Have you ever walked around with an undone task making you feel terrible, for weeks and months, growing larger and more terrible in scope? Yeah, me either.
The last year or so has been a fascinating study in the “motivational arts,” for me. About 10 months ago, I was working for my former boss, and I had worked really hard on a project— until midnight multiple nights, into a planned vacation. The project was problematic through no fault of mine, and I delivered it when she needed it. Simultaneously, I had introduced a conversation that let us deliver things in a way that made our customers happier, our content less likely to be pirated, and reduced our call volume by a lot. I didn’t build that second one myself, but it was through my persistence that we started thinking in new ways about an old way of doing things and advanced pretty exponentially.
It’s hard to tell if it’s progress, or if it was just a good day. As usual, these days, I worked just as hard all weekend on not-work as I do all week on work. And Mom kept acknowledging how hard I’m working. It’s unlike her— she normally wants to compete about how hard anyone is working or how tired you are, but this time, she acknowledged it. Possibly because I came home at the end of my rope at least once last week. Hard to say.
There’s a pattern playing out, and I know there’s a lesson, but I’ll be honest, I’m struggling to figure it out.
To torture a metaphor.
The theme for this week is “enough, already.” Mom went shopping on Saturday, after we got our hair done. To her credit, we did not repeat the situation where I told her to call me, she said “oh, just come back at x time— I’ll be done then,” and I came back and she was another 45 minutes, and then set me up to shame me to strangers. I don’t normally go off when angry, but as I possibly wrote about, I was sure she was going to get my rage all wrong, and if we were going to fight about something, I wanted it to be about the thing I was actually mad about.
I think the theme for these times in my life is “marathon, not a sprint.”
When we bought the house, a couple of years ago, they warned us that the wiring was aluminum in our area when the house was built, and that aluminum wiring can be problematic for a host of problems. It can even be a fire hazard (such a comfort when you’re buying a house with wood siding.) We got an estimate on mitigation, and yesterday, we started the process of replacing it.
Almost without exception, my favorite teachers have always been English teachers. I grew up loving to read, and it turns out I have some natural talent for writing, as well. I had English teachers who introduced me to great books and set my imagination free. I also had some great teachers in history, over the years, and teachers in other disciplines from whom I learned a lot, but I can tell you the most about my English teachers.
At the end of high school, my mom made me promise that I wouldn’t be a teacher or a counselor. She’d heard that counselors had a high suicide rate, and didn’t want that for me. She also knew that teachers are chronically underpaid and overworked. I agreed, but it was a bit of a white lie of an agreement.