Starter or Finisher?


I remember asking a senior staff member of the National Blood Authority, if she was more excited about starting something, or finishing it. She was a bubbly and vocal person and carried a “force of nature” (sort of) presence. She said starting something excited her more.

I find starting something a bit less inviting than finishing it. Starting something brings with it risks, uncertainty and more laborious inputs (because it is new and so takes more effort). They add up to create more stress. I often find that hard to deal with.

So it was that sort of weekend for me. I had finished work Friday last week by sending out some emails and draft docs, and had responses back in that meant I had to drill further and ask more questions this week. It also meant of course, that those issues dwelled on my mind right through the weekend, busy as it was.

Early on Saturday, after a quick brekky, we took the little(r) fellow to his puppy training school. He’s nearly 8 months now but the lockdown meant those classes couldn’t proceed and it was only class 4 of the 8 that we signed up for. When the class finished at 9am, we came back and I started preparing to do some garden maintenance. The weather forecast had threatened heavy rains later on so I wanted to get ahead and do the work before the predicted deluge began. At the same time however, that little fellow (whom I nickmaned the Padawan, a homage to LBJ who is of course the “Little Black Jedi”) also had a grooming scheduled for 10am. It was to be his first clip after 7 1/2 months and he’s started to mat up badly so the clip was overdue anyway. So it was puppy training class and grooming for him and garden maintance for me. The latter task included an overdue trimming of the James Sterling which meant the hedge sweeper and extended arm trimmer both had to come out of the shed, as well as the customary mower of course.

It was all done well after 1pm, after which we headed out to lunch. We had to get the groceries too so we settled on the foodcourt of the shopping centre. We got home close to 3pm, and as the threatened deluge has yet to make its appearance, we walked the jedi and his apparentice.

It finally poured just before 7pm, by which time I was knackered and gratefully sipping my glass of chardy.

Still, the work sits in my mind. Not just my regular work but also a piece of work that an ex colleague had asked to assist with. Often, the thought of unfinished work creates as much stress as the work itself. Tress and I had been watching James May and his Japan adventures and we had also started on his series on cooking. We’re fans now and Saturday night saw us watching a few episodes before we nodded off to lala land…

Yesterday, we went to St Lukes, a partner of St Alfred’s. I’ve always felt strange in that place. We couldn’t register for St Alf’s in time and St Luke’s always had better chance of vacancy but it meant service in a dark, brooding hall that felt old and tired. It was nevertheless, wonderful to do an in-person service again after so long. After the service, we went home and I did the week’s cook, before heading off for a yumcha lunch with the Hippos and Chews. As always, it was good to catch up with them. We then walked the jedi and his apparentice again, before coming home to put our feet up. Only, I started on that piece of work for the ex-colleague and then thought about how to approach my regular work this week.

Early this morning, my boss rang (he is probably still working out of his beach house in the peninsular). We discussed a couple of pieces of work, and my apprehension – premonition even, as I walked in this morning, such was the stress in my mind – started to ebb. He appeared to agree with my thoughts and approved of my plans. Later in the morning, he sent the MD and I an email where he picked up a piece I had done for him over a week ago. His acknowledgement and approval of my input meant heaps to me, and released the stress valve considerably.

Starting something is way less exciting than finishing. I am forever grateful for small mercies that cushion the journey. Like time with Tress, the pooches, friends, God and His people, and small signs of approval.