Tuesday, November 21, 2006


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.


awareness said...

Good morning Mike.

Today is brand new, fresh with no mistakes.

Now hows that for a Pollyanna statement?

There must be something in the November air that is spreading. I hear you loud and clear.....and can fully and wholeheartedly empathize. Aging in-laws, too much work, needy family, community commitments ....juggle, juggle, juggle.......

And I wonder why I have this strong urge to hop on a plane and head to Crete!

Bon chance, my friend and maintain sense of humour. Remember, life is always fodder for future writing. :)

Michael K. Althouse said...

Hi Dana,

Yes it is! And it has great promise early on.

I'm just venting, really. My life is not bad at all, and I am truly grateful. However, even the most upbeat need to release a little steam now and then. Once I get one of these papers done (today, I hope), I'll feel much better.

As if I need anything more tp write about!

Helene said...

sometimes we all just need a little me time... down time... to do nothing at all. When I am taking classes ALLLLL I want to do is sleep, eat and read magazines! lol I put on 3 solid pounds taking that stupid real estate license class! lol Its a wonder I didnt gain a ton in college! lol

Happy Thanksgiving! Hope you eat and sleep all you want!

Lee Ann said...

Happy Thanksgiving sweetie!
Have fun and be safe!

Kathleen Jennette said...

Hey Mike, Relax, take life as it is...if you need to do nothing... do nothing when you can. So be it. You are responsible.. you know what you have to do. Sometimes, that's just a little rest.
Happy Thanksgiving Day to you!

WooleyBugger said...

Hello Mike,

Your almost over the hump. When I was writing for GC it was fun but the pay stunk. Everything else I had going on, and still do, would get me so worn out. I needed to step back and take a breath and this would tend to anger others. But, things always worked themselves out somehow. I found I can't fix everything and no matter how much I did for others it was never enough. I worked seven days a week from 7 a.m until. and it wasn't appreciated by those recieving. My prioraties have to be first and the others will just have to wait I've learned. Life is just to dog gone short.

Take care and Happy Thanksgiving.

Snaggle Tooth said...

That pic is great...

Sleep is NOT a waste of time, for when you have enough of it, you function n feel better, accomplishing more when awake.

It's tough dragging along tired every single day (which I've been doing awhile here) and finding a pleasant mood. People always tell me to smile...
Weds 3 hrs, Thurs 6 hrs - n I wanna but can't afford the 12 I'd like! 20 years of sleep deprivation has to affect ya somewhere!
I don't miss the end of the Sem rush one bit! I drove home after a final one day after missing 3 entire nights of sleep (I'll never do that again- dangerous!)

So be careful not to short-change the quality of your awake time sacrificing needed sleep!