I started my first job at the tender age of 14 years and nine months, which in this part of the world is the minimum age without having to obtain parental consent.
It was a part-time gig working at McDonald’s. And I loved it. My gateway to teen financial independence, it also provided a social life (there were boys!) and (at the time) free food. I am grateful for the start that McDonald’s gave me, because say what you will about McDonald’s, it has one of the BEST employee training programmes I have experienced. And in the ensuing thirty something years I have experienced many.
Beyond the mandatory “Would You Like Fries With That?”, it tought me about systems, structures and teamwork and all at a tender age when knowing these skills made a huge difference to a young life.
One of our mantras at Maccas (the Australian version of the term, Mickey D’s) was:
Clean As You Go
The concept was that if you make a mess, you deal with it then and there or as soon as the situation practically allows.
Now, I would love to tell you that I have religiously applied that philosophy to every physical mess I have ever created. But sadly, that’s not the case as the pile of notes, articles and clothes lying around my house will attest.
However, I believe that I have made up for this physical deficiency by applying this mantra to my metaphorical piles. I clean my messes as I go, meaning I DEAL.
Avoidance is the opposite of dealing. The problem with avoidance is that it’s a chancy strategy. Whilst the possibly of the mess disappearing all of its own volition or by having someone else deal with it is there, it’s by no means a certainty. The possibility of the mess compounding into something larger and more permenant whilst we wait for others to deal or for a miracle is much more likely. What could have been dealt with at the start with a small amount of pain, effort or unpleasantness now requires way more pain, effort or unpleasantness because mess tends to attract mess. The avoidance strategy also means that you give the mess time to creep and ooze into other aspects of your life, making the dealing all that much harder when the time to deal actually comes. And in my experience, the time always comes.
The consequence of not dealing was sheeted home to me at the age of 23. Like most people, I hated going to the dentist. Really, really hated it… as in anxiety, the whole nine yards and so much so there was a period where I avoided going to the dentist for five years. I paid for my avoidance however, when I finally went to the dentist. Instead of an hour of unpleasantness every 6 months if I had dealt, I was rewarded with 6 hour long sessions in the chair at the hands of the torture master. NEVER will I repeat that experience, it was a lesson of a lifetime.
Dealing with emotional pain is no different. Avoidance of emotional pain will come home to roost. At some point you have to do the hard yards and deal. And to deal, you want mole hills, not mountains.
It has been said that Carl Jung once observed that more people enter therapy at the age of forty-nine than at any other age. This is because this is often a time of life and death struggle between the old and new. It’s time to decide on your new way of being, it’s time to deal.
Today I give myself permission to deal.
34 thoughts on “Today I Give Myself Permission to Deal #atozchallenge”
About 4 years ago I had to re-access myself and had to face some harsh realities.. to spare the details here, it was the best thing I ever did for myself, wish I had of done it years earlier.. there comes a time when we either deal of live a half-life..
Totally agree, Lynne. Dealing often frees you from the very hardest of prisons to break out of. Glad you are now living life to the fullest.
In not dealing with things, life becomes demanding and you become demented with the duties that have increased and multiplied. Delightful post! DAF
How delicious of you to play along! I think you have invented a new Challenge, the A to Z Comment Challenge, dearest DAF.
I try to deal with most things had happen in my life, sometimes however they control me and I get a little overwhelmed, I think, speaking personally, that I do avoid at times (depends on course what the avoidance or situation is) and I am happy with that ..to a certain extent, then reality comes and smacks me in the arse and I find the inner strength to forge on. Another very good Post J. xx
I guess there’s avoidance and then there’s avoidance. If we avoid a short while so that we can be better equipped to deal that that’s probably OK, but if a short while becomes a long while or never, then that’s something else.Conditions will never be perfect to deal, just like they are never perfect to have children, retire etc.Remain strong, Jxx
Not dealing with difficult challenges, whatever they are, do come home to roost and usually with more dire consequences. So I force myself to face whatever unpleasantness is facing me…though sometimes I procrastinate just a little bit. Building up courage, I tell myself.
Procastinating a little I think is OK, if you feel you will be better equipped to deal. I think the problem comes when we hold out for ideal conditions, which of course never come.Dealing will have consequences, there’s no way around that.
Ah yes, if you don’t deal you end up in that other state beginning with ‘D’ – denial. While it is tougher than ripping off a band-aid, sometimes it is better to deal with stuff there and then than wait for the inevitable build up of anger, frustration and resentment that either explodes or implodes, and you’re going to have to wear it. Great post as always!
Anger, frustration and resentment all true especially if one has to live with an avoider. More importantly is fear that starts as a niggle of unfinished business and then can become all consuming to the point it affects all of one’s relationships. Thanks B as always 🙂
I do clean as I go. However there are some messes that are too big to clean in a day, or a week. And there are always little things I postpone from time to time.
I love your background and the post is great. Actually reminded me of something I’ve been postponing enough. 😀
Thanks for coming by FD and glad to have been of service to you. Yes, sometimes cleaning takes time, but at least you’re chipping away at it instead of letting the mess fester.
Mess attracts mess. Like attracts like. Energy goes where energy flows. (My topic for tomorrow.) Even when we’re avoiding something, we’re feeding it energy, and so it grows, just as you indicated. Time to pull out the broom. 😉
Love this comment, Ellen. Can’t wait to read your E post. You’re so right avoiding is handing over power to the thing that you fear.
Well, my topic is still energy, but not exactly what I thought it was going to be. Even so, the “energy flows where attention goes” figures into it. 🙂
Clean your mess as you go; excellent advice. Not bad fries, either.
Would you like an apple pie with that?
I know dealing is the best policy. It is reconfirmed so often with the consequences of letting things go that it cannot be denied. You picked a great topic for your D topic.
Thanks Joe and thanks for the comment. It’s one of these things that we all know we should do, it’s the execution that sometimes proves difficult.
I am so glad I vacuumed the house before I read this. It’s something I put off. If I didnt put it off I wouldnt suffer from allergies so much. I feel better already!
Jemima at Jemima’s blog
Hi Jemima, thanks for providing a real life example. Happy that you’re feeling better and can breath or not sneeze as the case may be 🙂
Definitely deal with it – like the clean as you go philosophy too…
Definitely! It really is a D day today isn’t it?
Oh, man–I’ve definitely learned the hard way. I don’t like confrontation, so have mistakenly AVOIDED more than once, but it is ALWAYS better if you deal sooner. Great reminder!
Hi Hart. Yep, confrontation is one of the biggies, I’m getting better at dealing with those quickly, but acknowledge it’s not easy.
Deal with it and move on…this is never easy, but always the best thing for you.
You’ve made some outstanding points here. Starting work in an organized business like MacDonald’s provides youth with good habits. No matter how life at some point becomes overwhelming, the basics, the foundation of a good work ethic, help you get back on your feet.
As for me, well, I’m past the age of having to deal with anything I don’t want to. I think I’ve earned it, or so I tell myself. You write wonderful posts.
Thanks Tess, you have indeed earned it. I’m with you, you can’t go far wrong with the basis of a good work ethic. I’ve been trying to drive this home to my children.
MickeyD’s was not my first job (that one was mowing lawns when I was nine), nor was it my first “real” job earning an hourly wage (that one was washing dishes in my Sunday School teacher’s restaurant when I was thirteen) but it was the first job where I understood the mechanics of working on a team, the importance of customer service, and the beauty of standardized protocol when deaing with chaos. I learned quite a bit about life during my tenure at the Golden Arches, and DEALING with things (including Clean As You Go) was one of them. Nice post!
Pauleen at Tropical Territory
A to Z 2013