Sunday, September 27, 2009

Little Birds

A thousand stories run through my head, but remain trapped there. They are caged birds that have been denied the room to fly. Their wings have a way of starting to flap at the wrong time - at work when there is no time to let them out or at night when I am too tired to let them dart about to finally land on a page.

The draft list on this blog is not much better. It is a graveyard of incomplete posts about camping trips, outdoor Andrew Byrd/Decemberists concerts, and other events so far gone that it seems silly to try to recapture their excitement now. And you don't even want to see the shambles of my half-completed home redecoration project. Seriously.

The older I get, the faster time goes and the more quickly the time that once seemed so abundant slips away. This feeling rules this moment when my work is insane, even for my place of business. Last week, I worked 22 hours over the weekend alone and the work is not yet done. My mantra has become "It will all be better after next week" (aka the day the project is due and my vacation begins). I am fortunate to have a job working for the best boss ever. Frankly, I don't think I could do I worked for some total douchebag, but it still wears me down. If I can hold out to the end, there nine glorious days of vacation to reward me. It is a shame my sanity won't be along to enjoy it.

While I am not at all inflexible, I have always had healthy boundary when it comes to work infringing on my personal time. I don't fuck around. My traditional stance has been this: I work hard when I'm at work, but my free time is mine and mine alone. Lately, however, I suspect I am becoming one of those workaholic people I used to scoff at. It's just a job right? Truly, maybe even verily.

The thing is that it was a lot easier when my responsibilities were fewer. Couple a Protestant work ethic with a strong sense of responsibility and add a dose of perfectionism and it becomes too easy to cross the line between "While I am here, I will strive to be the best possible professional I can be" and "Oh my God! Oh my God, I have do get this done. There's no way I can take a vacation! Oh, and p.s., the sky is falling!"

And, then, I wonder: Why can't I apply the same kind of diligence and dedication to my personal life? I had a recent (but blessedly benign) health scare that has made me think about this a lot). There are so many places where it could use the kind of discipline and organization I employ at work. Pay me to do something for someone else, and I am not happy unless it is perfect. Ask me to do something for my own well being (eat better, exercise, carve out some time for myself) and suddenly I'm all about starting tomorrow (if at all). Somewhere in there, there's a profound Stuart Smalley statement pertaining to a pretty jacked up sense of self-worth. I mean, I really am good enough and smart enough, aren't I?

But that's the beauty of fall. For some reason every fall as the seasons begin their autumnal descent toward the death of another calendar year, I find myself thinking about ways in which to improve my physical and spirtual home. And it's a good thing, because there's a lot that needs attention, a lot of birds that need to get out and fly.