Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Manhattan, in a pond at Windows to the World Park in Shenzhen.
Listening to: "Oceans" by Pearl Jam

The end of a workweek brings with it a certain kind of sadness.  The finality of the day summons all the ghosts of Things Left Undone, with the prospect of Things To Do still peeking at the horizon.

For a lifer like me, the end of work for the day is a sudden deflation of my self. My raison d'etre, so to speak, has ceased and the Case of the Big Man can now conveniently go into the closet.  Without a life to which I can look forward, the end of the work week can be maddening.  This is amusing and a bit of a pain in the ass at the same time - there was a time when I was the acme of indolence, existing on the point of letting things be - and even then, the remarkable thing that defined me was my own indifference.

What am I without this job?

The romantic in me would go jump up and down and say gardemit, give the old F**k you to the Man and get back, yeeeaaahhhhh.... get back to where you once belong!   Find the spaces within and nurture the bridges to fill those gaps.  Find love.  Find fulfillment in writing the fantasy novel to end all fantasy novels.  Do something.  (Cue in Dick Dastardly, snapping at his canine sidekick, "Muttley, do something!"  "Muttley, HELP!)  Be involved.  Wallow in weltschmerz.

Smack myself in the head and find joy that work this week ends! (It doesn't really, I'm administering a training tomorrow).

The realist in me says, grab whatever satisfaction you can, because, THIS, all of THIS, can end very soon.  Sometimes we get so lost in the details we fail to see the big picture.  There are a number of milestones to reach in my life - love and marriage and children and mortgages and bloated debt.  Well, I have the last one, even though some of that debt isn't technically mine, but I'm paying for it nonetheless.

The Big Picture issue is simple - there is no way I can fight back old age and all the rest. In between, however, are the spaces of life where I can find joys, big and small, and bask in the fulfillment that I'm making a difference in someone else's life.

Now, the tricky question is how big and how wide an impact I want to create.  Any kind of ambition, then, must start with getting the little things in order.  Better performance - better fitness.  Better fitness - better habits.  Better habits - start developing the right ones.  Keep on the path - have a positive attitude.

There's the Rock of Sisyphus right there.

I'm down.  I feel down today.  Watching "The Big Bang Theory" is a comfort.  It's not epic TV, not like "Boardwalk Empire" but it does the trick.  These guys are like my old buddies in grade school, though back then it wasn't that hard. It was only later in high school and in college that the difficulties began - and I had the ultimate trifecta in nerddom - short, unathletic, and hooked on show tunes.  Yeah, it's that bad.

Still, that is not the source of my sometimes-unhappiness.  It's the might-have-beens, the almost-theres in my life.  I was young, I was misinformed, I was egotistical, I was insensitive, or a host of other reasons.  Yes, the pragmatic decision is to sweep these away and start afresh, but sometimes you get to thinking ... are we really all that isolated?

There's this poem by John Donne that no man is an island.  I would like to believe him - we are always surrounded by others.  Still, there is this ultimate realization that we are all disconnected - we begin alone and we end alone.  We are islands adrift in the ocean of life.  One's best hope is to build bridges and connections to others, so that in the end we leave something behind, and became a missing space in their lives.

So back to my original premise - what am I without this job?  The proper rejoinder - what am I while I'm at my job? - I spend more than half of my waking hours here.  Might as well make them count.

Back to the grindstone, another week that the Company owes me.

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