Tag Archives: Daily Life

48 Days

When you live in the Free Republic of Cascadia, rain is a central topic of shared discussion and experience.

Whether it’s complaining about the rain, complimenting the rain, bemoaning people’s inability to drive in the rain despite its nearly constant presence, or complaining about people complaining about the rain, we here are as wedded to rain as a topic as my elderly relatives were to health issues (sigh).

So against that backdrop I say: it rained ever so slightly last night.

At first glance, you would think that’s unremarkable given what I’ve just said about rain. But, the important context is that the last time it rained at all was July 22, 2012. We’ve gone 48 days without measurable rain here. Amazingly, that’s not the record: 51 days is the current record and was set, appropriately enough, in 1951.

The funny thing is that, aside from the increased risk of wildfires, there was little complaint about the lack of rain. There was little praise too. It just disappeared as a topic, at least until the record looked like it might fall. Then, it became a topic mainly focused on “will we break the record”.

Maybe it just means we all needed a mental vacation from the rain? A bit of space where we’re not thinking about it at all so that when it comes back we’re in a better place to carry on our relationship with it?

Something to think about.

The Beauty of the Forest

As a practice, I try when I do posts that are heavy with negative energy to try and do another posting that has more positive energy. And it makes sense to try and keep balance in life, though I do worry that I may come across as suffering massive mood swings.

Be that as it may, this afternoon I took my dog out on a short walk here in the Forest. I kept it short because he hurt his leg a few weeks ago and is still stiff. But it was long enough to exercise him, give him a bit of doggie physical therapy, and get me out and about.

As is so often the case, there’s no one here on the trails. Just the light rain, the grey sky, the black of the wet, gravel road. And the green. For in the Forest here, there is always green everywhere. Even now, as the leaves are changing the predominant color remains green.

No electronics, no beeping, no sirens, no annoying conversations. Just rain and green. And a boy and his dog.

If you want to understand someone….

….look at the magazines they get.

Here’s what I get (in a somewhat logical grouping):

  • Parabola (got when I was in high school/college, let it lapse and restarted it last year)
  • Snow Lion
  • Shambhala Sun
  • Buddhadharma
  • Tricycle
  • Gramophone (got in the mid 90’s, let it lapse and restarted two or three years ago)
  • BBC Music
  • Listen
  • Military History (going to let this one lapse soon)
  • MHQ (going to let this one lapse soon)
  • The Atlantic (likely going to let this one lapse soon)
  • The Economist (the one I’ve gotten the longest, nearly 20 years)
  • National Geographic (gotten for years but don’t actually like it anymore, someone keeps getting it for me for Christmas and it’s easier to get it and not read it)
  • PRSA Tactics (work-related)
  • PRSA Strategist (work-related)

The Fall

It has been some time since I’ve written and to say that much has happened is an understatement of the highest order.

At its simplest, I finally accomplished what I set out to do: I walked out of that poisonous, abusive, unhealthy work environment on my terms, my timeline, with my head held high, much love and support from friend inside and out, and no small amount of envy from those left behind.

For the past eleven days now, I’ve been coming to terms with the separation, learning what it is to not check e-mail every 30 minutes unless on vacation. Most of all, I’ve been recognizing that a number of issues I had when I was younger haven’t really gone away: they were just pushed to the back of the closet. When something takes up nearly 90% of the available space in your life and your mind, you shove a lot to the back of the closet.

I expected that what I feel now is what I would be feeling. In a way this reminds me of my skydiving experience. You’re falling from a great height, fast, the air is rushing loudly and feels like water, you’re thrilled and scared all at once, you’re flying and falling and so alive and could well be dead if it all goes wrong.

And then….

…you’re on the ground, it’s quiet, there’s no movement, no danger, no excitement, no sound. It’s just you, where you are, with what you have with you. That’s it.

I’ve been watching the scene in the new Galactica where Adama enters the boxing ring and fights well to a point, at which point the fight becomes just a beating, a punishment, something that shows how much he can take until finally, he can’t take any more. And then, he falls.

The idea of falling is very prominent in my mind as I grapple with the new reality. I have had to cope with the idea that I have fallen, that I had to leave that job because I took it until I couldn’t take any more.

I always said that the difference between a setback and a failure is whether you get up again. And I am determined to get up again and move on.

But first, I have to heal. First I have to gather my strength before I try to stand once more. But I will, and I will move on to new and better things.

For now though, I am taking stock of where I’ve landed, what I have and who I am. That last perhaps is the biggest thing to work out, because I am free for the first time of the conditioning and conforming expectations of others. And while that’s wonderful, it means that it’s up to me now to fill all that space myself that others were happy to fill for me.

Dies Irae

The post title is taken from my favorite part of the requiem mass, the Dies Irae which translates as “Day of wrath” and is based on a twelfth century poem by Thomas of Celano that details the Apocalypse.

Yesterday was a dies irae for me. I had a rather stark and sobering realization. My work situation has deteriorated to such a degree that I am angry and resentful about it. I realized this as I was reading about the launch of a new product yesterday and realized that I was getting angry with some of the reviews of the product for not hating it. I realized that I’ve moved from being a morbid spectator watching the disaster that is this work to actively wanting and rooting for the disaster to be ever worse. I haven’t moved so far as to actively take steps to move the disaster along. But still, for me, this was a very stark and sobering and not pleasant realization.

I am now nearly a month past when I had planned to leave. And I still lack a clear exit date due to a number of factors. I know it will be no later than the winter holidays. But that’s still well over two months away and this clearly indicates that my mental health is worse than I’d realized.

It is interesting though, as I’ve turned the past couple of months into a bit of an self-administered psychology test, trying to carefully watch and catalog all of the bad aspects of my work and understand their impact on me.

For instance, I have come to learn that feeling overwhelmed is a killer for me. It makes me the most stressed and angry and unpleasant the most quickly of any sort of stimulus.

Boredom is also a killer for me and is something that I’m struggling desperately with even as I write this. Once I drop below a certain level of engagement and activity it becomes nearly impossible for me to do anything, really. I just sit and get progressively more low energy and ultimately depressed. Indeed, I find serious boredom to be far more physically and mentally draining than being being overworked.

I’ve also come to realize how merely being in this office affects negative changes on me. I recently had several days off and as soon as I was back in the office, I could feel how unhappy, frustrated and stressed I was by simply sitting at my desk.

But, realizing on top of that all how truly angry I am is a new insight. And now that I’ve realized it, I think I understand why I feel that way. It’s the way in which I’ve been treated with little regard, belittled, humiliated, told constantly how I’m wrong, and generally made to feel that all problems are my fault.

I am very angry. I am very resentful. But I am this way because of my circumstances. And in the end, I am changing my circumstances. And when I do, I will drain off the poison and venom they have pumped into me here, find the me I love once again, and resolve to never let anyone do this to me ever again.

p.s. In a fitting “cherry on the top”, I find that due to unknown networking issues here at work, I can’t easily publish this post from my editor but have to copy/paste from my editor into my browser. As my mother would say, some days you just can’t win for losing.