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Apr 18, 2019

Satisfaction vs. Achievement

In less than two weeks my new book Too Much of Not Enough will be published and I will enter a new realm, kinda like being in the 9th month of pregnancy. Though I’ve been carrying this baby for nearly five years, and it feels way overdue.

Have you ever noticed that as your birthday gets near, no one calls you because they figure they’ll speak to you on THE DAY or will see you at your party. That’s what it feels like; that everyone is waiting for April 30 to arrive. My phone is quiet. My inbox has cobwebs. I have a case of books from the publisher waiting to be unpacked.

Does that mean I shouldn’t be living in TODAY? I keep forgetting that all any of us really have are these 24 hours. How can I use this time to have a satisfying life while I’m waiting for THE BIG HIT to arrive? Life is what happens when you’re making other plans, John Lennon reminded us. My job, today and every day, is to stay in the present and to be in charge of my own daily happiness level. To not wait for THE BIG HIT, but to be present to what is.

I’m happy to report that after a couple of down days at the beginning of the month where things just weren’t happening at the speed I desired, I’ve had a most exhilarating time. Living in this extraordinary metropolis, I’ve recently seen several shows that have astonished and thrilled this long-time theatre-lover. Kiss Me Kate and Oklahoma are very different revivals, but both beautifully staged and performed. I would never have chosen to re-visit Oklahoma after seeing various productions of it growing up. But the buzz about this one coming out of St. Ann’s Warehouse got my attention. I went on Tuesday night and was spellbound by the setting, the lighting, the singing, the video during, and its whole new take on life in that windy state. Most impressive was a show at the Public Theatre called Ain’t No Mo’ that I can’t say enough about. Watch this video to get a taste of the experience.

Kind of a cool story behind my visit to the Public. I was supposed to go last week, but had a crummy cold and felt weak and tired. I called the theatre, only to find out that there policy is “no refunds”. I hated throwing away $75, but knew that traveling downtown that night wouldn’t work for me. They did say that you could call the day of an evening performance to see if there were any seats available or the day before a matinee. Fortunately, I had therapy after I’d made my decision to cancel my ticket. My therapist defined my ambivalence as a “humiliation of needs.” That in my family, I wasn’t allowed to be sick or imperfect. That rang deeply true. “What would you advise a friend who wasn’t feeling well?” is a good question to ask yourself. Of course, I would recommend: take care of yourself. That’s a hard one for me to remember. I went home that night and fell asleep at 6:30pm and slept through. On Saturday, I called the Public to see if I might attend the Sunday matinee. “We have one seat available in the front row. Would you like it?” I liked it fine, LOVED the show, and felt that Divine Intervention was working on my behalf when I cared for myself.

I grew up believing that achievement and success were the coin of the realm. It often afforded momentary happiness and attention, but didn’t not have the lasting effects of satisfaction. The older I get and the more I live my life on the axis of satisfaction, the more peace and joy I have in my life.

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  1. Karen Martin

    Interestingly, when I wrote my first and only book (which also took me about five years to write), on the day 1000 books arrived on my porch, I had a court date for a divorce. “Life is what happens when you have plans”. That is so true. That same day, a newspaper article came out on the cover of the Home Section of the Hartford Courant about my new home renovations, with lots of photos. I incorporated universal design features into what would have been my husband & my retirement home. As a nurse, with some limited mobility issues, aging friendly features become my passion and I’ve redesigned many other spaces since then. Well Jane, I made it through and that was in 2007. Hang in there. Hopefully, your first day will be much better than mine. It was like having a baby and then a death of a partnership. I also had a long time marriage like you – 30 years. Very bitter sweet, as you can imagine. Looking forward to reading your book!

    • Jane Pollak

      @Karen Thank you so much for sharing this with me. It’s stories like yours that move me through the mire. I realize I’m not alone. I have 100% confidence I will thrive through this all, but underneath that calm exterior lurks a gremlin or two saying, “Not so fast, Sistah!” I’m grateful for your example.

  2. Michelle

    Hi Jane and congratulations on your Great Expectation!
    I have had many things that were going to happen just mysteriously de-materialize at the last minute. Thus I have learned to acutely live in the now and be (somewhat) detached from outcomes. If the grand thing happens, I am in the moment with it enjoying and celebrating. If it does not, sometimes I allow myself a disappointment party (if necessary) and continue my NOW focus. The caring for one’s self is also a lesson I’ve learned, sometimes the hard way. Gotta care for our temple to live the fullest NOW possible. Thank you for being such an inspiring example of all these things.
    Happy Now and Much Delight Ahead too!

    • Jane Pollak

      @Michelle Thank you!

  3. Julianne Stirling

    Looking forward to reading your book! I loved your description of all the ups and downs of emotions this month. It made me think of a book I read last summer called The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer. It is my ‘word’ for 2019…..surrender. Sit back and enjoy the show. Much love to you. Julianne

    • Jane Pollak

      @Julianne Surrender and Let Go! are my mantras. I can’t hold onto anything if my fists are clenched. Thank you! (and for correcting your contact info)

  4. Julianne Stirling

    adding this postscript so that I can correct my website below. It had a huge typo.


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