And out of nowhere, like a dreaded cold that chills your bones, The Months of Ber have fallen upon us, signalling the time to check on our affairs and tie up loose ends wherever we can.
With summer wrapped up but a wealth of work still sitting on my plate, I looked at my desk and didn’t even know where to start. When I added cleaning my desk to The 2014 100 back in January, it was no joke — the pressed wood of my 2% stake in my home has long vanished under piles of unfinished ideas, half-read books, and a plethora of resources I got with good intentions, but ultimately used them so seldom that all they do is take up space.
It’s time to figure out what really needs doing in my life, and with luck, I can enter 2015 much farther ahead than I was a mere 9 months ago.
Somewhere along the road, I lost a week. Whether it was from an Icepocalypse in Toronto that displaced us from our home, leaving it without power for 30 hours; a nasty illness making it much harder stay jolly (and/or conscious) through the 4-day celebration that is our family’s Christmas; or simply underestimating the wealth of family and friends we have that wants to meet DoomzToo, I suddenly found myself at the tail end of December with entirely too much content left to write!
A sane man would quit, patting himself on the back for the best effort he could’ve possibly put out in a year, and rest on his laurels promising to do a better job the next year.
Unfortunately for me, no one’s ever mistook me for a sane man.
In an effort to make up for lost time, I’ve written. Not the easiest when you have a son who refuses to sleep without being held after all the attention he got at Christmas, but in those 5-minute spurts where he isn’t fighting the urge to shut his eyes and catch some Zs, that’s what I’m doing.
So feast your eyes on the next installment of my year-end wrap-up, and if I don’t manage to knock all these 100 stories out before we’re singing Auld Lang Syne on the 1st, just remember this — I left 2013 with a roar, not a whimper.
The first day back to work after a lengthy vacation is usually a pretty strange feeling — but for me this time, it was even more different than what I was used to.
In the past, I’ve mourned the loss of freedom to while away hours as I pleased, the choice to wake up when I wanted — these things were always replaced with alarm clock-reveilles and the feeling that I wasn’t getting anything done quickly enough.
But this time was different — for the first time, I’d come back with a single question:
Before I’d left for Tanzania, I was pulling 12- to 16-hour days trying to wrap up as much work as possible before leaving. It was as if the fate of the world depended on me getting all of my work done right there and then.
Fast-forward a couple of weeks and I’;m sitting in a hut the size of my office and made of dirt, wood, dried grass and cow dung. It fits six family members, and no one complains about the snug fit, for this is all they know. (We didn’t take pictures, since we thought it would be disrespectful.)
Yet I’m back here and I’m hearing the moans of people who hate their job and others who feel stressed trying to get reports in on time.
However, I still understand how we can get so wrapped up in the madness of our jobs. I woke up this morning to a flurry of emails on my BlackBerry marked “high-priority” and “important”, and while I know it’s going to be a busy day, is that a good enough reason to get myself worked up?
Stop. Take a moment. Think about it — I mean really think about where you are in life and what really matters in your world.
Perhaps you too can experience a much-needed paradigm shift.
Tell your wife, tell your kids, tell your husbands:
There are some things that genuinely make me sad. The dissolving of a solid friendship when I put a ton of effort into something only to have it fail miserably. Sometimes though, it’s the difficult choices we need to make in life and doing things we might not want to do, but have to.
You might see a bit of contrast between this and my general viewpoint of engineering your life so that you don’t have to do the things you don’t want to, but some things are simply unavoidable.
This time it was delivering news I didn’t want to deliver.
If you get a solid eight hours of sleep every night, I’m pretty sure that you’ve never experienced the haze. That’s what I’m feeling right now — the haze that settles over you when you’re not quite asleep, but very much not awake — you’re somewhere in between, vaguely aware as time passes all around you. Some people chase after the feelings of calm and nonchalance that the haze can provide through using drugs or alcohol — for me, it all came down to an urgent presentation that was assigned late and due noon the next day.