393. Skill Set

14715304123_e242f425a7_z This is the conversation that preceded my decision to go to Business School:

(at a nice dinner – just me and Tanpo)

Me: Dad, I don’t want to go to Business School.

Dad: Swee-tie, [Dad pronounces this with the emphasis on the second syllable.] …maybe you should go back to school and get some REAL skills.

I’m pretty sure I demurred politely but inside I was like, SKILLS?!? I have skills. I am SO skilled it’s not even funny, Daddy.

[45 minutes elapse]

Me: You’re right, Dad, I should probably take the GMAT and apply anyway.

Welcome to our world. Tanpo’s powers of persuasion are not to be underestimated.

I once showed up in my Dean’s office while I was an undergraduate at Georgetown to ask if it was okay that I was enjoying my education as much as I was. I had enough credit from high school that I didn’t have to take any math, science, or French. So I signed up for all of those Jane Austen courses, lots of History (world and music), and Theology. And that’s how I ended up in that conversation with Daddy when he told me to go get some real skills. But although my education didn’t make sense to me (or Dad) at the time the fact that I got lots of writing practice comes in handy now. When I did go back to school (Georgetown again – MSB ’09 – apparently I bleed Hoya Blue) I learned about how to position a product appropriately, etc. That is definitely useful knowledge, too (even though this is not a product, it’s my life).

30. My New Cohort

30. My New Cohort

My schooling has influenced what I’m able to do now in terms of marketing Recovery for public consumption. But I find myself increasingly drawing on my recollection of movement, visualization, alignment, and how to throw your weight around as I pursue greater mobility. I’ve pointed out before that I have always been too tall and heavy to get off the ground in any meaningful way in practice, but my theoretical knowledge is helping me now. I noticed last week that my legs automatically started moving like they were finding their spot on a balance beam while I did an exercise and watched my reflection in the mirror. It totally worked – Coach R didn’t have to intervene heavily (more than usual) that time.  I used to think of a split leap on a beam when M37 tested me monthly at Planet Rehab and I was even less sure about bearing weight on one leg. And the transition away from gait belt usage has been eased by the familiarity of spotting techniques as opposed to PT-style guarding.

41.  One Leg at a Time

41. One Leg at a Time

Sometimes my old knowledge surfaces just to entertain – not to help apart from stress relief. Example: While I was stalling between sets this morning at The Gym I told Trainer D I’d give him $10 to get up on the TRX (strung up really high) and do an iron cross. Heh heh. His shoulders are problematic so he didn’t. That would’ve been hysterical, though. I have high hopes that his shoulders will improve soon.

TRX

TRX

14508912000_4e235e607a_z

Iron Cross

Earlier in the week I offered to spot Coach R while he did a cartwheel on the yellow-taped line on the floor I was side-stepping on (with my ankles wrapped up in a Theraband). He was not interested even after I told him not to worry – “I’ll talk you through it!” Sheesh. I can’t imagine what he would’ve been concerned about. 🙂

RecoveryLand can get too somber if I don’t make an effort to keep things “interesting” for everyone. You’re welcome, guys.

Seriously, though, I cannot claim that I was wholly unprepared to meet the situation I found myself in when my brain bled. Every skill/technique I use to make it through the day I learned in my Old Life – which was probably a lot less complicated than yours is now. I wrote to the N’s that for the first time I didn’t just have a “generally benevolent wish to ‘serve the Lord’” but my particular skills could fill a specific need in Burundi. I was thrilled at this prospect and when I went there in person I was amazed at how “natural” if felt. I marched around the Mission with my laptop under my arm – just like at home. We did Excel training and I made some stuff up so I could “lecture” on data integrity while JJ translated everything I said into Kirundi or French. It was fantastic. I knew I could do it and everywhere we went the wheels in my mind were turning: Hmmm…tell me more about this chicken project; how many people tend the goats at the school? are they teachers, too?

I was busily modeling in my head since we didn’t have time to do anything else but what was at hand. Ah, well, I thought – there’s a lot of work to be done but there will be plenty of time for that. Within a few weeks time stopped for me and (although I didn’t accept this until several months later) my dream of moving to Africa crumbled. But the skills I need to do the work before me remain intact. I’m just physically limited, that’s all. But we’re working on that.

Ann Ning Learning How |Nonprofit books on Amazon!

4 thoughts on “393. Skill Set

  1. (a) Your writing skills are amazing, as evidenced by this post.
    (b) That photo of your Dad is out of control! Next time I come by, mebbe we can look at more old photos?
    (c) Thank you for including visuals of the TRX and iron cross. I woulda had to google search otherwise.
    (d) I love seeing inside your mind when you were visiting Burundi… and your word choice of “crumble” seems so apt. From my human perspective it doesn’t make sense either… but I do recognize (as you’ve often pointed out) that the Lord’s ways are bigger than ours.
    (e) Love you and am praying for you!

      • So many similarities with the “ideal” use of your lifetime learning that could be put to good use in Burundi and with a problem-free path for the early disciples to spread the Gospel which our Lord could have allowed. Instead, the hinderances experienced by the early Church deepened their dependance on Him and led to their greater maturity in the faith and His work continued in His timing and way. “Lean on, trust in, and be confident in the Lord with all your heart and mind and do not rely on your own insight or understanding. In all your ways know, recognize and acknowledge Him, and He will direct and make straight and plain all your paths.” Easier read than lived, but my prayers continue for you, my dear Ning. A.T.

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