What I learnt in 2006

by Crystal N on December 26, 2006

As part of my end of year process, I like to look back at what’s happened in my life for the year, and what major lessons I’ve been facing (and hopefully learnt).

This year, of course, has mostly been taken up with the battle at work, facing off against a management culture of bullying and harassment who decided I was their next target, fighting to get the equipment I needed to do my job instead of rolling over and leaving like it seemed they wanted me to do. That’s now been going on since November 2005, with the monitor anyway. The culture of course has been going for far longer than that and seen several others leave already.

The lesson I’ve learnt from it is summed up in a beautiful quote I found a few days back, author unknown:

“The only rights you have, are the ones you are willing to claim and fight for.”

In the end, regardless of how much power or authority somebody has, when they try to abuse it and take actions that are against my own interest, it comes down to whether or not I allow it to happen. Nobody has any authority over me except with my consent, and I can withdraw it at any time so long as I am willing to pay the price. In this case, while the easier move would have been to leave the job, I knew that it would mean the next target’s would have it so much harder, just like my situation was worsened by how much they had already got away with. That was a price I didn’t want on my conscience, and now, I know it won’t be, because as a result of my actions there are more safeguards in place for others under the same management that they can draw on, than there were when I started fighting back. Of course that will only help if they choose to fight for their rights too, but that’s not something I can make a decision about for anyone.

Of course, the end of this year was also marked by the illness and passing of my mother. There are many lessons she gifted me with throughout my life, but we had some wonderful conversations towards the end, and she told me how much it resonated with her when I told her of the ancient celtic attitude to birth and death – that a birth was to be mourned because life could be hard, but a death is a cause for celebration and rejoicing in the regained freedom of the soul. She asked me to take that attitude and apply it to her passing, and mostly I have been able to. I know and believe that she is not gone, just because there isn’t something for me to see anymore. I feel her touching my life still, and the love between us will never pass, no matter what happens.

Most of all, though, I learnt that age is irrelevant – the people who touch your life are no more than a temporary loan to you, and you cannot expect it to last for any length of time, it can end with little or no warning at all. So, my new resolution is to take nobody for granted, and to live as though each day I have with friends and family might be the last. Since I can’t say for sure that it won’t be, it seems to be the best approach, and the richness of my connections since I’ve taken this attitude has been it’s own reward.

So, in summary, what I choose to carry forward into 2007 are:

  • my resolution to treasure every moment I have with those around me, and
  • to continue refusing to allow the rights I have determined are important to me (freedom, health and welfare in particular) to be taken by ANYONE, no matter how much authority they appear to have.

Best wishes for a wonderful new year and may 2007 bring you all you wish for.


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