First world problem perspective

So I’m whining about work and recognizing the disconnect between intellectual understanding of what is happening and some emotional desire that it not be this way. I get it. It’s not the end of the world, I’m managing it fairly well, and in most ways my job has been winnowed down from a decision-making manager to a bookkeeper and clerk typist who can actually write. Where a couple of weeks ago I was someone who took care of office-related matters, chose products and vendors, had the authority to sign contracts and enter agreements, had routine contact with clients about their account with the firm, I am reduced to someone who must get multiple levels of approval from various parties before proceeding with just about everything. What once took maybe 15 minutes to be crossed off as completed and then promptly purged from my thinking now takes 2 or 3 days and seems to require adjustments after the fact. It is frustrating, but I could easily envision it happening the minute I learned the merger was proceeding.

The most challenging part of my job dumbing down, though, is the fact that soon where I could help or guide or impact issues that arise within the firm and with the staff, I am mostly no longer going to be involved in the resolution come July 1. It is a tough step backward and why I will not stay a minute longer than absolutely necessary.

There are other things I’m wrapping up. Sad things for me that come with the end of a firm I have loved worked at and with people I loved working with. I will miss them. I already miss the change ambiance of the office. Perhaps the merger will be good for each of us as individuals. While I am certain of my own future plans, I don’t deny part of my present day difficulties relates to letting go of the job where I felt like such an integral part of the vibrancy of the firm. Going from a boutique like experience to the bland impersonality of a Macy’s-like shopping experience is harsh.

For all my whining and venting here, it takes only one event to slap me back to reality and my own privilege and self-involvement.

M’s best friend was hit by a cyclist and is presently hospitalized and suffering from some pretty serious injuries. Head trauma, internal bleeding, broken hand that will require several surgeries to repair. This man is a landscape designer and sole proprietor small businessman; he does not have employees who can fill in the gaps until he is back on his feet. Fortunately he does have a brother who can step in and see what is in progress and needs to be done. M is heading off later this afternoon to assist his bestie’s brother retrieve equipment, assess work in progress, and finish up some work at a couple of sites that must be completed this week.

I am horrified at the events that have unfolded in the last 24 hours. M feels fortunate to be in a position to help out with jobs, so his friend does not have to forfeit income for work mostly done and juggling commitments to other runner friends with a big race looming in less than 2 weeks. A lot going on in our world, although M is doing the heavy lifting and bearing the brunt of those far more real and close to home responsibilities.

My job is just that – a job – and what has happened to our friends puts it into a clearer perspective for me. I’m still unhappy with the turn of events, still disappointed in a couple of my associates, still not looking forward to the battles and boredom and tension that will come with this merger and the changes it will bring with it. Small cakes compared to someone lying in a hospital bed with broken parts and a recovery days ahead.

On this Wednesday

So today I was at my non-Kaiser doc’s office getting a B12 shot and asked him if he could take a peek at my knee. Strange thing, this knee. It’s stiff, it’s range of motion seems to be shrinking, and the only time is seems to ache or give me any grief (i.e., make me think about it) is when I am not in the gym or engaged in productive, weight-bearing movement of any sort. Weird, huh? I mean, I went through 3 sets of walking lunges yesterday, 3 sets of both regular and single-leg leg press machine things this morning without a peep. Yet walking out of my house to my car to drive to work and stepping down off the step of feel this squeak of pain from it. Not serious, youchie! yelping sort of pain, but an abnormal spark. Between that being a regular thing and the knee looking a little different, I figured a hand-holding/reassure-me-I’m-fine look-see was in order.

Nothing to worry about, no “please excuse Janelle from exercise because she is truly lame” type notes to present to J as to why I am breaking up with him and he will never see me again (as if he could be so fortunate). Nope, this is simply one of those things that happen. He recommended I take a maximum dosage of Aleve or Motrin for a week to reduce any inflammation, because of course it was hardly puffy today. He also highly recommends I take the fish oil consistently. Since it is not hurting all the time or while under any pressure, it seems likely more an irritation than anything serious. However, should it get worse, should I actually do something new to harm myself, well, we will cross that diagnostic bridge when I jump off of it.

I am relieved. M, being the athletic hard-ass that he is, essentially told me the same thing, only in more “suck it up, buttercup” type language. M is hurting somewhere, somehow nearly all the time, and while he explains and complains about the reality of closing in on 60, he’s still up and getting out the door every morning for his 18 (or more) miles of running. I am not nearly so tough. I am fine with seeing my doc about the mysteries that ail me, because I’m in his office anyway. My bigger fear was he might suggest taking off a few days (or weeks!) from my exercise schedule. I feel as if I am finally hitting something akin to a stride with cadence and intensity of focus and do not want to have to start all over again after a brief intermission.

Fortunately he thinks I’m fine and will be better after following his recommendations. And needless to say, I’m delighted his advice and recommendations were Aleve or Motrin for a week and more consistency with fish oil. I can continue along my merry exercise pathway.

Which brings me to another thought. While I was waiting for the doc today, something I was reading made me think about my feelings about exercise and my daily habits at the gym. I have become habituated to my morning routines, getting to the gym and going through my List of the day. It has become an integral part of my life, an unexpected enhancement, something that makes me feel better about being me. But my thought – do I now love exercise because I am getting better at it, or am I getting better at it because I have decided I like it? And really, does it matter one iota? Mostly not, probably not at all. Truly the only thing that matters is that I get in there and get it done. Every single day.

Chatting with one of my sisters in the training tribe this morning, and again, I recognize myself in the uncertainty about the resistance training and remembering all the cues and positioning with all this stuff. The perfectionism, the desire to try and to practice and to show improvement – I recognize all that in my own history. When something is so new and It’s really hard to let go of, to just believe that while my efforts may not be perfect, they are good enough. Practice, practice, practice. M has always told me that what matters is doing something every day, even if it is only a little bit, and I have taken that to heart.

I am not so afraid or anxious about whatever J might spring on me tomorrow as I am about the idea of injuring myself from trying too hard to maintain too rigorous of a training schedule. Overtraining is not something I have any concerns about, especially now when I feel more energized than fatigued after practices. Of late my focus at the gym has been sharper, more intense, and I believe my nemesis exercises are improving because of it. TRX pushups feel competent. Single leg cable RDLs this morning were better, even if I could only complete the minimum 12 per leg per set for 3 sets.

So essentially, things are going really well with the exercise, and I wondered if this knee thing is me looking for ways to shoot myself in the foot and create a problem. I interpret this as negative girl looking for a backdoor into my thinking and how upbeat and balanced I am feeling. Cruise control has never been within my comfort realm, especially under negative girl’s influence, and I become suspicious of anything going too well for too long. I start to be sure I must be doing something wrong if it feels like it might be too right or too easy. However, I am also happy to report even that is improving; I accept that I am getting a better with practice.

With negative girl presently on lockdown, I am merely being cautious and curious about my intermittent knee aches. Like so many things about regular and consistent exercise, how seriously to take pain and potential injury is kind of a big deal. Where I once would have used it as a convenient excuse to stop what I am doing, I now see it as just another learning experience to explore.

And I’m happy it is not something that needs to be explored too deeply or with much detail or more serious medical intervention.

On the work front, things are settling. My former receptionist is now just that – a former employe. While there were angry tears, raised voices (hers, not mine), and much hyperbolic drama in her departure, there were thankfully no parents involved. As is typical in these matters for me, my overriding emotion is relief. Truly, I am not a fire-happy manager, but sometimes with new management and structure comes changes not everyone is willing to put forth effort at adjustment or adaption. The rest of the office is either happy or working on getting closer to it, and for that I’m glad.

We have had guests the last few days, which has been a challenge to balance everything. Lovely and self-sufficient people, and I have been so happy to see and spend time with them, but I am looking forward to coming home tomorrow and not having anyone but M in the house.