Image by carljohnson via Flickr
I started working odd jobs when I was about 13, had my first real job at 17, worked all the way through college (which, by the way, was a stupid idea), and, other than one summer after graduate school when I only had temp work, never had a moment’s break between jobs since 1977. I always said I needed a break, I just didn’t know the economy would deliver me such a resounding break. After a startup I joined lost its financing, and with employment opportunities in my area extraordinarily slim, I got my break. There’s been consulting work, but there’s also been a lot of free time, time to do things I wouldn’t have otherwise gotten to do. Now, after a break of a few years, I’m going back to regular fulltime work, and glad to be doing it, but I’ve definitely learned some things about myself.
One is that I really don’t need to work. The son of a truck driver, from a working class family, I had the work ethic drilled into me. But you know what? Going to a job every day is not necessarily rewarding in and of itself, and there is plenty to do when you’re not going to an office or jobsite. I got to write, to do some research projects, to improve some skills. I got to spend serious time with my daughters every day when they got home from school. I was god’s gift to the high school bake sale. And I got to do a lot of driving to appointments and helping with a family move.
Another thing I learned is that I’m going to be about the athlete that I am. (Though I think I knew that anyway). I’m not going to get out every day, and I’m not going to get out in every kind of weather. Despite the fact that I could get out just about any time I wanted, and that I have never regretted a bike ride, I still only got out when things lined up, when the weather felt right (which doesn’t always mean sunny and warm), when my body felt right, and when I didn’t feel pressure to get back by a certain time. I learned that sometimes spokes break and leave you stranded. I learned that sometimes tires explode; that can be exciting.
I finally learned to cook decently. My knives are very, very sharp. A fair amount of vinyl was digitized, but I also figured out I’m not getting rid of the vinyl. I learned that there is no end to the amount of little projects around that house that I always wanted to get to that I still never quite finished — no end of pictures to scan, tools to repair, spaces to organize. It turns out they’re really not a priority.
I already knew that I had some amazing friends, and I’ll never be able to thank them enough for their support through these past few years.
And now, back to work.