Follow Through


People might call me a lot of things, but “athletic” is not one of them. Yet, somehow I got snared into playing softball for many years of my youth. I was pretty horrible at the sport since I could never master that hand-eye coordination bit. During many games and practices, I heard my dad holler from the sidelines, “Follow through. Follow through the ball when you swing!” I just wanted to make a hit, let alone keep swinging!

Then there was golf. What a mess I was! In retrospect, I feel bad for my father. His wife and first two daughters joined him in the game from time to time. But there I was … defective. “Follow through. Follow through the ball when you swing!” If I followed through anymore, I could have dug to China for all the grass I scooped on my swings. But that blasted ball just sat on its perch, taunting me.

Learning to follow through turned out to remain an elusive lesson for me in life, as well as sports. As I neared the end of my college career, rather than firm up relationships for the long haul of life, I pulled away from the friends on whom I had depended for so long. Saying goodbye was hard enough; I suppose my subconscious tried to protect me from the impact. A couple years later, I packed up my belongings as I left behind my New York City apartment and roommate. But in an effort to steel myself for the departure, for weeks prior to my move I had closed myself off to the city and friend I so dearly loved. I quit early on the relationships and experiences because I was unable to follow through.

It took many years for me to recognize and address this personality flaw in myself. I caught on in time to follow through at the last job I held before my second child was born. I prepared myself to walk away from my career with a sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing I had done all I could do. It felt great … my personal home run!

Right now, I’m once again having trouble following through on life. I am so ready to be in Honduras, I’m not focused on the present. I find myself immersed in projects for the trip, rather than interacting with my children. Knowing I’ll be gone for almost two weeks, I should be planning and preparing freezer meals for my family, but I have not even committed to filling our refrigerator now or making meals for us to eat this week. I should be folding my children’s laundry so they have fresh clothes to wear, rather than worrying over what I will pack for the trip. I’m riding along, thinking about being there, so ready to get to the next place.

If I give my attention to now and neglect the thought of leaving, I won’t be ready when the time comes. How does one strike a balance between being present and being prepared to move on? How does one make contact with the target while pushing the momentum far past the field of vision? Suggestions welcome. In the meantime, my wrinkled family will eat cereal for dinner, again… (I’m exaggerating. Sort of.)

3 responses »

  1. How exciting for you! Honduras! Amazing! I don’t have kids, but I know the exact feeling you have. Been there many times – not as intense (no kids), but not in the present. For me, I really had to discipline myself and just make myself a schedule. Fill in what I needed to do for now and the day, and fill in times when I needed to plan for the trip. And I just tried to focus on first things first.

    I think a good plan helps. Then you will feel better about being in the present b/c you’ve already blocked time for the trip stuff. I’m no expert, but I hope it helps a little!

  2. I like Kate’s idea…here’s another thought that might be easier said than done: Find a way to engage your loved ones in helping you prepare for the trip. Are there things they can do that might seem like fun or interesting for them but will also be productive for you?

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