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Party Pooper or Party Pooped?

Posted by David A. Couper, MA on November 13, 2014 9:30 AM

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I must be strange – OK, well some of you already knew that! – but for me, the most fun part of a party is when it is all over, everything is cleaned up and the house is back to normal! Don’t get me wrong; I do like parties, too. I just had my son’s class – kids and parents – over to the house for Halloween, and it was great fun. The kids had a blast, and the parents got to hang out and chat. It was a good time with no tantrums from the kids not getting their turn or the adults getting too many libations.

But I love the after-after party. I have such a sense of accomplishment when the garbage is put out, the big plates I use for parties are put away, and the house is put back to rest. The party is done, people had a good time (hopefully) and the arrangements are off my to-do list. 

I guess although I love the fun of people being in my house, the conversation and the eating and drinking, I also like it when we get back to normal. It makes me happy to see things are settled and calm. It makes me feel calm to see that nothing has changed! My home is still my home, and everything is right in the world.

That’s an illusion. After the party, nothing was the same. There were scratches on the new floor. No big deal, but they weren’t there before and now they are. I may be able to fix them or not. I have a refrigerator full of food because I overestimated how much people would eat and what they would bring. That’s a nice problem to have, but it may end up with wasted food. I also know some of the parents from the class better. As I run in to do drop-off, I can say hello and have some connection. Normally I am running in out of the school at drop-off or pick up and don’t have time to stop for conversation.

What does this mean for those of us at work? I believe many of us are like me. They want the change to be over so that they can get back to normal. They may even forget that the change – the party – could be fun. The chaos of lots of people in the house, dirty plates and glasses, and kids running wild are part of life and enjoying ourselves. Do we really want that all to be over so we can go back to our quiet, tidy, organized lives?

We also may be kidding ourselves to think that, after a change, everything is going back to normal. After something happens, whether it is a party, a system implementation or even an argument with a team member, nothing is ever back to normal. There will always be things that are different. Some will upset us and some will bring us joy. But we will always have the party.

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