On being ... August 8th

By Ingrid Sapona

Spring officially arrived over a month ago, but it’s barely begun showing here. The daffodils are at their peak this week, but 90% of the trees and bushes have only the smallest buds and lilac trees are at least a month from even thinking of blooming. So, from this perspective, August 8th, which will be mid-to-late summer, seems far, far away.

But, on the other hand, many yacht clubs launched boats this past weekend, racing starts in two weeks, and by the time I find the wire brush for the grill it’ll probably be the 4th of July (or at least Canada Day, which is July 1). So, from that perspective, I know the time will fly and it’ll be August 8th before I realize.

You’re probably wondering about the significance of August 8th. Well, it’s 100 days from today. If my Dad were around to read this, he’d say, “big whoop”. To be honest, I agree -- 100 days doesn’t seem particularly significant. Sure, it’s a nice round number, and especially appealing to those on the metric system (it certainly sounds more impressive than 14.28 weeks), but in the scheme of things -- I can’t think of too many reasons folks would normally take note of 100 days.

And yet, if you happened to catch any U.S. news yesterday, you’d have heard lots of folks clamoring about the 100th day of the Obama presidency. Apparently the press have been grading presidents’ first 100 days since FDR’s time. Some in Obama’s administration tried to downplay it by calling it a “Hallmark card” moment, which certainly sounds cleverer than what Dad would have said, but all the same, much fanfare was made of the event. (I like coincidence as much as the next person, but even I don’t think the fact that Obama held a prime-time press conference on his 100th day is a coincidence.)

I was thinking about what it would feel like to have my last 100 days graded by others and I have to say, I’m not sure I would appreciate it. In fact, if you’d have been on the receiving end of the reaction I got from a sail club member who asked me at launch what was new and whether I’d been anywhere of late, you’d probably be feeling a bit sensitive giving account too. This gentleman -- a well-off retiree who had spent a month in Florida, six weeks skiing in Colorado and some time in Spain or Portugal, I can’t remember which -- laughed in my face when I humbly said that I recently had a delightful long weekend in Cleveland. Honestly, he laughed in my face. On seeing my look of shock at his rudeness, he tried to backtrack by saying it just sounded funny, like a movie title or something. What can I say -- I guess I’ll just chalk it up to my deadpan delivery or something.

But seriously, this idea of grading what you’ve done over 100 days probably isn’t a bad idea. In fact, I’m sure life coaches are all for it, for example, as it really is just a logical extension of the much touted idea of setting goals with definite target dates and measurable objectives. And, the good thing is that -- unlike in school where someone else decides what you’re graded on AND assigns the grade -- in this case, you get to choose what you’re graded on and you’re the primary grader. (Friends and family may offer input, but your grade is what really counts.)

So, I think I’ll give this 100 day report card idea a go. I’ve always been a good student and what’s the worst that can happen? Sure, at the end of the 100 days someone might laugh in my face when I tell them what I’ve been up to, but who cares! What’s important is that I set an agenda and I do my best.

Of course, my agenda won’t be quite as ambitious as Obama’s -- for starters, the only auto industry folks I plan on being in touch with between now and August 8th are the guys who I take my car to for an oil change, and my interaction with banks is pretty much guaranteed to be to be limited to ATMs. But, like his, my agenda will have a mix of fiscal stimulus items and matters with a social impact. On the economic front I’ll be beating the bushes trying to find new clients and trying to get more work from existing clients, and on the social front I’ll be sailing, visiting with friends and family, maybe taking a long weekend here or there, and doing some volunteer work. So, with all that on my plate, I’m sure the next 100 days will fly by. But I’m up for it, and I plan on getting high marks on everything!

What about you? When grades come down on August 8th, what will you be marked on and how will you fare?

© 2009 Ingrid Sapona


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