My impression of the animal known as the Badger is that they are small, fierce, strong, and determined. Once they have latched onto their prey they do not let go. My sisters and I often laugh about a trait we call “The Badger.” We are referring to a quirk of our personalities, the one where we, like the Badger, lock onto a thought or task and become fixated. This trait can be helpful, for example, if you need to finish a task. I make lists. I relish being able to take pen in hand and check off items on my list that I have accomplished. Once the list is completely checked off, I start a new one. I struggle with my husband, who likes to start tasks but not always finish them, at least in a reasonable manner for me. We have been working on remodeling our house. This project, although quite large, is a year and a half in the making. We have very little left to accomplish. But, my husband has lost interest and moved on. My list sits waiting for me to check it off. It is covered in coffee stains and more than once I have had to search to find it under piles of papers on my desk. The “Badger” has lost patience and won’t rest until our final paint stroke is finished, and the final nail is hammered. Then, pen in hand the “Badger” will check off the last items on the list and it will be time to let go. The problem is getting my husband to cooperate.
Being a “Badger” can have its drawbacks. I can become fixated with something, and I am unable to let it go or move on, even though I have no control over the final outcome. An example would be, trying to help a friend or one of my daughters. They ask for advice, I give it. But, then I obsess over trying to help them come to their conclusion on my time frame, not on theirs. The “Badger” wants to come to a quick decision, and then move forward. But, sometimes these decisions can’t be resolved that easily. I have to wait because time is needed to find a solution. This is where I struggle to take a step backwards. I tell myself walk away, you can’t control this. Your job is done. But, I continue to be gripped by the issue. I worry that the decision they make will lead them down a path that I feel will be more difficult for them. I want to be in control and walk them through to a happy, final conclusion. Of course, that would make the decision mine, and it is not on my list to check off, it is on theirs. So the “Badger” must let go, a difficult maneuver, one that I am still laboring to learn.
I am also working to let go of my mother. She passed away last February of dementia. It was a six year slide into nothing. I know she is in a better place. But, I miss her. Not the woman she was at the end, but the woman she was before dementia. Mom’s passing was a blessing. Yet, I regret our family didn’t get to enjoy her more, and, that my children lost their grandmother. Mom and I did not always have this amazingly strong bond, but we had established a loving relationship as I grew into an adult. Sometimes, I long for advice. I miss her matter of fact explanations of life. I have found becoming the “adult” generation is difficult. I realize this is a normal passage of life, but, the “Badger” in me wants more time to be able to check off of my list things I enjoyed with Mom. I wanted more time together doing girl stuff. More quiet talks. More discussions about politics and books. More laughing at silly things. I wanted more. That is a list that the “Badger” had to bury.
This morning I was struggling with an issue that is not mine to make. Consequently, I did what works for me. I went to nature. It was chilly, near 50 degrees, as I hopped on my bike and took a ride on a wooded bike path near my home. The rush of the cool air produced goose bumps as I headed down my first hill. My mind was screaming questions and answers to me. As I rode, over hundreds of fallen acorns and the first leaves of fall, my brain began to quiet. My thoughts began to untangle and resolve themselves into categories. It was at the end of my ride that I let the “Badger” grab hold of issues I can check off my list and I forced the “Badger” to let go of all others. I just hope I can keep the “Badger” in control, today.