So begins three months of nothing but what I want to do. I’ve worked diligently for well over thirty years, and now – finally – some time off to concentrate on things I want to do. It’s an incredible feeling that I’ve been writing about or describing in conversation to people every day since I was awarded this sabbatical.
What happened? I wouldn’t say I “broke down,” but I would offer that I’d had enough of the status quo and living, it seemed, for everyone other than myself. We get one life, and I was spending mine worrying about making everyone happy while giving my own happiness and well-being little mind.
We were in Spain, I was on a day off and yet I was on my phone – always the damn phone – and arguing with a co-worker about the approach to something technical which I took way too damn seriously. That’s me, though, taking everything as serious as a car accident. But this time, it wasn’t a car accident, to me whatever it was we were in dispute over was a train wreck of epic proportions. A train hit by a plane that somehow fell into a football stadium. I just was so worked-up. And why?
The truth is, I was – and am – burnt out. I’ve spent the last ten years at the same workplace diligently pushing whatever I could across the finish line, putting productivity ahead of most everything including the birth of my second child. That’s not my employer’s fault. That’s my fault for not knowing when to say when.
The cup runneth over. I’ve taken on so much for a role that I hoped would expand in scope and title – my great play for getting to a pole position in the rat race. And for the last three years, it went unchecked. So I crashed and now I’ve been allowed to reevaluate, rethink, and decompress. Pole position is likely lost, but I’ll accept that. I’m not sure I’m corporate success material; perhaps the cut of my jib is just not right for the suit-and-tie brigade. But I am a good employee who works damn hard and solves the problems without a Hell of a lot of overhead. And I’m fine with doing it at my current place of work for another ten years, providing I can find a balance in my day-to-day life.
Part of that balance is making time for writing. And the first thing I did was start cracking the journbal (my affectionate name for my daily reflections that resulted from a typo some thirty years ago) so I could clear my mind. Next was getting this site’s damn SSL situation taken care of. Unsure of why I took the approach I did with my personal website, but I find it hilarious that I’m responsible for at work was languishing in my personal life. The landscaper’s lawn is always the worst in the neighborhood and all that.
Now it’s on to writing, specifically copy-editing and compilation of poems and short stories. I put the number of books I have sitting around here at five. Can I put all five together by the end of my time off in early December? Doubtful. But maybe I can get one or two of them done, and oh what a relief that’ll be.
Because while I may be a web professional with mad organizational skills and a knack for becoming proficient in most anything I touch, I’m first and foremost a storyteller. And that identity needs proof now. What is a writer that doesn’t write? What is a writer that hasn’t anything for anyone to read? Not much of a writer at all, in my estimation.
Time to change that.