April 2010 archive
my (still tiny) cactus contemplating the house next doorThe last time I tried to work full-time was around 7 years ago. I didn't hold up well to the strain and backed off to half-time.
Once again, I'm trying full-time work. As I'd expected, it's borderline as to whether I can endure it. It seems doable but it's pushing it.
People ask why I didn't get part-time work instead. The quick answer is, the interesting work that was on offer was full-time.
I have continual doubts as to whether I'll be strong enough to work for a few years as I'd like to. It is easy to imagine having to quit because I can't take it, and that thought is a dangerous distraction.
I was sick a lot when I was a kid. I'm convinced that was partly because of the advantages to being sick: you got more attention and you didn't have to go to school. Even though I am aware of that routine and don't want to fall into it, the temptation remains.
Part of what I like about climbing is the how plainly it demonstrates the effects of one's thoughts. Contemplating backing off of a hard route is seductive (it's easier) and self-fulfilling (your ability to perform depends on your determination to go forward).
The better part of valour is discretion, so I hear. I used to imagine there was such a thing as perfect judgment, as if it were possible to make ideal choices despite having incomplete information.
I took on this work in the spirit of there's no way to know how it'll go unless I try. Lone Pine's demographics are unlike those of urban areas. Whereas cities have a lot of people in their 20s and 30s, those who grow up in Lone Pine (to the extent that even occurs) usually leave after high school to experience all that a small, remote town does not offer. So part of the culture shock I have experienced in the past month has come from being around more young people. Mostly, that's been refreshing.
I have a fraction of the sex drive that I used to. One of the benefits thereof is that I don't feel the kind of frustration I used to be subject to while being around beautiful yet inaccessible young men. Yes--my eyes still work, I still appreciate what I see--I just don't feel the discontent I once knew all so well. (And I especially knew it in Boulder, 15 miles from here, where I lived 25 years ago; more about that some day.)
And Lone Pine doesn't have a railroad. (It once did, but that's another story.) Longmont, on the other hand, has freight trains that you can hear anywhere in town. A train is coming through as I write; from over a mile away, its horn has just the right volume and tone: soft, rounded, and smeared out in pitch from the combination of variously doppler-shifted reflections. Good stuff. Only a handful of trains come through a day, not the onslaught of trains that one gets in, say, Flagstaff. The view across the street from where I work: greenhouse, cell phone tower, and, were the clouds not there, mountains.
In another sense, it's the first real weekend I've had in ages. It's been a long time since I last worked in an office or on a schedule, and I've been accustomed to all the days of the week being largely equivalent.
I imagined that not being young any more would make the upheaval of moving harder to take--but no, it's been about the same. In some ways it's easier because I've been through it all before. I know it's normal to have a roller-coaster mix of feelings, to wonder why you did it, and to continually compare your new life to your previous one. But having demanding work is an aid to banishing what are largely pointless thoughts. I know I have to stay focused in order to do what I've set out to do.
I remember being more plagued by pointless, repetitive thoughts when I was younger. I had even given the syndrome a name: circumcogitation. Why could't I just say no to thoughts I wanted to banish? The quick answer is, I probably didn't want to badly enough.
The plants I brought with me have had an easy time. They're all, we're still getting sun and water?-- excellent! I live in a neighborhood with street names like Incorrigible Circle.