Thursday, June 21, 2012


Yesterday, we left our cubicles for an endless meeting.  On the status of our business.  On the future of our business.  What sits at its core.  I couldn't sit still.  My mind wandered. I looked out the glass windows at my city's skyline, a city gasping for air.  The heat here is extreme.  It's trapped between buildings.  It hovers over concrete.

Afterwards, we sat in a windowless room.  We were put in groups, told to come up with ideas.  We were given prompts and tasks, post-its and markers.  There were facilitators and easels scrawled with notes. I don't thrive in these situations. Being told to think leaves me empty.  In my opinion, this is not how good ideas are generated. But there was no choice.  Ideate or bust. (Or look out the window.  Oh. Wait.)

As a warm up to the idea vomit that would ensue, we were challenged to think of a child's 'firsts'.  The first day of school. The first time riding a bicycle.  These kinds of milestones.  Eventually, it became tedious. Isn't everything, in it's own way, a first?  First birthday party.  First movie.  First pancake even.  (I wondered, in all this ridiculousness, how dark we could take it: 'First time I was picked last in gym class' 'First time I realized Daddy didn't love with me'  but, no, this is not what anyone wanted to hear.)  And so our facilitator, our fearless hunter and gatherer of ideas!, asked us to think of our own firsts.  Not then.  But now.  What firsts do we still have yet to experience?

This is, perhaps, the only time I chimed in before retreating to my wallflower status: My first Safari! I shouted.

I don't know where that came from.

But out it went and I'm thinking, still, about firsts.  This, to me, is worth thinking over.  Not for five minutes.  Not to plaster on a giant notepad so we can say we've accomplished something rather than actually accomplish it (Look!  We wrote it down! We are masters of innovation!)  A concept to actually sit with.  The possibility of first.


  1. We should always have firsts to look forward too. If we don't what is the point of waking up every morning? I'm not trying to be depressing, I just think we should keep trying new things.

  2. Oh my goodness, this is a beautiful post. Thank you is all I can say.

  3. I love firsts! I'm looking forward to new firsts, including my first real roadtrip with my wife next month! :D

  4. THough the windowless idea vomit session does sound tedious, your job sounds so fascinating...I especially liked your "first" pancake thought. I hope you have escaped, although I hear the city is very, very hot and humid right now. On the bright side, tomatoes LOVE heat!

  5. you should collect these pieces, Melissa.

    they are all so extremely well done.

  6. OMG -- your meeting sounds like one of our professional development meetings at school. Forced creativity. Who really expects that to work?

    This year, I missed a record number of professional development days. One was a planned ski trip. One for a dentist appt. One because I hurt my arm. Another because of a sinus infection.

    I began to wonder if someone would think I was doing it on purpose. Luckily, I don't think anyone was paying attention -- except my teaching partners, who ragged on me endlessly about it.

  7. The older one gets, the harder it is to re-capture that sense of first time wonder about things. This year I did in a big way with Connor’s birth - first grandchild, better than first bike first date first kiss first sex :)