Red Queen’s Race

Somewhere along the line, probably about junior high, we had a math book which had illustrations from Through the Looking Glass at the beginning of every chapter. One that I always remembered was this one:

John Tenniel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Well, in our country,” said Alice, still panting a little, “you’d generally get to somewhere else—if you run very fast for a long time, as we’ve been doing.”

“A slow sort of country!” said the Queen. “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

 Carroll, Lewis: Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, Chapter 2

A very wise woman at work today told me to have fun this weekend or she would kick my ass on Monday (I’m paraphrasing) and that got me to thinking tonight, with this picture being where I ended up.

Part of the route that got me here was realizing that this was the fifth night in a row where it was suddenly 23:30 or later and I had gotten so wrapped up in work pretty much since the moment I got home from the office (which was way after 20:30 tonight) that I hadn’t relaxed or breathed or done much of anything “fun.” It’s not that I don’t want to have fun, and I most assuredly don’t want to have my ass kicked on Monday (and she can and will do it, trust me!), it’s just that I’ve got so damn much to do!

One route, of course, would be to do less, to take on fewer responsibilities. There’s no law that says that I have to take on a volunteer position that takes up so much of my time and adds so much stress. And “volunteer” implies (correctly) that I can walk away and be a not-volunteer.

But that’s not in my nature. I would like to get out at some point, but I want to do it on my terms and I want to fulfill the responsibilities that I’ve agreed to. I don’t quit – there’s a whole psychological package behind that, but the end result is the same. Walking away is harder on me that sticking with it. At least, we haven’t yet found the point where that balance shifts.

So (and this also relates to that “marathon mentality” that I’ve referred to) the outlook is to suck it up, work harder, sleep less, believe that “the only way out is through,” and when I get caught up (I know, I can hear everyone laughing, but I’m going to finish this thought anyway) then I can slow down.

Which puts me in the Red Queen’s Race. If I want to get anywhere, I have to run twice as fast. Even if I’m already running as fast as I can.

I’ll be there on time Monday morning for my ass kicking.

1 Comment

Filed under Paul

One response to “Red Queen’s Race

  1. Like you, I’m currently working too hard on a volunteer assignment. Mine will be past the worst in just over a week… yours seems to be making a full-timer out of you. Just make sure you’re doing it all with your eyes wide open and brain engaged 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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