Making lemonade

Everything looks a bit wobbly, these days
Everything looks a bit wobbly, these days

So, I’m back from vacation, and I am still pretty fried. The past months have really taken a lot out of me, and it’s not going to get restored overnight. One week of being off work is not going to right this boat. It’s going to take some time — and a lot of concerted effort to rest up and recover. It’s important. I can’t function fully in this current state.

I am incredibly dizzy and foggy and out of it. My whole system feels like it’s been stripped — demyelinated — rubbed raw. I am keeping going, but I feel like crap. Truly, I do. I’ve got to carve out some time today to just lie down and rest — find a remote parking spot and just shut my eyes for half an hour, before I get up and go back into the whole thing.

I also need to take care of things like getting a haircut and doing some banking. I’ve got some potential job interviews coming up, and I don’t want to look like a character on one of those Animal Planet reality shows when I get there 🙂

These are all good problems to have — new and different job prospects, banking to do, being so busy with work that I have to take a break and rest. I actually feel pretty relaxed, overall — a hell of a lot more relaxed than I did, six months ago. I’m just extremely tired, is all. That can be fixed.

I’m going to try to get to bed by 10 p.m. each night for the next month. I had planned to do that last night, but I had to talk to a friend who is having legal issues, and I need to go to court with them for support. We did find some interesting information about the used car salesman who is ripping them off, so that was entertaining and useful. But the call went too long, and I ended up in bed at 11:30, not 10:30. And then I thought I had to get up at 6:30 today, because of a conference call with someone overseas. So, I got up early, after getting about 6-1/2 hours of sleep, and I got on the call in time.

But then I realized that they had rescheduled earlier because of a conflict, and there I was, sitting in front of my computer feeling like crap, whacked out and shaking, for no good reason. Oh, well… it occurred to me that this could be a great opportunity to do other things for an hour. So, I’ve been checking my email, responding to another former colleague who is looking to hire a new team of developers (right up my alley), and get back to people who have been waiting to hear from me for the past week.

So, it’s not all bad. I just feel like crap, I’m shaking and sick to my stomach, and I’m so out of it, it’s not funny.

At least I don’t have to be fully functional for work, just yet.

So, now I get to take care of some things that I’ve been needing to do for some time. I can get an earlier start on my day, and I can move at a decent pace, instead of racing around like a stupid crazy person all the live-long day. I can’t even remember what it feels like to be rested. I’m sure I have been, in the past, but I have forgotten what that feels like. Part of me wants to just give up on the hope of ever being righted again, ever having a regular schedule, and ever being NOT sick to my stomach and NOT shaky and NOT foggy. I just want to forget about ever getting back to that place of balance and equanimity and just accept that I’m going to feel like crap for the rest of my life.

But that’s ridiculous. I know for a fact that the main reason I’m feeling as bad as I am, is because of the stupid international hours I’m on, the amount of work I have to do, the rickety technical systems I have to use at work which are constantly breaking and need to be fixed, and the constant stream of others’ slap-dash, lazy-ass sloppiness that I have to perpetually manage … try to head off at the pass… and then fix, when all goes wrong.

Oh. My. God. I am so looking forward to quitting this job.

And that’s the mindset that I need to be in — to not get bent out of shape that things are as screwed up as they are, but to be genuinely glad that all the little pains and difficulties are making it that much easier for me to leave this career-killer of a job. It’s like having a whole week’s beautiful weather turn ugly, the last day of vacation — as it did for me this past Sunday. It’s a blessing in disguise. It doesn’t making things simpler, logistically, but it makes things a whole lot easier, mentally speaking.

And that’s how I’m thinking about my fatigue. It has really caught up with me, after three years and three months. All that adrenaline and high-power enthusiasm that had me pumped for the first year, has turned into a massive backlog of stress hormones and high-power frustration. At the same time, though, it’s really ample proof that I need to move on.

And that’s critical, in my inertia-driven mind. Because as much as I want to go, part of me wants to stay put, because this job is a known quantity and it has great insurance coverage. (My spouse is extremely anxious about insurance issues, so I have to make sure that’s all taken care of.) But I can’t keep pushing myself this way, working stupidly long and irregular hours, week after week, dealing with people all over the world at all hours of the day, trying to make sure they do the right thing, when they have almost no incentive to do so.

I need a change. And I need to get back to a regular schedule with a company that is 100% American. I need to get myself back into a routine, with regular waking and sleeping hours, that aren’t interrupted by sh*t breaking that never should have broken in the first place.

That’s my lemonade — the determination to quit. It’s made of the bitter, bitter juice of years of over-work and under-appreciation and under-compensation, sweetened by the idea of never having to ever deal with this crap again. That’s a pretty sweet combination right there. It makes me incredibly happy, and I could sit for hours, just imagining what it will be like.

But rather than sitting around, mooning about it, I’m going to do something. I’m going to have my shower, go get my hair cut, and call the former colleague who wants to hire me. I’m going to take my sweet time going into the office, and I’m going to take things one at a time while I’m there, not worrying about it at all, because it’s all going to be over soon. This makes me so happy, it’s lighting a fire under me. A happy, cheerful fire.

Yes, I am wiped out and foggy and tired. But I’ve got enough in me to start the day and get off on the right foot.