8/22/07: Like a moth to a flame that burns at both ends

Word count: 59580 | Since last entry: 0 | Days until retirement: 40

There are times when you have to steal time from work because of urgent personal business. There are times when you have to work late, stealing time from personal business, for work. And there are times like the one I’ve been in for, fundamentally, most of this year, when work and personal life are both desperate to steal time from each other. So you balance them, and steal time from something else. Like sleep.

We’ve been to Austin and Phoenix in the last two weeks (highlight of the A&C weekend for me was a long, energetic Challenge tip with Saundra Bryant calling to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” — now that’s dancing!) , and we leave for Japan on Sunday. I have a gi-normous list of things I really want to get done before we leave. I’m plugging away at it bit by bit. Tonight: hepatitis booster shot, and new pants. The thrills just keep comin’.

At work, my main project is winding up (we’ll have a Release Candidate this week, if all goes well) and I’m supposed to be 100% on another project, although the main project isn’t quite dead yet and there are two or three other projects that would sure like to have an hour or two a day. I’m managing all these things reasonably well — not everything is going to get done, but the most important things will.

And then there are the other things. Like, I haven’t been to the gym in the last month except when I had an appointment with my trainer (who, by the way, is quitting at almost exactly the same time as I retire, so I don’t have to worry about her — I’ll get a new trainer at the gym closer to home). Like, I haven’t written a word of fiction in a month (though we did do Bento, which is back from the printer and will be mailed after we return from Japan). Like sleep, and groceries, and doing the dishes. All of those I promise I will get back to after Japan. And/or after I retire. Which is two weeks after we return from Japan.

You know how, when you have a new baby or a new relationship, life is full of firsts? First steps, first words, first kiss, first movie together? When someone dies or a relationship ends, there are lasts — last walk in the park together, last kiss, last movie together — but those are usually only visible in retrospect. In this case I am leaving work on a known date in the future and I can see the lasts as they go by. Some of them are sweet, like “last time I’ll have to leave a convention on Sunday afternoon to get back to work on Monday” and “last 8am meeting”. Some are more bittersweet.

Today I had a meeting where it was very clear to everyone, especially me, just how much I understand about this product, why it is the way it is, and where it can plausibly go from here, and how all of that is in my head and can’t easily be beamed to someone else. Also today I sent out a mass email to the whole building announcing my retirement. I left as quickly as I could after sending it so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. Why is this so hard?

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