Measuring My Initiative

Does taking initiative come easily to me? Hmmm, not sure. It’s hard to self-measure my initiative per se. Not sure if I’m a very “initiative-taking” person vs. not very. Not recalling if my initiative-taking abilities tend to be praised or criticized. Fortunately, the Thesaurus says that initiative spans many characteristics like self-motivation, get-up-and-go, inventiveness, imagination, ingenuity, originality, creativity, enterprise, drive, ambition, energy, vision. I think I have some healthy amounts of at least some of these, as does pretty much everybody.


Looking back over the time I’ve been retired, I’ve managed to take initiative and accomplish something noteworthy every year:

Year 1 – Took a course to become a Certified Nurse Assistant — 7 months of intense study, dysfunctional classmates, disorganized instructor, and endless wackiness.

Year 2 – Was determined to put my new CNA license to use, so I filled out applications and interviewed for jobs, and ended up working for Always Best Care Agency and for Odyssey Hospice — the most physically challenging jobs I’ve ever had. Made the wise decision to retire (again).

Year 3 – Wanted to learn to make pottery, and decided to transform a storage area under my garage to make it into a ceramics studio. This required a contractor and weeks of work — digging out a ton of dirt, pouring concrete supports and floor, adding a door and windows, installing electricity and plumbing, and building lots of shelving.

Year 4 – In order to put my new studio into use, I studied ceramics and took classes at Palo Alto Art Center and San Mateo Ceramics Studio. Made lots of different stuff, with varying results, and pottery became a real hobby of mine.

Year 5 – Undertook a gigantic re-do of my house as described over the past months here and here.

It could take me the rest of the year to recover from that last project. And, with arrival of the lazy days of Summer, the furthest thing from my mind is revving-up my initiative to take on a big project.

That being said, I’d love it if I could get going on culling out unnecessary belongings, especially old paperwork and stuff in the garage. It seems like everyone is enamored of the same idea — The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo is a #1 Best Seller! When I finish reading it, I hope I’ll be filled with initiative in that direction. Chances of actually finishing such a project are about 0% because I know I’ll never feel I’m completely free of clutter.

[Img.Src: Nancy Roman – space pioneer]

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