Life Is What Happens…

Written by mitch on. Posted in Uncategorized

Do you know what happens when you’ve had a difficult week, you’re up later than would be considered prudent, you’re really tired; and, angry just in general – you hit the wrong combination of keys on the keyboard and the five or six hundred “perfect” words you’ve just written disappear just as the software decides to “SAVE NOW!” 

Do you know what’s even worse? How about trying to reconstruct or, better yet, remember; what you’ve just written! Bet you can’t do it… I know I couldn’t: not last night, not this morning, not this afternoon.

Now, we’re another day deeper into the first month of the second decade of the 21st Century and I still can’t remember. Although, I’m sure it had something to do with doing too many things at the same time, being up later than would or should be considered prudent, being really tired… Especially, when there is a full moon to contend with! 

Essentially, that’s the problem. I start each day with a list of things to do – if you asked my wife, she would tell you that my problems begin with that list, because it is unreasonably ambitious. I go over the list in my head trying to ensure it is, in fact, reasonable: reasonable, as in possible. I write everything down. And, then I head for work with every intention of working my way through the list: every intention of following the plan. But, I never do… 

It’s not that I don’t try. I try very damned hard most of the time; sometimes when I don’t really feel like trying. And, there are days I get closer to successfully working my way through that list than others. But, to tell you the truth I’m not sure I’ve ever actually gotten through a whole one. At least, it’s been long enough so I can’t remember finishing if I did. 

Someone with the brains G-d gave a duck would think about building a shorter list: a list not quite so ambitious. But, I guess I don’t qualify. The best part of the whole story is the fact I’ve actually managed to ‘shed’ a number of responsibilities and was actually looking forward to living with fewer “To Do’s.” But, ‘stuff’ keeps bubbling up through the floor until my socks get wet and I find myself adding more stuff to an already impossible list.

When things begin to fall apart, as they often do I can hear my Grandmother laughing in the background. Her favorite saying, although it loses something in translation, was: “Man plans, and G-d laughs…”

John Lennon said it another way in “Baby Boy:” “Life is what happens when you’re making other plans…” I think he should have said, “making ANY plans!” 

I’m starting to think it’s just plain futile.

Oh, and before you suggest it’s just a matter of organization – I’m not sure it is. In fact, I have a row of books on time management – although, I’ve never understood why they call it that. You can’t manage time… It won’t cooperate. All you can hope to do is manage yourself – in time. Consequently, it should be called “Personal Management.” In any case, I’ve got a library full of books on the subject filled with systems and suggestions galore. I know how to prioritize. I know how to attack the most difficult tasks first. I get it! The problem is dealing with other people whose priorities, wants, needs and expectations differ from my own. Throw in a service business: a retail service business, and you know that my plans are subject to change at any moment based upon someone else’s needs or wants.

When you own and operate an automotive service business someone else’s crisis does justify an emergency in your world!

So, I wake up, plan the day, make my lists and try to force the day to comply… at least, a little. 

I make my plans and life happens. I make my plans… and, G-d laughs.

Let’s see, what was it I had to get done tomorrow morning…

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I am a fourth generation, forty-sixy year veteran of the automotive aftermarket: an ASE Certified Master Technician, Service Consultant and Approved Automotive Manager. I grew up in this business with a passion for all things mechanical, particularly those things relating to performance. That passion grew to include all aspects of management, leadership and personal development with a special focus on every day shop operations which resulted in an eight-volume series on automotive shop management published by Cengage Learning and Thomson Publishing. I have been a trade journalist writing to the aftermarket for almost thirty years, devoting my professional life to improving both the image and experience of everyone struggling to succeed in the service industry and I've worked diligently to improve communication and increase understanding between all segments of my industry. This site and everything on it is both an extension and a continuation of those efforts

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