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Friday, April 24, 2015

Road Apples, #159

Few Apples...I just realized that I haven't written one of these "Road Apple" postings in a long time.  Long, as in February.  Time flies.  Part of it is that with school, I have less time to write in the evenings (although I am starting this in the morning, when I do get some writing done) as that time is shunted into, at the moment, tasks related to better understanding Compensation systems.  Anyway, file this under "long time coming".

Spring...I do feel a sense of a fog lifting over me.  School is nearly done for the semester, and I'm likely not going to take another class until late August (technically that would be "Fall I").  I've been dealing with a particularly difficult professional challenge over the past few months that seems to be clearing up just a bit (either real or imaginary...the challenge or my reaction to it...take your pick, as both are probably and equally valid), and quite frankly the weather is getting better.

Morlocks...For the record I do think it's important to talk (or in my case write) about how I feel.  Why?  Well in part because I am a firm believer that we are, all of us, more or less equally dysfunctional.  Now it's taken me a long time to understand this, and in complete candor sometimes I forget it, but it's an important life lesson never the less.  Knowing that someone who may seem to have all of their "stuff" together does in fact face challenges about stress, capacity, burnout and the like is a kind of gift.  I've learned over the years that it's okay to have inner demons ("Morlocks"), but it's not okay to believe that you have to struggle alone or, even worse, that you are so inherently disordered that no one else could possible understand how you feel.  One of the joys that writing and reading bring is that they open up clouded, inner they your own or someone else' the light of reality.

Reading...One of the benefits of school being almost over for the semester is that I can really dig into some discretionary reading again.  I'm planning on a Eckhart Tolle reading marathon over the next two months.   Some really smart people I know, both young and old, are quite impressed with his work, so I'm going to give it a whirl.

Birthdays & Pondering My Second Act...I have a birthday coming up, which gives me a if I need and/or wait for such engage in the fine act of pondering.  One of the things I've been pondering is the fact that I've likely got 14-15 years left if what I consider to be my main professional career (that is, the thing I do now to earn a living).  What am I going to do next?  I know that's a "ways off", so to speak, but never the less it's something I think about.  One thing is certain:  While I enjoy parts of what I do now, for my second act, I want to enjoy 98% of it.  Oh, and another point:  It won't be for the money either.  I do find that money creates this kind of trap in our lives in that we end up becoming skilled at something which in turn leads to financial success of sorts, which then creates a lifestyle that can then only be fueled by more earning.  I wouldn't use the word "vicious", but it is a cycle.  For my second act that get's broken, and it's much, much more about doing things I enjoy.

Speaking of Birthdays...I have a ritual every year whereby I take my birthday off from work.  It all started in 1989, when, new to my current employer, I had a horrible day while working on my birthday.  I was doing some work related to the old Eastern Airlines pension plan and I was getting savaged by retirees who were rightfully scared to death of loosing their benefits (Eastern had declared bankruptcy).  When I disclosed how difficult of a day it was to my manager, he shared the following words of wisdom:  "You know what your biggest mistake was Steve?  It was working on your birthday.", so as a result I've taken my birthday, or the business day before it, off ever since.  25 years straight to be precise.  And that day is today.  Usually part of the day is spent planting flowers, but that will not be the case this year, as it's just too darn cold outside during the over-nights.  This year?  Well I applied for a passport, which is at least something nice to think about, although not nearly as nice as flowers.

Self-Gift...As I gift to myself, I recently upgraded my phone to an iPhone 6+.  You know the one, it's the size of a baby's head.  Anyway, outside of having some work to do to get to customized to a level that I like, I really love the phone.  The best part?  It's just freak'n big, and my every so slightly diminished eyesight* appreciates the extra screen real estate.


(*) Per my last eye examination, my un-corrected vision is 2/40 in my right eye, and a whopping 20/200 in my left.  Corrected?  It's effectively perfect, all be it just one eye at a time.

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