Not just grateful but formidable

“It’s all there, the good, the bad, but so are we and why not be not just grateful but formidable.”

Joan F, commented here

I am not good at maps, or navigating, or spatial orientation in general.

I am very good at getting lost and not freaking out about it. I am an expert at finding places to turn the car around. And I have developed a knack for estimating the amount of time it *should* take me to get somewhere plus the moments required to make a wrong turn, realize it, and get back on route. I end up getting to most places mostly on time.

Compensation is part of survival.

But sometimes we compensate for the lack of a skill instead of doing the work to gain the skill.

Maybe it’s not a skill that missing, but a sense or talent or natural ability that can’t be learned. There will always be a deficit in that area. Sure. But usually—not always, usually—there are skills to be learned, available skills, that will lessen the deficit.

I’m better, much better, at finding my way around than I was a year ago. And that’s solely because I’ve been driving myself and the kids everywhere. I still miss the turn on routes I know a couple of times a week—the deficit remains.

But it is smaller.

I’ve been noticing lately, as I make choices in a post-divorce life, that there are two ways to lean. There’s the compensation lean.

The other lean is the formidable lean, the power move. It’s staring at the lack, the space, and deciding to fill it with exactly what’s missing. It means learning the skills necessary to provide what is lacking, rather than learning to find a way to live without it.

A long time ago I had a little mantra that got me through feeling inadequate, ill-equipped, unqualified—an imposter—about my own work, and it’s serving me well in many ways now:

I can learn what I need to learn when I need to learn it.

Heck yeah we can.