The work-back principle

I’ve been sitting in a lot of meetings at work recently, discussing ideas and creative solutions to problems that often cause me to drift away on my own thoughtful tangents resulting in two columns in my notebook. One for work, the other for my own inspiration.

Friday was one of these aforementioned occurrences and I thought it worthy of sharing, as my notebook weighed more heavily towards the B column.

Sometimes the solutions to a problem can only be found by working back from the desired result. I’ve been applying this principle to the project I’m currently working on, but because I’m equally consumed by thoughts of what to do once this contract is up, I’ve begun applying this philosophy to myself.

In other words, to decide what to do next, I need to start from the end and work back, which as a concept raises some rather interesting questions.

Where am I when I die?

Who is around me and where do I live?

What was I doing before I died?

Was I sitting on a yacht drinking champagne, living in a cottage in the woods nursing squirrels, or did I plummet to my death as a human kite?

What job did I retire from?

What possessions did I own?

What was on the wall of my bedroom?

What languages did I speak?

What was my greatest skill?

Who will remember me?

What was the final chapter in my memoir?

Death is a reality I usually sweep under the carpet and avoid thinking about, but the more I accept it, the more I remind myself to live. And perhaps if I consider these sorts of questions before my mortality catches up, the better I can steer my choices when it comes to making decisions.

Like a lot of people, I don’t have these answers, any of them in fact. I don’t have a five or ten year plan, I feel weighed down by options, I change my mind frequently, and I’m constantly questioning what the hell I’m doing here. But if the decisions I make today shape my tomorrow, perhaps I should start to consider what my tomorrow actually looks like.

I purposely reversed my regular walking route today for a new perspective, while considering the questions above. Though it didn’t result in specific answers, the common themes revolved around simplicity, community and activity. Who knows how this translates over the next five, ten or fifteen years, but for now it feels like a good place to start.

Happy 2017 and beyond!

A calendar created by my dear friend Myla (aka Bad Seed)

19 thoughts on “The work-back principle”

  1. You’ve got the end point plotted, now for the way points. Just use your good judgement and response to the environment. Your situation seems so fluid and unregulated that you will be continually be surrounded by opportunities. If you make choices that are consistent with your values and strengths you can’t go wrong. Not many people have such freedom to choose. Count your blessings. (Oh dear, this sounds like a horoscope reading – sorry).

  2. Hi Muk,

    You sure filled the “Blank Pages” of your 2016 calander pretty nicely. I fully expect 2017 to be just as colorfull.

    Some pretty deep questions posed above….Lot’s of room for thoughts to roam around with….I will poder over these for some time, I suppose.

    As always, I sure enjoy your insites and the sharing of your musings!

    Till another day
    Your pal,

    1. Great to hear from you Lyndella! Another colourful year ahead for us both I hope! There’s so much snow down here that I can’t even imagine what’s happening up north. Hope you’re having fun and keeping warm. Your pal Muk!

  3. Thank you for this. I believe what we must endeavour to do is try to make each day better and in doing so aim to make the world a bit better when we leave it. Your themes of simplicity, community and activity will certainly contribute to that.

    All the very best for 2017 Ros

    1. Thanks Ros, this is such a good reminder. One good deed a day can make such a difference, not just to others and the environment, but also to ourselves.

    1. I expected such a comment from you Pac Man! Haha! Good to hear from you and Happy NY. Looking forward to catching up on what you’ve been up to!

  4. Oh, My, Goodness (or whatever! Giggle)…..well, I looked at your list of questions and thought….hmmmmm?…I am also thinking seriously about my future….and my “right now”….my head is a roaring scramble of thinking … Where will I live???….Where will I get enough money to make it alone and until that time I will run away from this earthsuit I live in…..hmmmmm….and what will leave behind….

    These are good questions to think about, but also, these questions are often hard to resolve….I keep pondering about the most important thing I can do right now . Enjoy each day I have coming to me…so, I woke up today and said to self…Call as many apartments as possible and get on the waiting lists of places I can afford…

    My four children (adults) have there own lives to live and I really can’t expect them to take care of me….maybe later….but for right now….I am thinking about like you….smiling….

    Live is sure adventure….Love from your old friend in Paradise, California…..

    1. Hi Barbie! I was actually thinking about you when I wrote this. Life is fluid, so we can’t attach a rigid concept to it and expect everything to pan out a certain way. You probably understand this better than anyone! I love your passion for independence and your never failing spirit of adventure. I’m curious to see what the next chapter holds for you in 2017! Lots of love!

      1. oops!! ….My four children (adults) have ____their____own lives…..( I really do the differences between THEIR THERE THEY’ER….giggle

        Thanks for your kind word, Rozanne….you always make me feel really great……smiling

  5. Hi darling, all I can say to you about things, is….that
    You know – You like to know – You will never know
    Maybe Pak Man is right, “U think too much”. At least you are giving your brain ,or is it mind, a good work out. Enjoy your life darling, it is so unrestricted that You can do what ever You like to do. If you are happy on the road your are walking, keep walking and take the challenges which come across. Love you lots, Mutti xx

    1. Thanks Mutti! I assume everyone thinks about life as much as I do but perhaps not, though I believe a lot of people do. I never get tired of trying to get to the bottom of it all, but the more I dig, the more questions I seem to uncover. Sometimes I’m able to take life at face value, but I think I’ve been programmed to question the ‘why’ when things don’t make sense, and there’s A LOT of things that don’t make sense. Life’s a constant adventure, and I’m grateful for that! All my love xxx

  6. I love your whole attitude towards life and your blogs are always inspiring to read. Asking questions and seeking answers is part of the process of trying to get the most out of life and at the end of the day isn’t that what it’s all about.

    1. I think you hit the nail on the head with the desire to ‘get the most out of life’! Thank you for your positivity and feedback. It’s so heartwarming to have such a supportive online community! 🙂

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