Grievin’ and Dreamin’

compassSounds a bit like Rhymin & Stealin, or, Drivin’ N’ Cryin’, but whatever it sounds like to you, it’s the process I’m working through right now.

First: the grieving

That was the advice I received the day after learning my services were no longer needed at work. Both parties were ready to move on, but the news still stung and I was advised to take time to mourn the loss. That was helpful because it helped me to clear my mind. It gave me a chance to feel what I was feeling and not act like it didn’t bother me. It did bother me and I needed to grieve the loss.

Now: the dreaming

“What do I want to be when I grow up?”

Although it’s better to ask that when you’re young and have it answered by now, plenty of people restart their careers in their 30s, 40s and 50s. They start their own business or change industries completely because they felt a draw to something different. They do it out of necessity, need, the economy or passion. What I’m learning is it’s OK to try something different.

For my parents, and the greatest generation before them, the deal was you worked one or two jobs your whole career. You got a gold watch at retirement (if you were lucky) and lived on a pension (even luckier). They stayed put for the most part – and that worked for them – but it’s not the case any longer. You’ve got to be willing to learn a new skill, take a risk and go about things differently or you’ll end up where you’ve always been. I value consistency, but how many more chances will I truly get to hit the “reset button” and try something new? I’m guessing not many, so now seems like a good time to at least explore the possibilities.

The last month has been filled with one-on-one meetings, assessments and tests to determine the next course. I’ve filled white boards with ideas I never knew were in my head, read books and replaced playlists with pod casts about success. I’ve been to meet-ups, captured ideas on Evernote while running and reintroduced myself to the Y. Some fear and loathing and some joy have been experienced along the way as well. I’m getting my career compass bearing, but also stopping to smell a few roses along the way like:

  • jumping on the trampoline with my daughter
  • camping with my oldest son
  • sitting with my youngest son as he learns to crawl
  • taking some load off my wife so she can do some things she wants to do (I should also say here that we’ve never communicated better than we have in the last month – we’re in this together)
  • hitting the matinée with the whole family
  • serving on a mission trip to Peru
  • getting in the best shape I possibly can get in
  • working on micro-business ideas
  • learning what my true interests, skills and motivators are and aligning them with my future

I look forward to the next job. It could be working for myself, someone else, or a combination of the two. Whatever it is, I’m thankful I grieved and finally let some of the dreams out of my head. I’m also thankful for the time to camp, cook, crawl and jump with the ones who mean the most to me.

That’s an unrealized dream coming true.

Phantoms, Snoring and Cat Pee – The Week That Was

Quick hits form the road last week:

Goodbye old friend, but you smell like the inside of a cat and that's unacceptable.

Goodbye old friend, but you smell like the inside of a cat and that’s not working for me in this relationship.

Phantom – Our son wakes up most nights, which means I wake up most nights. I thought going on the road for work would mean that at least I would get some better sleep. Instead, I wake up disoriented, thinking I hear my son crying a few times every night.

Tone Def – Free wi fi was more than the guy in the seat behind on a SWA flight last week could apparently handle. Thanks for the music you shared with us all.  I especially liked that you also fell asleep and snored. Nice touch.

Zyppah – On the subject of snoring, the miracle of satellite radio has brought us limitless, up to date news, talk and music without interruption. It’s also brought us the worst radio commercials without interruption. The main offender right now is “Jimmy from Zyppah.” If you have heard him, you know what I mean; if you haven’t you’re blessed. Runner up is Big Lou, who is on meds too and wants to sell you insurance.

My Backpack smells like the inside of a Cat – I noticed last Monday that my back back was wet. That wasn’t odd to me because I had eye drops in one of the pockets and figured it had leaked. I cleaned out the wet stuff, packed, and went to the airport. By Tuesday morning in the hotel, I realized it wasn’t eye drops.

It was cat pee.

Looks like the cat will get to know the great outdoors sooner rather than later. Enjoy it!


About Last Week

Three observations from Dad’s desk about the last week:

It's a blur.1. Walking Dead – Flu-like symptoms. Concussion. ER visit. Concussion protocol. Boredom. Cabin fever. Ear infection. Crying baby. Up all night. Interrupted sleep. Go to work. Repeat.

Last week felt more like one long, long, long, long day than seven normal ones. We have washed hands, washed clothes, and cleaned door knobs to fend off spreading germs. We have helped one child get well, while the baby, despite our best efforts to comfort him, has been waking up 5-6 times a night – just because. We’ve had to raise the spirits of our daughter who suffered a concussion. No computer, TV, reading, loud noises (did I mention that the baby has been crying all night), or bright lights. She is so bored. My wife is tired and so am I.

The upside has been all of the texts, emails, phone calls, cards, visits and even meals. It all was very encouraging to us and we appreciate it. As a dad, it was sweet to see all of the prayers pour in around your children. As a husband, it was nice to see friends rally around my wife.

Prediction: This too shall pass.

2. Parenthood wrap – the show ended a six season run on Thursday.  I don’t share all the values of the Braverman clan, but I tuned in to watch most weeks because I found them interesting and spot on with their portrayal of the real life tensions and all the little moments that are part of a family. The cast, story, depth and delivery made it unique, compared to other offerings on the TV landscape. Parenthood, you were really good and you will be missed.

Prediction: The replacement show will suck, like most of what is on TV.

3. Super hype – I’ll watch the Superbowl and am leaning towards the Patriots, but I have no time for the 2 week hype fest between the conference championships and the big game.  Deflategate, Marshawn Lynch, Robert Kraft, media day – it’s too much (there are even betting odds on the color of Katy Perry’s hair for her halftime performance).

Predictions: New England – 31, Seattle – 22. Katy Perry hair color – black.

3.5 Perfection – Here is a bonus thing. My Kentucky Wildcats (I’d like to point out that I’m a native Kentuckian and alum) are 20-0 thus far this season. I won’t really start watching them until the conference tournament begins – it can consume you – but I am watching from afar.

Prediction: They will stumble, but win the title.


The Upside of Being Without Your iPhone

IPhone_5CThere was an upside of having my car and iPhone stolen last week just before a business trip.

My car, laptop and suitcase were quickly recovered, but my iPhone, which was in the front seat, was gone – most likely to be resold or chucked into the river. That was last Sunday night and it was not until later on Tuesday that I was full restored to the standard of the world. That means a I bravely continued with my planned travel, worked and lived without my iPhone for nearly 48 hours! That means, I made it to East Tennessee and back without a map (Lewis and Clark would be so proud), without texting, without placing a call, without picking up my iPhone every five miles to make sure I hadn’t missed anything.

Miraculously, I lived and realized a few things:

1. My anxiousness gave way to thankfulness – I would have normally felt out of touch while the fires of work spun out of control. I would have normally been dying to know what was transpiring and been anxious about not being able to know. Then I realized I had received a gift. I realized just how dependent I have become on this little box, roughly the size of a cigarette pack (cigarettes, it turns out, arent good for you either). When I saw my car drive off without me in it, many things occurred to me:

  • STOP!!!!!
  • What if they (there was 2 of them) hurt or kill someone?
  • They’ll trash my car…right?
  • They’ll crash my car…right?
  • What if my kids had been in the car?

This gave me some perspective. While I was pissed, I was thankful that – all things being equal – the damage done was minimal. In fact, the phone being taken from the car may have been a blessing. 

2. I noticed what was around me – East Tennessee is mountainous and very nice to look at all times of year, but it looks really awesome in the Fall. I noticed it, like I would have noticed it making the same drive 15 years ago without a cell phone to distract me. Also, the sunset was spectacular. I should have taken a picture…..but no phone means no camera. I guess it will have to stand in my mind as a glimpse of the world between me and God. I’ll take that. I’ll take more of that.

3. I cleared my head – No phone meant minimal distractions. It was just me, the road and the radio. I gave thought to what my priorities should be, how I should best spend the rest of my time, and other things that I needed to pay attention to in my life.

In the end, I was able to communicate with my wife via email and chat functions though the laptop from the hotel or whenever I pulled over. By late Tuesday morning, I was back online, but I am strangely nostalgic for the recent days of no phone.

Man, I miss those days.