. This doesn’t really bother me, except when I’m doing a personality profile or taking a quiz that’s supposed to help me determine my learning style or working style or what type of career or activities I’m best suited for. That’s when I feel like I have a split personality or some other condition I should be concerned about. The rest of the time I just enjoy wherever I am and whatever I’m doing, and I’m thankful for the variety, the opportunities, and the challenges in my life. And for the times when everything falls into place and fits together neatly and smoothly, like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

© Betty Liedtke, 2010