Tough Week 11/13/20

Thoughts by Richard Bleil

This has been yet another in a long line of difficult weeks. For my regular readers this will sound all too familiar, for which I apologize. I hope it ends with a message of hope.

Once again, I tried to convince the financial institutions still keeping part of my inheritance that I am, after all, me. This nonsense has been going on since August (or so); every time I send them more documentation, they tell me it’s all they need, and then they insist on more. I can’t wait to see what’s next. The issue is not really the money. These are retirement funds, and aside from my plan to move and consolidate them to a new institution, I really won’t have access to them for many years. But the problem is that every time I have to talk with them, it just keeps my father’s death fresh in my heart. I would really love to move on.

Today, I put my beautiful motorcycle back on the market. She’s a BMW R1250RT cruiser, and I was fortunate to have found a motorcycle safety course for beginners this late in the year. Unfortunately, I couldn’t cut it. The problem is that I just couldn’t balance on the bike. I’m not sure if I’ll try again or not, but I do know that if I do, by the time I feel confident enough to ride the bike I bought it will be a very long time, and I really don’t want it to sit unused for that long. Putting it on the market broke my heart; it’s the end of a dream, and a reminder of my own shortcomings.

So how does one do difficult tasks? I’ll be honest, I don’t have an answer for you. Somehow, I found the motivation to just do it and get it over with, and a big part of completing difficult tasks is just to do it when you find the courage to do it. I honestly can’t tell you why now; maybe it’s just been weighing on my mind for long enough, but I found the motivation and just did it.

I did cheat. I called on my friend to help me out, especially with the financial institutions. I asked her to just sit with me, and scowl at me if I start to lose my cool while talking with them. I’ve relied on my friends many times for many difficult tasks over the past few years. Sometimes I’ve asked for little more than their reassurance that they will remain my friend or accountability (meaning I ask them to ask me if I competed some specific task after some time), and sometimes I ask them for something more substantial like providing a place for me to rest my head. Never underestimate your friends; mine have never let me down, and I will always love them dearly.

There’s some good news. I still have no closing date on my house, but it seems to be moving (or at least crawling) forward. I’m still very hopeful that we’ll close before Thanksgiving. In addition, I received a mechanized chess set. I had bought two of them; the idea is that it can connect via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to the internet, so you can play other people with the chess set or on a chess website. As your opponent makes a move, their piece moves on your board, so it’s like they are right there. In addition, instead of looking at a screen chess board graphic, I’ll be looking at a real chess board.

I purchased two of them so I could send one to my very good friend (and her husband) overseas. I put the second chess board in the mail, and it’s on its way. Yesterday, I checked the tracking, and it is out of customs in her country and en route to delivery. The board I sent is a gift, and it is entirely possible that this act of altruism helped to give me the emotional fortitude to get these difficult tasks off of my plate.

Acts of kindness have always been important to my emotional state of well-being. The chess board is a big gift, but it doesn’t have to be. One of my favorite (and routine) tricks in Iowa, where I was a dean for a time, I made it a habit to cut in front of students at the campus store acting like a compete jerk. Well, I was a dean, so it’s fair. Then I would buy their items for them.

So, if you have a difficult task, I can’t suggest what you should do, but I’m learning what helps me. An act of kindness puts my heart and spirit in the right state to get it done. I rely on my friends and reach out for their help, even if the help I need is relatively minor and easy for the to do. And, when I have the strength, I just do it, kind of like ripping off a band-aid. I kept repeating that today on my way to the dealer; I kept saying “just rip it off, get it over with”. Tonight, I find myself more relaxed, and in a far better state of mind.

I wish you the best of luck with all of your difficult endeavors. Remember, you’re not alone.

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