Virtues – #resound 11

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What good have you done in 2011? Where do you really shine? What have you done that makes you proud of yourself?

This writing prompt has made me realize that I don’t usually think about my accomplishments.  I write lists of daily gratitudes, and lots of lists and maps about what to do — but not thinking about what I have DONE.

When I was a university professor, I always kept a running tally of my accomplishments:   a presentation here, an article there, recitals, committee work, awards.  In academia, this exercise is always for the purpose of justifying one’s existence, a piece of ammunition in the competitive snake-pit that is the tenure and promotion process.

Revisiting this idea now, I see that listing one’s accomplishments can be done simply for oneself.  A tool for reflection.  It is rewarding to see and know that one has accomplished something.  Such a list can be a vital part of a feedback loop that inspires perseverance and confidence in the ability to continue to accomplish and contribute in meaningful ways.

I did accomplish a lot in 2011, come to think of it.  I stayed afloat in the “tough economy,” probably by never accepting the agreement (for myself) that the economy was tough.  I kept telling myself that some people thrive in tough economies, and some people go belly-up when the overall economy is booming.   So “flotation” is a matter of persistence over time, and directed and strategic actions, taken daily.  That is an accomplishment.

But when I think about the good I have done this year, where I shine, and instances where I feel proud of myself, I’m now in the realm of intangibles.  I was a loving and supportive partner.  I enjoyed the hell out of my adult children.  I created warm and hospitable environments at home and in public, for humans and felines.  I held a beloved dying pet in my arms as she was euthanized.

The common quality shared by the items in this short list is love, and perhaps friendship, and loyalty.  I don’t always agree with my friends, I stand my ground, and sometimes my partner and my friends must feel profoundly irritated by me.  But I don’t think there’s ever a doubt that I am there for them, and that I will be there.

How would you answer these questions for yourself?  Please leave a comment.

[I’ll be writing daily — ish — each day in December, as part of #resound11 and #reverb11. Join us here.}

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2 thoughts on “Virtues – #resound 11

  1. Y’know, like you, I don’t often list my accomplishments – unless I’m writing a resume. You’ve given me much to think about!

    Congrats for not caving to the economy. And, wow, my heart goes out to you for having a pet euthanized. Congrats to you for being brave enough to hold him/her in your arms during that transition.

    Also, I like that you are there for your loved ones. That is such a wonderful, stabilizing gift to give to those you love. 🙂

    See you tomorrow! 🙂

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