Category Archives: Deep Thoughts

Stress Levels

It’s a revelation, although probably neither a unique one nor a stunning one.

But it just occurred to me that with the current issues from all directions – personal, professional, political, societal – I can barely remember what it was like to NOT have a half-dozen things at once trying to tie my guts into knots.

I know that such times existed, and not that so terribly long ago, when I could just to a large extent put life on cruise control for a while. It’s not that those times had no stress, just that it was more manageable and only spiked occasionally. Even then the peaks were terrifying – just stressful.

Now it seems like the “good” days are when I’m only at an “8” on a scale of one to ten, while most days are at a “9+.” And then there are the occasional days that go to an “11.” (Insert Spinal Tap meme here.)

When I make myself aware of this state I can remember the more normal times and on an intellectual level I can believe that those days will return. I’m having more problems convincing my gut that it will ever unclench.

Others have lived through such times. Intellectually (again) I suspect that the “normal” times that I want back are in fact the outlier when considered across the long arc of history. Probably by several standard deviations from the norm. That doesn’t make me want them back any less.

This stress thing sort of sucks.

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Music For “Breaking Strain Redeux”

Last night I waxed poetic about a favorite Kipling poem.

I realized after I posted that I’ve never pointed out that it’s been done very well as a song as well, by the legendary Leslie Fish.

And having implored you to “stand up and build anew,” how could I not also pass on this treasure from Stan Rogers?

Because the second most important lesson to be learned is that it’s not just one time that we have to get up, pull ourselves together, put our failures and defeats behind us, and try again.

While we can hope it’s not EVERY day, in times like these it might be a whole lot of days.

Do it anyway, if for no other reason than to piss off those evil bastards.

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Breaking Strain Redux

A bit more than a year ago I wrote pretty much the same thing that I was going to write tonight.

Go ahead and read that first. I’ll wait. (If that link doesn’t work, just search this site for “Breaking Strain” and you’ll find it. And please let me know that the link doesn’t work – how can I fix it if no one tells me it’s broken?)

Interesting to see the concept, desire for, and borderline desperate need at times for pillow forts. I had thought that particular recurring theme was recent, but everything old is new again apparently.

I’m thinking about this gem from Kipling tonight in terms of expectations, dreams, desires, reality, and hopes.

The juxtaposition of gratitude for what I have, the recognition of how much worse it could be, and the desire for what I dream of.

The memory of passions past, the despair of passions lost, the lust for passions regained.

Those are some nasty little three-ways to be caught betwixt and between!

And yet…

As Kipling reminds us, we don’t just fail…

Abide the twin damnation- 
To fail and know we fail.

…unlike the inanimate stuff we build with, we KNOW we fail!

And yet…

In spite of being broken,
Because of being broken
May rise and build anew
Stand up and build anew.

…we try again.

A year ago I said, “We’re badasses! Even when we don’t think we are.”

I wonder now just how much thinking is involved. It’s not the brain, it’s the heart. It’s not the body, it’s the soul. We’re badasses not when the world knocks us down, but when we get back up anyway.

Get some sleep. Hug someone you love if they’re there with you. Think about someone you love and smile if they’re not there with you.

Tomorrow morning stand up and build anew.

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Beacon Of Hope (Real World)

Even a bit of double hope over there on the right…

It’s not without justification that the Bible says that God gave Noah and his family the rainbow at the end of the Flood as a sign of Hope.

(I’ll pause to allow some recovery time for those of you who passed out after seeing me reference the Bible…)

Aside from the biblical references, multiple societies refer to the metaphor of rainbows (hope) following storms (difficult times).

This one was from a few days ago when LA got it’s first decent rain in a long time, which helped put out those fires. (And brought mud slides and flooding to the burn areas, but let’s not get too nit-picky here.) Tomorrow and Thursday we’ll get more rain and perhaps more rainbows.

I fear that the worst “storms” might be ahead of us in any number of dimensions, so I’ll start stocking up on rainbows now. I think we’re going to need them.

When the storms hit, whether they be in our personal lives, the lives of those near and dear to us, in our state, country, or across the whole world, let’s remember that there are going to be rainbows if we can just hold on to see them.

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Too Tired To Sleep

Bad night.

Long day.

Tomorrow’s going to be much longer.

Have to get up at O’Dark Thirty – need to go get some sleep while I can.

Too tired to get up and go to bed.

Too tired to sleep once I get there.

This shit was a badge of honor when I was twenty-two and I did what I had to do to get through college.

This shit was a pain in the ass when I was forty-two and I had to do what I had to do as a single dad.

Now it’s just shit. Maybe twenty years from now I’ll have something clever to say about it – right now, not so much.

G’night all.

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Double Mondays

It was good to have a holiday yesterday, but having the one day off in the middle of the week has consequences.

On the one hand, it’s like two separate, teeny-tiny little two-day work weeks, which are MUCH better than these lousy five-day work weeks.

On the other hand, it also means there are two Mondays, at least in the “it sucks to have to go back to adulting after spending the previous day having fun” definition.

I’m not 100% sure the good outweighs the bad here. It probably does, but it’s like 50.1% vs 49.9% when it would be so much better if it were, say, 75% vs 25%.

Those are odds I can live with.

Wait, that means that there are two Fridays also!

Okay, the two Monday thing is still a major flaw, but the scale is definitely tipping here.

Have a Happy Second Friday tomorrow!

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Life Lessons From Flying

Many lessons learned while learning to be a pilot can translate well to “normal” every day life. For example, fuel management.

It’s pretty important to not run out of fuel when flying. Ask the crew of the Gimli Glider if you don’t believe me.

Ditto with yourself in the slightly more metamorphic sense.

When flying, if something unexpected is happening and you’re about to run out of fuel, there are probably some warning signs. It might be natural to brush them off as a sensor error or some other minor flaw, but at some point you need to pay attention, possibly declare an emergency, and find a place to land **NOW**.

Ditto with yourself. Hopefully without the emergency part, but I guess there could be times when that comes into play.

Sometimes when flying you might foolishly know that you’re really pushing your luck on fuel capacity, but you really, really need to get there and get through, so you try to push it that teeny, tiny little bit more rather than landing for refueling… These pilots are generally known by the more common term, “statistics.”

Ditto with yourself. Again, perhaps not quite as drastic and life threatening, but a good life lesson nonetheless.

So tonight, when I had goals to reach and knew that I was tired and “running on fumes” but pushing it to get things done…

Let’s say that it’s a good night to recognize the signs, realize that none of those things is truly life and death, and to shut down **NOW**. Which is what I’m going to do.

Good night!

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