As I continued to struggle with managing my energy today I remembered what I came to call the Archie-Norm rule.
My Dad, Archie, frequently asked me to help him with tasks around the house and yard, partly because he often needed the help, but partly because he wanted to teach me to work and to gain skills. Dad liked to fix things or build things, and plenty of these projects were all around in the 1950′s.
As a pre-teen and teenager I would often get anxious about having to help, or to keep helping long past my comfort level. Dad would respond to my dissatisfaction with, “There’s nothing so bad that it couldn’t be worse.” Then he would validate that rule statement with some logic that made sense, and I would hang in there for a while longer. In this regard, Dad was an in-the-moment philosopher and would apply this phrase to other aspects of life as well. He was really quite good at managing scarcity during the depression and post-war era.
In the 60′s as I started my own family, went to college, and found a career path, I came to realize that the opposite of Archie’s rule was true as well, “There’s nothing so good that it couldn’t be better.” Archie’s rule helped him put up with lots of adversity and lack of opportunity in his early years. Now, Norm’s rule helped me to take advantage of abundance in learning and consulting environments.
Mid-afternoon today, I found a sense of perspective in the fact that things could be worse for me than they are, as I applied Archie’s rule and his logic. I could be immobile, I could be even more tired than I am, etc. That will come I’m sure.
Could be much better ++
Could be better +
As things are now 0
Could be worse -
Could be much worse – -
Tonight, knowing that I can think of these levels in a fairly clear-headed way, gives me a sense of gratitude — a framework within which to choose and to move — that helps me endure Day 13 of chemotherapy and its increasing side-effects. Things could be better, and they could be worse. So what tomorrow will bring doesn’t seem so ominous at this writing — 8:00 PM tonight.