Sunday, April 01, 2007

It Sux to Be in Flux

Just a short post to lament my busy life...
Things are better — they really are; just not any easier.

The good news is I’ve apparently weathered the storm at work, and for the immediate future at least, have the full support of my superiors. In fact, this week I’ll be spending three days in Atlanta, receiving what will hopefully be one of several forthcoming sessions of the software training that I’ve so desperately needed to get where I both want and need to be in my profession.

Remarkably, the atmosphere between my boss and me has done a one-eighty over the past four months. She now expresses a decided confidence in me; confidence that I really will do what have to do, and I’m gonna try like hell not to let her down — for my sake as much as hers.

The bottom line however, is that my struggle has left me drained and confused; drained by a now constant bombardment of JavaScript code syntax, Cascading Style Sheet architecture, and the contortions my brain is being forced into assuming in order to learn them; confused by the frustration of my own perception that my progress isn’t fast enough (which is an opinion no one but me seems to share, by the way). In all fairness I should be neither surprised nor frustrated since I knew this endeavor would be an uphill climb. Perhaps as usual I’m simply being too hard on myself; wouldn’t be the first time.

However that frustration is minor compared to that which involves the other half of my life; that portion of my time to which I devote my personal passions apart from my livelihood. Unfortunately, it appears that my professional experience isn’t the only thing that’s in a state of flux.

March Madness
As of about six weeks ago, I thought I was pretty much back on track and into a regular flow of producing content here on my blog, but recent circumstances have turned that around, and it’s really pissing me off.

Again, because of what’s going on at work, I’m just too drained to write during the week, for the most part anyway, so I always anticipate devoting at least a few hours exclusively to writing on the weekends, as I did throughout the month of February. It was supposed to be a kind of reward to myself for dealing with all the tedium of the new stuff I’m learning.

However at the beginning of March, the Franklins,’ our friends from Memphis, joined us in traveling to Chattanooga to see the penultimate play of my daughter Amy’s collegiate theatrical career, then spent the night and visited with us most of the day Sunday before returning home. There would be no writing that weekend.

The following weekend I had promised to attend the big annual local garden show with Michelle. That spawned a trip to Lowe’s and the first yard work of the impending spring. Another weekend shot.

Then came the weekend of March 17th, Michelle’s and my 28th wedding anniversary. I had taken Friday off from work and had planned to devote at least five hours to writing. However our clothes dryer crapped out earlier in the week, so instead I spent the better part of that day dancing with the dust bunnies, trying to resuscitate the dead appliance, and wound up spending most of the weekend shopping for and installing a new one.

Oh, but wait, there’s more…

The next day, on Monday, Michelle’s parents called to announce that they were coming to visit (which is something I’ll be writing more about soon). They arrived the next day and just returned home following an eight-day visit in which I swapped out my expertise solving some computer problems for my father in-law while he handled a few electrical issues we had around the house that I’d been reticent to tackle on my own. So it was a good thing to have them around, but as any of you who’ve been in those circumstances can attest, having in-house guests for an extended period can really be disruptive to the normal flow of things. So I got precious little writing done while the folks-in-law were here.

However the most inescapable factor of all in the added recent activity to my weekends is the weather. As of about four weeks ago, spring has sprung here in Middle Tennessee, and that means the start of my recurring seasonal chores: weekly yard work — now through September — making my already scant weekend writing time even more so.

Nothin’ from nothin’ leaves nothin.’
The point is, I’m not sure where-or-if this merry-go-round will end anytime soon; things have changed for me for sure. I’m now certain that 2-3 years ago I wasn’t doing something that I’m doing now. There’s no other explanation as to how I was able to write so consistently, so often, while also finding the time to keep up with a dozen or more of my Blogland neighbors’ sites, most of which now, I’m ashamed to say, I seldom darken the door. Where it was I found all that extra time to write I honestly don’t know, but I’m guessing that it wasn’t without the sacrifice of a few equally or more honorable endeavors.

I do know that during that period of flurry I stole a lot of my employer’s time either thinking about, researching or writing many of my early stories. And that’s probably the main reason my career is in the state of disarray it’s been in for the past year. For obvious reasons that malfeasance of my work day no longer occurs, nor will I ever allow it to again.

However I also know that I’m spending a lot more time now with Michelle and my physical family and friends than I did in 2004-2005, and that’s definitely a good thing regardless of how it affects my blog.

I guess the part I’m realizing is that my life needs a lot more balance than I’ve been affording it. I need to slow down and really focus on what’s important instead of what merely makes me feel good or “significant.” Writing a great blog isn’t going to feed my family or fund my retirement. And it sure as hell isn’t going to build a stronger relationship with the woman with whom I’ll be spending the rest of my life.

So I guess the moral of the story is that I need to let go. I didn’t say “give up” — just stop “kicking against the goads” so to speak. Whether this change in outlook truly affects my writing, and the frequency or quality thereof, only time will tell; it’s just something I need to do until I see at what point — or if — the merry-go-round returns to a less-dizzying speed.

Oh, and this weekend? Yard work yesterday, packing and errands today, and in a few hours, a four-hour drive to the ATL, where I’ll be until Wednesday. Oh, and I hear they’re playing some kind of important College basketball game there Monday night; the traffic should be lovely while I’m in town.

Yeah…I know; ’sux.

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