Thursday, June 17, 2010

work hard, be smart

The Current city is Chicago, which is great and different. You can bring your own beer to restaurants and your own food to bars. It’s bizarre and wonderful. Again, the notion of progress is at the front of my mind. Everyone has a different definition of that word and up until recently mine was a decision followed by immediate action. A complete lack of planning with everything depending on the process and the outcome was often not what I had hoped for.

Setbacks are surprisingly common with a lack of planning. For some reason I’ve been watching travel and adventure documentaries non-stop over the last two days (fine, I realize that link is pretty transparent and obvious,) and the lesson, the point, the rule that I keep coming to is that nothing of value comes to you easily or quickly. The culture I grew up in was one of trying to get as much as fast and as easily as possible. Work smart not hard.

It’s almost anti-human in a way. You spend your entire day sitting, often doing intangible work for pay that you never actually see. Everything is done via wire. Don’t get me wrong; I love technology, LOVE IT. I foam at the mouth every time Apple makes something new that promises to make me a better person. But I think I’ve lost the plot.

I’ve been missing out on a lot of learning because of a serious lack of exertion. Meghan completely understood the meaning of hard work. She understood what one gains from the amount of effort put in to something you don’t necessarily care about. The process is completely important. The struggle is where you find meaning and truth. Not the finish. Meghan never had a problem throwing herself into something that was difficult. She wouldn’t bat an eyelash at work. Real work. Real effort. Her mother told me about the time when she decided to go to University. She would come home from High School and spend the rest of the day at the dining room table pouring over textbooks to ensure her entry to the school of her choice. I spent high school taking naps and barbequing. Meghan graduated in four years from a difficult program at a great school. It took me six years, two schools and three different majors. I didn’t know what I wanted to do because I didn’t do any groundwork. And I get that now.

I’m becoming more comfortable making plans that are three months, six months and even a year out that I’m going to stick to and not waiver. I understand there is progress in a simple conversation with the founder and director of the Merasi School in India. I’m not leaving tomorrow or next week but I know that just talking to her and having a connection means something. Making a budget is progress. Running three times a week is progress. Talking to people about Meghan is progress. Knowing that Meghan would be happy with my progress is progress. Continually learning from Meghan is progress. Thank you, Meghan, for being the biggest and best part of my life. I will be eternally grateful for all of the lessons and the life to come.

Further proof that Meghan was dedicated to her work; this past saturday, June 12, 2010, Meghan was awarded the Personal Support Worker Certificate posthumously for the program she was enrolled in last winter. There was never a question she would have finished at the top of her class. As her father walked across the stage to accept her certificate, Mr. Baker and Meghan were met with thunderous applause from the thousands in the arena.


Anonymous said...

Speaking of hard work, how are you planning on getting your PhD if you had so much difficulty at university? That takes a lot of planning.

It is fine if you want to confuse people into buying you fancy technology and paying for your trip, when they think it is going toward helping people with cancer, but none of this means anything unless you start working towards goals that will actually mean something.

iamthenarwhal said...

I definitely appreciate your honesty. A lot. I didn't necessarily have a lot of difficulty with university, i was simply lazy. Too lazy. The point I was trying to make is that I'm not anymore, I intend to take the long and difficult road to accomplish these goals. I know obtaining a PHD is extremely difficult and will take a very, very long time. All of these trips I'm planning are working towards the goal of continuing education in language research when I get back. I want there to be a well documented record of my volunteer work that I can submit along with applications as proof of my intentions and ability to work hard over a long period of time. Again, I am really glad that you wrote what you did. I want all of everything that I am doing to be completely transparent and honest. If you are concerned about anything else definitely email me. The more feedback I get, positive or negative, the stronger this entire project gets.

Janice said...

I was at Meghan's graduation at Lambton College when her Dad was presented with her diploma posthumously. As a Professor of another program, I did not know her personally but from what we were told of her, we were proud, darn proud of who she was, her drive and determination to keep moving forward!!!! Thunderous applause? Oh yes!! Neutral wasn't an option for Meghan ... and it doesn't look like it is for you either, Adam. Carry on... study hard...learn life's lessons as you go. You'll make it!

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