Happy New Year! Again.

For the second year in a row, I am celebrating the new year in September. This has three big advantages: I beat the inevitable crush of New Year’s blog posts from other writers, the weather is better, and there are far fewer drunks. It’s like going to a beach town in the off-season…

Thanks to the miracles of the Internet I don’t have to vaguely allude to what my goals were last year- instead I can dissect them with all of the verve and enthusiasm of a squeamish middle-schooler gutting a frog. Time to jump into the Wayback machine!

waynes-world-dissolve
Diddly doo diddly doo diddly doo

Continue reading “Happy New Year! Again.”

The best way to lose your job

This has been an unusual year for me in the world of work.

After having a successful first year with a company, I started the second year full of promise in a new role that I thought was going to be a great fit. For a variety of reasons, things didn’t work out the way I had hoped. I still have very fond feelings for the company, the people, and the product, but the gap between what I was being asked to do and the resources I was given to do it was too wide to be overcome by hard work and enthusiasm alone.

As the pressure to produce gradually increased it became apparent that my “new role” was a solution without a problem and there was a clock ticking for me to find a new job. So I looked for work, but not super aggressively because I was still getting paid, and still sort-of trying to accomplish the impossible. Along the way I was sleeping in, exercising, spending a lot of time with the kids, and writing.

Some weeks I would do, at maximum, an hour’s worth of actual work.

The checks kept coming, and I kept doing the same things. Summer came, and I did maybe an hour’s worth of work a month.

I knew the end was coming though. It had to. No one was this nice.

When the end finally did come in August, it was a relief. It was the shortest layoff conversation I’ve ever had.

September was really nice, all things considered. We had enough money that I could put off looking for work for a little while longer, so I did. I wrote a ton of posts. Got started on my book.

Fortune smiled on me again when a lunch led to a phone call which led to coffee which led to an interview which led to an offer to start at the beginning of November. So I did. Happy ending.

spongebobdancinghappy

In this holiday season of reflection and introspection, I have plenty to introspect on. I am grateful that I’ve written something that was read over 50,000 times (and it was over 2500 words too, so everyone who says long form writing doesn’t work on the Internet can suck it). I’m excited that I was featured on Freshly Pressed twice. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to spend the past year closer to my family than they would probably want, helping with the car pools, making dinner, and just being there.

I started writing in a large part because I was desperate to create. Along the way I learned a lot about myself and who I really was. I have always been a “live to work” kind of guy, and this past year really made me question that assumption. Now that I am working again (and substantially more occupied) I have a new set of assumptions to question around how to balance my competing priorities of work, family, and self.

I used to think roller-coaster years were the anomalies. Now I’ve seen enough years to know that every year is full of ups and downs. All you can do is hope your ride stays on the rails and doesn’t get stuck.

Thanks for riding with me.


I’d love to hear your stories of being lost and then found too! Leave a comment and share.

New Year, New Habits

There are people in this world that get up every day and relish the challenge that life brings. Then there are folks like myself that get up every day and manage to consume a cup of coffee without hurting anyone. Life’s challenges don’t come until about an hour after the second cup.

I spent a good portion of my 20s and early 30s trying to convince myself that I was a motivated go-getter. I have passed my natural half-life at this point so I decided to be honest with myself: I am actually pretty content to just putter around the house and try a new flank steak marinade. 

I signed up for the newsletter by this guy James Clear, who writes a lot about the power of habits. A lot of it is standard motivational type stuff, but some of it speaks to me so I keep reading. I am also a BIG believer in the power of habit. There are some things in my life that are already on auto-pilot, but there are a lot more things that I don’t do regularly that I’d like to make automatic. 

If I was sitting down and designing a calendar from scratch, I wouldn’t pick January to start a new year. I owe nothing to Janus, for one. For two, it’s too cold, I’m broke from Christmas, and the last thing I want to do is haul my carcass out of hibernation in some misguided attempt to make a New and Better Me.

September is a great month to start a new year. It feels a lot more precipitous for change. Still on the edge of summer, but you know colder weather is right around the corner so you better get that harvest in if you want to eat.

January really has a lot of the “just ride it out” quality to it– in September there’s still time to scramble and get things done if you hurry.

Today I decided to write down a bunch of stuff in my calendar so it would show up on my phone as a repeating reminder. Every day except for Sunday, I am going to:

  • Get up at the same time every morning
  • Have only one cup of coffee, then go for a run
  • Come back and put on Grown Up Clothes, as if I Am Going to Leave The House
  • Eat a decent breakfast and help the rest of the family get out of the door on time every morning so I can walk the kids to school
  • Sit down at the computer and try to write for at least 30 minutes

It is a sign of how far I have to go that I am going to feel accomplished about waking up.

I have always struggled with slipping into Sloth Mode… I want to create a feeling of wrongness when I’m not doing these things. I am particularly excited about the last one, because it’s led to this post, and will, in time, get me to finish The Book.

Yes I am writing a book. No I don’t want to talk about it right now. But I have an outline, so that’s a start.

Any of you all struggling with bad habits and trying to form good ones? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section.