Foggy Crystal

Dear J-

How much do you let one side of your life — let’s say work — spill into all your other buckets? I suppose the answer lies in how you define yourself, whether through career or achievements at home (“Went Outdoors”, “Washed Dishes” — so many opportunities to be a hero) or some other hobbyist measure. It’s too easy to conflate work with self: after all if they’re paying you to do that then of course you’re going to value it. The longer you spend dwelling on it, though, the more likely you are to mistake that for all you’re worth. Stay sane and make sure you have something else to do outside of work. The classic example that’s been handed down to me lately is the overworked aerospace engineer whose life expectancy shrinks to months upon retiring: if there’s nothing to do, there’s nothing to live for.

Beware of people who would take advantage of your good nature for personal benefit. If you are a doormat like me who gets along to get along you’ll find yourself signing your life away with a smile and a nod because that’s what you said you’ll do and no bones about it, didn’t you know what you were doing? There’s a cartoon from xkcd that discusses responsibility and the feeling of maturity that we all fake at some point or another. Well, enough with that. I would leave if I can on good terms, but that’s icing on the cake that has its own delicious filling (feeling) of being able to leave and I’m old enough that cake isn’t going to be the right thing all the time anyway.

I’m less worried about whre I’m going than I am about those I’m leaving and I think that’s backwards. This is the longest time I’ve spent at any one desk ever — five years to get comfortable in the corner and back and forth from warehouse to desk and knowing everyone in the building. Five years is enough. Five years is plenty. I look forward to going in the same mix of dread and wonder that accompanied the changing of classes and class schedules: find a new routine and route, people you run across and sit next to, choose your own adventure. It may be foggy now but that’s going to clear before long.

Mike

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