Hi all!  Given it’s New Year’s Eve, and it’s my goal over time to have all my old Blue Skies Mag columns re-posted here on highcomms, I thought I’d post this one now.
This column reflects back one year ago exactly to last New Year, what was going on then, what ridiculousness I got myself involved in, and of course what I learned as a result.  But the column isn’t even the point of this post… the point is that in looking back a full year, over a longer term, we are able to see how far we’ve come… and celebrate that. 🙂

We’ve done a lot.  Here’s to a new New Year.. a full and fantastic 2012.. here’s to us.

Blue Skies Magazine, February 2011
Life Coaching Column #10
Issue #17

“Paint The Fence”

By Melanie Curtis
I’ve never been addicted to drugs.  Well, not illegal drugs.  I’ve never put a needle in my arm, smoked anything scary, or popped perpetual pills.  I have of course had an addiction for the last 15 years to my own adrenaline nicely provided to me by the sky.  Thank you, sky.  I certainly classify this as a “positive” addiction, but an addiction nonetheless.  I mean, how many of us can relate to that feeling we get when it’s been a little too long between trips to the DZ for our fix?  Yeah.
We all know this feeling, so why a column about it?

It seems addiction is all over the place.

Skydiving, sex, mocha light frappacinos.  I am addicted to productivity and progress.  No wonder I’m a freakin’ life coach.  Another positively skewed addiction I’d say, given I do get a lot done all the time, I’m a mover and shaker, make “the most” out of my life, etc etc.  All good things.  That said… just like with any addiction, when those withdrawal symptoms kick in… look out.
So where’s the a-ha?  Well, see, I just got a new house.  No kidding, got it on New Year’s Eve, completely poetic end to 2010 and entry into 2011.  Outstanding.  Threw up a bed in the guest room to sleep on before the boyfriend and king-size bed arrive, and voila, homestead.  Yay!  Next step before any real moving-in can happen—paint the walls.  Painters hired, check. … … … … (The excess of ellipsis here are my literary attempt to convey significant time passing.  Cool?  Cool.)  So, here we are, 11 days later… I’m still sleeping in the guest room… still surrounded by piles that can’t be put away… still living out of a suitcase.  Writing this, it sounds ridiculous, because it’s easy to see that none of these things are the end of the world.  Duh, I mean, there are children starving in Somalia everyday for God’s sake, and I get to skydive and talk to awesome people for a living.  I know I have no real problems at all in the grand scheme.
And this is exactly my point.

In the face of addiction, or rather the withdrawal from it, we can crack under the pressure and end up doing things that we ordinarily would never do for reasons that to any outsider seem completely crazy.

Maybe it’s the cliché stealing Grandma’s watch for cash… maybe it’s snapping at your partner when a simple hug and kiss would completely diffuse your angst… maybe it’s checking your email while talking on the phone with the person that normally would always get your full attention.  For me, it was crying like a girl at the thought of having to choose new paint colors, totally upset that the red was the wrong red and I didn’t know which red would be the right red.
Hahaa, yeah… we all know this is not about the red.  Whatever red ends up on these walls is gonna be the right red.  And beautiful.  The idea of having to figure out new colors to me meant more waiting with the stationary piles and dirty laundry.  More waiting for my hit off progress crack pipe.  And I didn’t even know it.  I had to crumble and be totally embarrassed in order to figure it out.  Although I did give my painter a free lesson in life coaching, me serving as emotional client, exhibit A.  You’re welcome, nice painter guy.
This type of stress is like the Cobra Kai in the original Karate Kid, seems to come out of nowhere and drops us to the mat.  (“Sweep-the-leg… do you have a problem with that?” “No, sensei.”)  We may not see it coming, but dang do we notice it post freak-out.  We can choose to get taken out by sweep-the-leg over and over, or we can take a breather in the locker room, listen to our inner Mister Miyagi, and learn how to battle back differently next time.  Thing is, once we know sweep-the-leg is coming, we are instantly better equipped to employ our sweet Daniel-san one-leg-balance move that ends up kicking our withdrawal freak-outs in the proverbial Cobra Kai face.  And then our hot girlfriend runs out and jumps on us.  Yeah, I choose that scenario.  Conscious choice… we can only do it once we know our deal.  And we can only know our deal after we make the effort to look for it.  It’s not about the red.  Paint the fence.  Melsinore, out.
So what happened last year for you?  What did you experience?  What did you say you wanted to do?  Look back…  What have you learned?  And most importantly, what are you going to do differently (or the same!) in 2012?
Awesome awesome awesome. 😀  This is me ridiculously excited.  Absolutely love the energy of new beginnings.  Let’s take that energy and ride the wave right into 2012.  Booyah touchdown we make miracles happen.  Jerry MacGuire, people.