Interestingly enough, my Jack’s Smack day happens to fall on my birthday this year.
This got me thinking about “my performance” thus far. Birthdays represent an end and a beginning all tied up together. Oftentimes these moments lead to reflection.
I started ruminating on what kind of grade I deserve on my performance in “life,” so far.
Were you a straight A student in your youth? Did you nail every class? Were you achievement driven? Well, I sure wasn’t. Yes I definitely got more than my fair share of As, but I also got a smattering of Bs, Cs,… and maybe a D thrown in there for good measure. Honestly, I can’t remember.
“I honestly can’t remember some of my grades”
It seemed pretty straightforward back then. Sign up to participate in and be judged (graded) for something which we know little or anything about.. Did we even consider that fact when we were sitting there that first day of calculus or with an intact Hamlet book spine? Yes, I know many of us at least knew something prior to the first day of class. But the whole premise of the exercise was to gain information, expand our knowledge base, and prepare us for… what?
Sure, if you are now a mathematician, English literature teacher, lawyer, or the like, those classes directly impacted you. What about the rest of us?
I honestly can’t remember some of my grades… and maybe it’s just convenient that I don’t recall if I ever actually got a D. It makes me wonder why I bothered to make note at the time or spend time worrying about the “score”.
I know I am not alone. Many of us spent countless hours perseverating over our GPAs. Now, I’m left to grade myself. Yes, I understand there are plenty of people out there probably judging away. But, unlike during my formal education years, they really don’t matter.
Birthday Report Card:
“When I turned the B into a 3.0, I felt a twinge of unease in my belly.”
So, if forced to give myself some sort of Birthday Report Card on the most important, no-do-overs, most convoluted and complex class ever – LIFE — I find myself stuck at a B. If I am going to be honest, I am a solid B life student.
When I turned the B into a 3.0, I felt a twinge of unease in my belly. I struggle with the notion of scoring 3.0 in anything. I sat with that “grade” for a few days this week. My discomfort bothered me. When did I/we decide 80+% was bad? Failure almost.
We expect so much from ourselves. We sign up for endless endeavors that require our energy, mindshare and physical time. Each day is filled to the brim with: Self care. Family Care. Pet care. Career care. And more.
Luckily, we are equipped with an amazing gift: rationalization. Remember that movie, The Big Chill?
“Sam Weber : Why is it what you just said strikes me as a massive rationalization? Michael : Don’t knock rationalization; where would we be without it? I don’t know anyone who could get through the day without two or three juicy rationalizations. They’re more important than sex.”
I don’t deserve a B all the time. Some moments and even days I’m nailing 100%. Then there are the full-on never-get-out-of-my-pajama days that wreak havoc with my average. It’s MY report card. I can construct it any which way I choose. Let me be clear: rationalizations are way better than grading curves.
And as we’ve already seen, if I give myself a B in LIFE at 57, chances are high that in another 40 years I won’t remember THIS grade, either.