tumblerLife … if it is to be worthwhile … is full of experiences that shape you for the better in ways that could not have happened any other way.  It reminds me of one of those lapidary drums used to polish stones.  You toss in an ordinary looking piece of stone, rough to the touch and not particularly pleasant to hold, and after Tumbling around in an abrasive, out comes a polished specimen which, if not beautiful, is at least interesting and nicer toTST be around. The thing is, though, the rock in the lapidary tumbler doesn’t have to do a thing to undergo this transformation.   For us, life’s experiences provide the abrasive but it is up to us how … and whether … our experiences shape us.  Do they make us better?  More interesting?   Or old and bitter?  That, my blogging friends, is my five-cent bit of philosophy and I’m giving it to you for free as Thought Number One on this Top Sites Tuesday #245.

polishedBeing self-employed (actually a partner in a two-man Limited Liability Company) after years working in big industry has been one of the experiences that has shaped me the most.   I bring this up because today we are submitting a small proposal to the government, a small proposal that could bring us one of the biggest jobs we’ve had in years.  Or not.  Writing proposals has always been one of my fortes … largely because I am, at my center, a writer (although it took me many years to realize that).  As a book manager for a skatey-eight million page proposal in Big Industry, I had a staff of hundreds at my disposal, many of them what I considered as support people, necessary but not important to the science.  Today, as we finalize the proposal and get ready to upload it to the customer site, I am: engineer, responsible for technical content; technical writer … well, writing about the science in understandable English;  contracts, worrying about what we are offering to do and whether it can be done for the money we’re bidding;  typing pool;  proofreader;  art department;  Information Technology department, being sure file formats are correct and uploads proceed correctly;  CEO, actually making the decision when the proposal is ready to be uploaded and locked. So, here’s Thought Number Two: The experience of being self-employed has made me more appreciative of the people I used to take for granted, not just in business, but in life.  And that’s a good thing.

What experience has changed you dramatically as you travel the road of life?  Too philosophical for a Top Sites Tuesday?  Sorry … it’s been a busy week and that’s what I’ve got.  Please push my button … gently … to make me Number One on Top Sites Tuesday #245 before you move on.

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8 Comments on “Tumbling”

  1. cherperz Says:

    I like your analogy comparing tumbling rocks to life experiences. I would hope as we tumble through life, we wouldn’t become bitter but I sense that maybe some of us take on a little more cynicism as we age. (or maybe it’s just me). I wouldn’t say that there is one definitive experience that changed me as a person but there probably are a few significant events that changed the course of how I came to be who I am today. Overall, I think it took 60 years of experiences to make me who I currently am. I suspect, there will be more changes to come.

    Interesting that you bring up how your “work” has made integral changes in you. That might be true for me but probably to a lesser degree. I have worked for big and small companies and have owned several small businesses so there were some lessons learned but had I not read your examples prior to you asking the question “What experience has changed you dramatically as you travel the road of life.”….I would of said “it was most definitely my relationships that changed me dramatically and it would be plural..not just one experience or one relationship. The experience of being a daughter, a granddaughter, a girlfriend, a wife, a mother, a friend..all those relationshipls had far more influence on me than any work environment I was ever in. I had some nice successes in my jobs but I never looked at any of them as a permenant part of my life.


    • oldereyes Says:

      Yes. Relationships, especially marriage and having children. And a few mentors and close friends. It’s interesting … though my small business was very successful, it’s the changes in the way I viewed business and people that I value most.

  2. liggybee Says:

    Hmm…I think what changed me and my outlook on life the most was becoming a mother. Honestly, before I became a mother, everything I knew was all theory. Afterwards, everything became real to me…and boy, there is a big difference!

    Anyway, have a great week, Bud! Great post!!

  3. Trina Says:

    “What experience has changed you dramatically as you travel the road of life?”

    I think every day is an experience. From sailing to farming, to working hard to being injured… it changes you. You grow and learn from every obstacle, every conversation, every word you read.

    Being a self employed person, I understand the trouble of getting a proposal out. Good Luck with landing it!


    • oldereyes Says:

      Yes, I agree. We are shaped by everything we experience but I’ll bet there are a few that really shaped who you are. The proposal is out, by the way and has a good chance of winning.

  4. Wolfbernz Says:

    Hi Bud,

    An experience that changed me dramatically? I would have to say being ship wrecked by myself for 8 days in the North Pacific. Caught in bad seas and with a broken mast, in the worst of cases and I survived.

    I’ll have to post the story some day,


    • oldereyes Says:

      I should have known you’d have something exciting. You’d probably never guess this but I was on a Navy ship during the testing of some equipment when we had a fire in the engine room. We were dead in the water in high seas and at lifeboat stations. As close as I ever want to come to lost at sea.

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