Ok, I’ve written and deleted the first paragraph of this “work” two or three times now – I guess I should just say it and be done. No sense in pussyfooting around and there’s no point in beating around the bush. I am getting to the point where I need to tell it like it is.
I’m busy – far too busy for my own good. I have certain priorities in my life; peace and serenity are right up at the top. Others are up there too, and when all facets of my life are working in concert with one another, everything runs smoothly. The completion of my BA degree (government-journalism) is just around the corner, but it won’t happen on its own – it needs my attention. My job (part-time staff writer for a small weekly newspaper) is beneficial not because of the money (it ain’t much), but the work experience. Interaction with my family, in both generational directions, can also serve to compliment this hierarchy of priorities in a positive way.
However, these contributing factors can just as easily be out of sync. Indeed, instead of being the benefit and support they have been, recently all these factors and others have served to put a damper on what was a well-oiled machine. Enthusiasm, excitement and zeal have become a chore – more of a grind than anything else. Am I whining? Never! The realities are what they are – I’ll get through it and I am sure I will be grateful for the experience eventually. Today… not so much.
Work was and is supposed to be a part time gig. It is a standing 29-hour per week job that became available just as I was. Why 29 hours? Because at 30 they have to give benefits. If I had walked in off the street with no experience, I probably would not have qualified for it. I was in the right place at the right time. At the beginning of the semester, it was a blast. I was learning and earning and working a lot – a lot more than 29 hours per week. I still am, but I no longer have the time in the week to be working 35, 40, or more hours – never mind how many I am being paid for.
I thought that maybe the job was taking me more time than it pays because of my inexperience. Perhaps it took me longer because I was just learning. There is some truth in that and I'm down with paying my dues. However, I believe it should be a full-time job and whoever ends up taking my place will have trouble completing it on a part-time basis. I could be wrong; my opinion is not based in a great deal of experience – yet.
The point is that at this time in the semester, I do not have the time to work that many hours and put in the time I need for school and deal with the other things life throws at me. Fortunately, I only committed to do this job until the end of the year – five more weekly issues. I will fulfill my commitment and I will pass my classes and I might even still get the same marks I’m used to – so far so good. But the pressure is mounting and the most critical time is just ahead.
Then, as if all that wasn’t enough, a sudden lapse (or the discovery of a lapse) in communication in the family demands my attention. As usual, it just can’t wait… no, no - there is a problem and it has to be understood, mitigated and regulated – right now. It can’t wait for the semester break, or better, after I graduate and get a real job that pays real money; when I have the available non-financial resources (like time) as well. Oh, no – like when I was in the hospital, an issue in which my involvement is peripheral demands my direct attention because those directly involved find it easier to go through me.
On the other generational side, emergencies are popping up regularly – too regularly – and they often demand what little money I do have. Again, so far it is ok and I am not whining about being poor or broke or any of that. I won’t starve. I am very fortunate. However, the pressure to deal with it all is another story altogether. Again, the timing couldn’t be worse… even when I do have the time to deal with my stuff (two BIG research papers and studying for finals), I’m more motivated to take a nap.
And today that’s exactly what I did. My plan was to spend all afternoon in the library and work on schoolwork. I didn’t. I came home and slept. Can I afford to waste the time? Probably not, but I guess I’ll just lose some sleep later like countless other college students do; and I’ll get it done. My track record of late is that I always finish and finish well. However, and this is a big however, it’s not fun right now, and it used to be. School hasn’t changed, my attitude has.
There, I said it.