For awhile there, I really thought the whole better health quest with its diet and exercise components would be the thing that took over and dismantled life as I knew it the way the giant, fire-breathing lizard used try to do to Tokyo in the old movies. Instead, I think diet and exercise have been surpassed by work. It’s just diet and exercise are easy to talk about in excruciating detail here on the blog. Work, not so much to not at all.
Lately there has been A LOT of work. Worse for me, the work is interesting and fun, challenging puzzles that capture my imagination and will not let me sleep peacefully until they are concluded. Fortunately most are short, intense projects with hard deadlines. Whereas before they used to be once or twice a month, the last couple of months they have become more once and twice per week between my part-time law firm job and my own little business. And it seems to be evolving into an addictive problem for me.
As a self-employed person, it’s hard to turn away new clients, new work, or redirect existing clients. It’s nearly impossible for me to tell people their work is too small for me to handle, so I have by systemically subcontracting them out to others I know and trust. I have been telling the clients that so they are aware that it is no longer me doing the actual work, merely reviewing it for accuracy before returning it to them. For now most are fine with that. I’m hoping by the end of each quarter to have a few more transitioned completely to my subcontractor so they can simply take over that project. These are small clients, small jobs; most take less than 6 hours per month to complete. Unfortunately the way things are going I need the hours for other, more lucrative work.
It feels risky to me. It feels like I am putting my self-employed eggs into one big basket and the engagement is not guaranteed to last for more than a year at a time. On the other hand, I have a part-time job, one that could easily transition into a full-time gig if I wish to return to those ranks. The partners at the law firm love, Love, LOVE me and give me lots of room and flexibility with my in-the-office work schedule. For me, my life and lifestyle, that is priceless. In return no matter how little I may be in the office, I stay on top of my workload and ensure I am available when needed to meet with staff and/or clients.
But setting and enforcing boundaries about work is almost impossible. I am not tired so much as frustrated that I need this much sleep and have these other rigid, cannot-be-devalued priorities. Like the exercise. And sleep. And healthier eating. And in its own way, the blog. Time with M, family, friends. These things impact my time working.
And I cannot believe I am complaining about it. But I am, after a fashion. I like what I do to earn a buck. I like the way it makes me feel. I even like the way my brain feel tired at the end of the day from processing all the stuff that had to be done, remains on the to-do lists. Perhaps I would feel more resentful or unhappy about all the extra work if I were not being paid to do it. I have been a salaried employee enough years to know when it feels as if I am being taken advantage of and asked to shoulder additional tasks and/or responsibilities because of my job classification. Not at all the case now. There are a lot of things I do, am doing for which I do not bill, but the bulk of it – yeah, I am well compensated for the work.
There are no simple solutions, and in reality I do not suppose I am seeking solutions. Because the problem, if I can even label it that way, is temporary. The tsunami of high priority rush projects will wind down by the end of June and regular life will return to its normal ebb and flow. And I suppose when talking about work and the circus-like crazy in can bring with it I want to be listened to and heard as a venting and sharing thing, not as needing advice about taking a break or needing a vacation.
Occasionally I wonder if I need to or should reprioritize the other important aspects of my life. The gym thing. The healthy eating thing. The work thing. The marriage and family things are like the operating system of my life and cannot be turned off or demoted in importance. But everything else is available for tweaking.
With the exercise, I am starting to have new questions I want to ask and yet cannot quite get my arms around the thoughts and ideas adequately to articulate them in my own head, much less out loud or in text to J. Or I am afraid to think about it too much, much less ask. My trepidation is not the answers so much as the question itself, as if I am about to jinx myself by trying to expand my understanding or change what has evolved into a better habit. Or it is possible my fragile little ego cannot handle whatever J’s reply might be to my questions. I would probably have a better sense of what is holding me back if I could get past the current block and to the heart of what I am actually thinking about and wondering. Sounds like a new kind of crazy, I know, but the more exposure I have to other ideas – whether from glossy magazine articles, blogs, podcasts, or even interacting with friends and coworkers – brings forth other scenarios to evaluate and contemplate what it might mean to me. J has done a great job of gatekeeping and helping me evaluate sources, etc. I enjoy the discussions with others about their training experiments; what they have tried, what has worked, what has been a joke or a miserable failure. I have to filter it in ways that keep it separate from me and out of the clutches of negative girl or into a tidy package that allows me to ask reasonably intelligent questions. Lately there has just been so much information coming through, and I am so busy and focused on work matters any other information I am reading or hearing about comes in and gets stuck in the processing through my head. But at least it does not make me feel bad about me and my health and fitness efforts.
Healthy eating is on the autopilot of eating the same foods, same sorts of meals right now. But again, a couple of the girls in my office are on Whole 30 and at first were chattering excitedly about the pounds lost to now when it seems that the sacrifices they are making with eating are not equaling the weight loss they are experiencing. RD and I have discussed these things, and healthy eating does not have to be that difficult. Hence my present eating of vegetables and proteins and trying very hard to be being mindful about what I am eating and when I am eating it. At the moment I do not want or need to delve too much farther off the mainstream eating track than that.
It was a long day, part of it in the law firm office, part of it meeting with a couple of my self-employment clients. All the partners and several associates were working today, many of them still there when I left at nearly 6 p.m. This does not especially surprise me; there are a couple of bigger cases coming up and the life of practicing attorneys is not that different from the life of other professional services consultants. I am now pretty much caught up on everything work-related and prepared for whatever the coming week brings.
With the blogging and its standing as a priority in my life, I find it therapeutic and a positive experience. And my latest mission in life is to prioritize positive experiences. I have found myself getting annoyed by bloggers who are stop posting for no apparent reason and when they return they explain their absence with the “busy” excuse. Probably I should not care; I can vote with my mouse. But the thing is, I typically find that “busy” excuse annoying in general, because vast majority of us are busy with something all the time. If writing is a priority, you make time for it. If not responding to people and friends in your life is not a priority, just be honest that you attention was elsewhere and it was easier to just ignore the white noise. Particularly with other blogs, I find myself wondering why I am annoyed in the first place; not everyone lives their life or inside their own heads in the same ways I happen to do so. The blog is just another way of processing my thoughts and presenting them outside my head to move to and fro like chess pieces on the board.
After a bit of a tumultuous Friday with a couple of friends (one I referenced in yesterday’s post, another who tried valiantly to play peacemaker and kind of ground to a dismal halt, but I still appreciated the effort), I got some good advice and pep talks from others. Again, striving to prioritize positive experiences, so the pep talks and the analysis was good for me. I’m working on thickening my hide; in their own ways, even J and RD work with me on that aspect of my training. TM, well his fine handiwork could be the catalyst that caused the adverse reactions … I can hear the unanimous “you’re welcome” from my village echoing in my head. *smile*
It’s been a fabulous Saturday, all told. I took some shoes back to Nordstrom after I left the office and ended up with other shoes as well as a few new casual tops and professional blouses plus shorts for summer and capris for casual workdays … all at least a size smaller than last I bought such items. Except the shoes. Shoes are pretty much my usual size in sandals and wedges.
I love progress.