Day 125: Deslumped!

Rally achieved!

It was a good day yesterday; not perfect foodwise, but it’s good to recover from a little slump and get right back on that horse.

Keeping my spirits up in a week of solid rain is a challenge. This is day… five, I think?… of bad weather, and we’ve gotten a month’s worth of rain in three days, or so the weatherpeople say. I keep checking the basement.

I’m leaving in a few minutes to do the radio show with my wife; as the station we volunteer for is a campus/community station, they’ve got a dire need for more programmers for the summer, when the students are gone.

So I’ve taken on a second show. And, as usual, made it more of a Thing than it needs to be. So I’m currently trying to plan for the show, but also de-escalate my Big Ideas down to something manageable so I don’t make myself, or my wife, crazy.

(It’s about soundtracks; specifically, video game soundtracks. I’m excited.)

Running downstairs to make breakfast in a few so we can get out the door for the show…

Day Eighty-Two: Ramping Up

I was at a point by the end of last fall where I was running multiple 10ks a week. Not 10k races, just 10k routes, usually twice a week, sometimes three. Now that the weather’s getting less stupid, I’m ramping up again.

Today was kind of an accidental 8k — it started as six, but the geography of my city is really weird. So I thought I’d turned down a street that ran parallel to another one, but they diverged considerably more than I thought. I wound up running in the wrong direction for seven or eight minutes.

It was good, though — I’d been doing sixes, and never really felt like eight when I set out in the morning. So being trapped in an eight this morning reminded me that eight isn’t much worse than six… and ten isn’t much worse than eight.

Ramping up without overdoing it

My big problem is I tend to get enthusiastic. Then I do too much. Then I hurt myself. I have to stop. I feel bad. And I wind up back where I started. And recovery takes longer now that I’m older.

So the constant mental battle in my head is “are you ramping up too fast? Are you overdoing it?” versus “are you using ‘don’t overdo it’ as an excuse to be lazy?”. This is the actual mental conversation I have pretty much daily.

I don’t know how to reconcile the two sides of that equation. Because sometimes, I’m pretty sure that I am being lazy. Other times, I definitely feel that I’ve strained it and I’m teetering on injury. But it’s super difficult in the moment to know which I’m doing.

One way out is to get a trainer, but that’s not financially in the cards right now. And the whole justification for the rower was it’s saving money over time on gym memberships and other fitness spending.

So it’s a tough one. Ramping up without overdoing. Not overdoing but not making excuses. The ouroboros of my fitness brain.

Day Sixty-Nine: Volunteerism

Coming up on the end of the overcommitment period; there’s some carry-over volunteerism. Maybe more coming if people take me up on the “write a song” offer for the radio station funding drive. It’s fun! But it’s still a commitment, and it’s still stuff.

Working with my wife, who is working at the station, on the funding drive has got me thinking. About volunteerism, and commitment, and work. I feel like I’m getting more done for the funding drive than some of the staff who are theoretically working on it. But I’m a volunteer — I can pick this stuff up and pick it down.

Back when I was running an all-volunteer radio station, I got a lot out of my volunteers. Incredible dedication. Tremendous energy. Great results.

And I wonder, sometimes, if paying people to do a fun job doesn’t make the job un-fun. And the people less effective.

Volunteerism is fun. Work isn’t. By definition.

Last summer, somebody asked me if I liked my job. I thought about it. My answer was, “when I’m not doing it.” It’s true! Whenever I sit back and think about what I do for a living, it’s great. It’s varied, fun, interesting, ever changing. But when I’m actually in the office, it’s hectic, pressuring and sometimes annoying.

I volunteer to do similar sorts of things as my work. That, I enjoy wholeheartedly. Partly because I don’t really answer to anyone, partly because my work is purely appreciated. Partly because I don’t need to do it. I can quit a volunteer gig.

I’m not sure where my head is at with this particular thing. This period of dramatically increased engagement has given me a much closer look at the organization. The staff seem stressed and overwhelmed, doing jobs that I’ve seen volunteers take on in other places with no pay. Sometimes I wonder if paying people for passion work is counter-productive. No conclusions, just woolgathering.




Day Fifty-Eight: Overloading

Okay, I know I’m overloading, taking on too much, right now. But I also know that I’m doing it within a limited window.

Here’s the thing — I think, and I know I’m abusing this term, but I think I’m a leeeetle bit manic-depressive. I definitely swing into cycles of high activity and productivity followed by lulls. The lulls usually accompanied by moroseness. So I’ve learned over decades to kind of manage this and not let the high phases write checks that my lull-phase ass can’t cash.

But I’m moving into a small window of time where a lot of my volunteer commitments are converging. And it’s in my nature to try to excel at certain things. Among other things, I’m going over the top for our upcoming radio station funding drive. I mean, check this out:

Fundraising Bonus Banner Overdrive

That’s pretty cool, yeah?

But among other things, I have to now print and frame photos of our cat, write some terrible songs, and down the line go to peoples’ homes and make waffles. I enjoy all of these things. But they’re commitments. I’m also helping set up and promote for some of the funding drive events. And manning the phones for a couple of shifts. And making breakfast for some volunteers one Saturday morning.

Overloading is no excuse

It’s going to be a lot… a fun lot, but still a lot. So I need to manage my time very carefully from now til the end of March. It’s important not to let this stuff excuse me from exercise, or to let myself stress-eat because I’ve gotten myself in an overloading pickle.

I’m also going to have to be firm on other commitments, including fun ones — saying no to things until I’m over this particular hump. I hate saying no! I’m very bad at it. Mind you, I’m also bad at saying yes to things too. I guess I’m just not very good at saying things.

At any rate, now’s the time to both buckle down and get self-aware about the consequences I’m lining up from overloading. I’m excited about these projects. I just need to be careful about managing them.