Thursday, May 8, 2014

My OODA loop is broken

I finally have it figured out!  Just exactly what part of my psyche is flawed.  It's my OODA loop.

So yesterday I was in the room as Matt was working on some of his MCIs, ie, mandatory homework/continuing education for the Marines.  I suddenly heard something that made sense.  The normal process of getting things done, staying on top of things, that everyone does, has name and even a lesson for it when you're in the Marines. 

I wasn't sure if this was classified or if it would be disrespectful to write about it, so I did some checking and apparently it's a term that's used widely in the military and even in the civilian commercial and corporate world.  So I guess it's OK to talk about it. 

What's this big super secret discovery?

The OODA Loop

Observe, Orient, Decide, Act and then, Do it again.

We all do it all day long to accomplish our various tasks and responsibilities.  Except I don't anymore. 

My OODA loop is broken.

I can sometimes observe, orient, and decide.  Every once in awhile I can even act. 

More often, though, things get plugged up in my brain between the orient and decide steps.  Especially since this, call it what you will, depression/burnout/adrenal fatigue thing I struggle with started, I just get all muddled. 

I've always had trouble with easily feeling overwhelmed.  I used to be a perfectionist.  So in kind of a spirit of fear, I'd get everything all planned out and then never act on it, because I just knew I'd never get it right. 

But God cured me of perfectionism long ago.  He gave me my first child and then another and another and another.  Kind of a PN loop.  Pregnant, Nursing, and then Do it again thing.  He blessed us so richly with so many children, that simply the busyness of family life cured me of any residual perfectionist tendencies. 

And I survived and even at times thrived during that time. 

But somewhere along the line, the thriving kind of went by the wayside and eventually even the surviving was questionable. 

Obviously we're still here, so apparently we've survived.  But I'm very sure we've not thrived.  But that's where, as I've written many times before, the reliance upon God and His promises, the most important of which is His eternal Grace for our broken natures, comes into play most vividly.  Simply put, we don't thrive in this world without God's grace.  But His power is shown perfect because of our weaknesses.

But I digress.  OODA loop.  I get stuck.  Muddled.  Clogged. 

I can see everything that needs to be done.  But most of the time I can no longer arrange things in my head to know how to tackle anything. 

The orient and decide part of my OODA loop quit working somewhere along the line. 

I can grab a quick job and get it done.  I can do the immediate things pressing on me.  I can do the things my kids or husband ask me to do.  (At least most of the time.)  I can even put in a good day's work if I'm with a group of people, such as down at church working for something.

But for me to maintain my focus, mental acuity, and physical stamina on my own, for any length of time, ... that's what gets me at this point in my life. 

Some days are worse than others.  Some days I have to coax myself out of bed and to just put in an appearance as a Mom. 

Other days I can set a few easy goals that I may or may not accomplish. 

Sometimes I can make long term plans and goals, but they are never suitable.  There's always something else of the more immediate that pops up and changes things.  And in a properly working OODA loop, that's OK.  Because of the loop feature.  The constantly reevaluating and readjusting all the plans.  And doing it quickly enough to still decide and act.

I used to have the flexibility, the mental agility, to continue the loop.  But not any more. 

I simply react to the things that come at me with no forethought or planning. 

And it leaves my family and sometimes others in the community, in the lurch.

At least now I have a quantifiable way of describing the difficulty.  Somehow it seems comforting to know that it's just my OODA loop.  Drat.

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