I’m glad to be back; A few words of explanation…
In the nearly 13 year existence of JSF the only time I’ve taken a break longer than two weeks was when we moved in late 2007/early 2008. My last blog was posted July 3, 2015–more than three weeks ago. So, while not unprecedented, it was certainly a lengthy and unusual absence.
As I stated in my July 3 blog, some of what’s been going on is personal stuff, some professional. I’m cool with talking publicly about a few of these things, but other subjects are private, some are merely boring to everyone but me, and some things I simply am not allowed to talk about–at least not yet.
It would be impossible for me to cover everything that’s transpired over the past month in a single blog, so today I’ll sort of give a bird’s-eye view, and focus in on some of the more interesting/relevant subjects in future blogs.
Oh, and please bear with me–I’m a little rusty. 😉
I guess I should start off by mentioning that I’m extremely tired. In fact, I’ve been sick the past couple of days. This has not been a vacation. In fact, it’s been quite the opposite.
With only a handful of exceptions, my July schedule has looked like this:
- Wake up between 4:00 and 4:30 AM. Sometimes even earlier, but never later than 4:30.
- After rising I’d do a couple hours of work while eating breakfast at my desk.
- At 6:30 AM (or a little before), I’d set off on my daily ride (yeah, the streak is alive and well at 573 days). Most rides were about 2-3 hours in length. Some longer, a couple shorter.
- After my ride I’d check on stuff at work and then spend the next 4 hours doing projects–90% of which were physical in nature and outdoors under the broiling Florida sun.
- Around 1:00 PM I’d be at my desk with lunch, and would work until bed time. I’d usually be in bed around 8:00 or 8:30 PM.
- Wake up, do it all again.
Over the course of one’s life many things change. I’m certainly not the same person I was 10, or even 5, years ago. Sometimes changes are slow and almost imperceptible, and sometimes they happen in the blink of an eye. Some changes come easy, but some are painful and difficult.
Slow changes can be particularly tricky. Recently I realized that I have been trying to hold on to things that were no longer all that important to me. Nostalgia? Apathy? Laziness? I don’t know. Probably some of all of that. There are only so many hours in the day, and for quite some time I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by my many obligations. I knew I needed to take stock of what was truly important to me, and cut away the dead weight. A spring cleaning of my existential closet, as it were.
Writing this blog is important to me, and something I very much enjoy doing. My daily blog is not going anywhere for the foreseeable future. I did, however, feel that I needed to put my blog on hold for a few weeks so that I could completely focus my energy on making some changes in my life.
I am not trying to be elusive, so I’ll give an example.
When Lisa and I bought our home in late 2007, I had the entire home professionally landscaped. It looked amazing, and we were very happy with it. Then, not long after, I designed and constructed a beautiful backyard pond, and surrounded it with yet another elaborate landscape.
I bit off more than I could chew. The upkeep on all of that stuff–mowing, edging, string trimming, weeding the dozens of beds, maintaining the pond, fertilization, keeping the plants trimmed and so on was taking up a good chunk of my free time. When we lost several mature and prized palms to an unpreventable and incurable disease (Fusarium wilt), I became extremely frustrated. This frustration turned to indifference after hard freezes killed many of our plants, along with sections of my once immaculate lawn, over a couple of harsh winters. Essentially I felt as if I had been wasting my time and money. Eventually I said, “Screw the f’ing yard!”, and I started to let things go.
Thankfully that negative attitude only lasted for a relatively short time. I’ve been working my ass off this month to restore my yard to its former glory. That said, I’m not making the same mistakes I made back in 2008. I’ve dramatically simplified the landscape, using only beautiful, but low maintenance, plants, flowers and shrubs–and far fewer than I once had. I also only used cold-tolerant plants, as I am done trying to cover hundreds of plants only to have them die anyway.
This is just one example of simplification. Many others have taken place alongside of this one.
I need to get my ride in. I’m on track to break 1,300 miles for this month, which will be a new single-month distance personal record. Yeah, in addition to working outside in the heat every day I’ve been training my ass off. Probably why I’m feeling sick and run down. Now that the yard work is mostly done I can finally get some relative rest, but that distance PR is going down!