Today’s prompt asks the question about a point in my life when Fear made a decision I couldn’t make for myself, and what the impact of that is even until today.
When I was ready to graduate college with my BA, I seriously thought about going to Law School. It seemed like a natural progression to take with a degree in Political Science. The thing that held me back was fear of the future. I knew that only Dad’s death and the help from the VA had allowed me to go to college in the first place. Mom was doing her best, but I yearned for my own independence.
I knew that if I went to Law School, it would mean moving to another city in another state, with no guarantee that the VA would still help. I checked on several law schools and even in the 1980s the prices were obscene.
Fear convinced me that I had to move on without further education. The decision wasn’t hard because the fear already has me in its grip. I ended up in the Navy and made my way through several career bounces since before settling on the job I have had for the last fifteen years.
For the last fifteen years, I’ve worked as an SME (Subject Matter Expert) for a software company with a major government client. I utilize my education and my background experience to demonstrate to the client how our products can improve their own data management processes, written procedures, and their overall data quality.
The job sounds both exciting and boring, and yes, there seems to be equal measures of both most of the time. I am constantly learning new systems and how we can integrate them into the infrastructure we have already constructed. This proves challenging because I can’t control how any external system creates and maintains its own data. The external company is solely responsible for those processes unless we can negotiate a written agreement on how to share data in formats which each separate system can process correctly.
There are times when I wish that I could try to market our products to other data producers, but that job is not in my career path. I exist in that nebulous world between client and software developers. I normally receive high praise from the client who sees what I can show with their data, while at the same time, the software developers in the same company i work for seem to view my inputs less favorably. I attribute this to the software developers mindset that they think they know best what everyone wants. They also seem to have forgotten to approach any data management system from a client point of view.
So, my job is interesting and often full of surprises. I wouldn’t still be doing it after fifteen years if I hated it, but there are some days that are worse than others, as with any job.
As I prepare to start Tuesday here at home, there are several things that I want to take care of. First of all, I want to walk this morning for exercise. I’m going to try and get back into shape as safely as possible. I’m going to browse for some new comfortable walking shoes later today. I don’t have a lot to spend, but I do want to take care of my feet.
I am not working today because I’m fighting the system to get approval for short-term disability. If I go back to work now, I’ll look be surrendering my chances to qualify for short-term disability unless I am hospitalized again. I definitely don’t want that. Therefore, I’m not returning to work this week as I go through o all of my follow-up medical appointments. I’ll submit all the paperwork after those visits and hope for the best.
I don’t miss work yet. I’m not sure when I will, honestly. I just know that I do need time to recover from all that I’ve gone through recently. I also know that work stress doesn’t help at all.
I decided against shopping for shoes today because that would violate my deliberate plan to avoid crowds of people. I can always order some shoes online and return them if they don’t work out for me. I just want some comfortable hiking shoes so I can start exercising again.
One last thing that is sort of related involves our new method for getting groceries. Placing an order and then picking things up curbside at the store is working out better than planned because it makes us plan more deliberately for what we need rather than just run into the store without a clue. Definitely a win for us.
Yesterday I experienced a new phenomenon that is a direct result of social distancing. The company I work for decided to hold a Virtual Happy Hour at the end of the workweek. At first I wasn’t sure how this was going to turn out, but everyone actually had a very good time.
The rules were very simple. All the participants had to show what we were drinking, and either describe it or show the bottle. At first we proposed a series of toasts to set the mood and get everyone relaxed,and within a few minutes it was almost like we were out at a neighborhood pub together.
The software we used was MS Teams, because of the recent issues with Zoom, our company is moving away from Zoom rather quickly. The experience was interesting and different, but apparently this is the new “normal” that we will be dealing with for a long time to come.
Why do I write? This is a question I have asked myself for years. I have always felt a need to write ever since I was a child. Like everyone, this need has gone unfulfilled for long periods of time, and this ends up causing anguish.
When I was a child, I would go through notebooks with no problem. I could quickly fill one in less than a month. I took a journal with me whenever I could. I wasn’t always writing about things that I saw or experienced, most of the time I was writing about how I felt and how I saw the world. My parents thought this was a wonderful gift. They encouraged me to write as much as I wanted to, and they never complained when I would grab a notebook or two at the store.
As I grew older, I stopped writing as often as I had in the past.The desire was pushed under the surface as I made my way through the world, but it never left me. It would return from time to time. When I was in the Navy, I would write letters to friends and family that often ran for 5-6 pages. The postal clerk on the ship joked that I should have to pay extra postage because the envelopes were stuffed full. I knew that writing took my mind away from the isolation and drudgery of Navy life at sea.
I always knew I was different. No one else wrote as I did. I took pride in my own handwriting. I wanted people to be able to read what I wrote instead of a scribble that no one could understand. I didn’t consider myself to be better than anyone else, but I knew that I didn’t fit nicely into their view of the world either. When I left the Navy, I tried to get back to writing on a regular basis, but there were too many distractions in my way. I was trying to erase my loneliness with a flurry of activity, but all that accomplished was to take me away from my love of writing. Perhaps, inwardly, I was afraid of what I would write, what my feelings would look like pouring out onto the printed page. That fear led me down some dark paths. Luckily, I found Hal and my life began to turn around.
I am 54 years old now. It is hard to believe that I have been with Hal for approximatelyone-thirdof my life. Obviously, I am happy with how my life has turned out. That happiness eventually led to me writing once again, and now I feel so free. My concern now is to write on a regular basis. Most of the time, what I write goes into this blog, but there are occasions when I find that I have written something so intensely personal that I cannot send it out to the world. I consider this a fair trade in exchange for my sanity.
Since everything is calming down here after the initial adjustment from the move, it is time to think about getting into the kitchen and preparing dinner for Hal and myself. I have 4 pork chops that have thawed out,andI will marinate them this evening. I will cook them tomorrow,andthat will provide us with meals for a few days since these are large and thick pork chops.
Afterwork,I made sure that I had the ingredients for the marinade I prefer to use, as well as the necessary spices.Also, I made sure that we have the side items for the meals. This will be the first real cooking adventure in the new apartment. I have used the Instant Pot a few times, but not the oven in the kitchen. There are always a few quirks that have to be accounted for, but I am confident that things will turn out delicious after I finish cooking the pork chops tomorrow evening.
I am tempted to get some applesauce from the grocery store, as well as some fresh asparagus. I don’t want to go overboard, but I also want this meal to be special for Hal and myself. We already have potatoes,andgreen beansandbaked beans. I know that I will have to get an onion or two tospicethings up.
I will be glad to cook in the new kitchen at last. As great as the Instant Pot is, it cannot replace something that is prepared theold fashionedway in the oven.
After a short time away from the computer, I realized that tomorrow is the night that we are going to see the new Avengers movie. This shouldn’t affect the overall plan to cook, it will just push things a bit later in the evening. We are going to the early eveningsessionso we won’t be out late. I expect we will be home by 2030 tomorrow evening. Probably too late to eat after cooking, so it will be a decision at that time whether or not to put things off until Thursday.
Since I have written so much about the move to the new apartment, and how much we all love it, I decided that I would go ahead and make another change. I decided that I would update the appearance of my blog.
I made the decision rather quickly, but I wasn’t rushing things. I chose a light color since the new apartment is full of light and I wanted something more cheerful to match my mood most of the time. Although I can be reflective at times, generally I am always looking for ways to be more positive.
I checked in on Snoopy And The Gang today and I was greeted with the card that read “Happiness Is Writing Your Own Story Each Day.” What a wonderful message to begin my Friday! I have been re-evaluating my priorities this week and having something like this randomly appear makes me know that I am doing the right thing.
Because today is Friday, I am especially grateful for this encouraging sign and am really looking forward to the weekend.
This week has been a very busy one for me. Work was more hectic than usual, there was the self-assessment that had to be done in the close of the current reporting period, which is always fun. I also had to start thinking of new objectives for the next reporting period that starts soon. This was on top of the normal routine work and the crisis phone calls for help from people. To add to all of this, I suffered a major bout of insomnia on Tuesday night and called in sick on Wednesday as a result. I was extremely happy to be finished yesterday.
The upcoming move to the new apartment continues to hurtle towards us. It will soon be just 2 weeks before the move, this marks the point at which I begin to pack items away and prepare for the move. Hal has already been at it for 2 weeks. I need to conserve my energy for now.
Hal did get a new cell phone this week, a Samsung Galaxy S9+. While it is a great device, I just have never been a fan of Samsung products. They always make things too complicated for my taste. I prefer my Google Project Fi phone to anything else available right now. Hal is very pleased with his new phone, and I decided that I would upgrade something of my own.
I have an ancient Sony digital camera. It is at least 10 years old, and I no longer have the cable that connects it to a computer for downloading or to charge the internal battery. After some internet research proved that a replacement cable would be too expensive, I decided to get a new digital camera. I looked at Best Buy and saw a Nikon that I really liked. It does the 4K video in 1080p, and I thought that the price wasn’t too terrible. I didn’t buy the camera at the store. Instead, I came home and looked it up online to see the reviews. The reviews all stated that it was an excellent camera for the price. I then noticed that it was available via Amazon, and for $50 more I could also get a case, SD card, rechargeable batteries and other things that I would have had to purchase separately if I bought the camera through Best Buy. I placed the order thru Amazon and I am hoping that the package will arrive by Tuesday, which is the projected date.
I might use the new camera to start developing a vlog for myself. This is something I have thought about in the past, but I lacked the proper equipment for it. I am not making any guarantees, but it is a subject for me to ponder over in the coming weeks.