It’s a day we all experience at some point in the winter season- some of us more than others. A thick layer of low clouds blanket the sky in a manner that states in no uncertain terms that you will not be experiencing a single ray of sunshine for the entire day. Temperatures hover somewhere in the 30s. There is a cold, damp feeling to everything that makes anyone outside feel as if some kind of very light precipitation is falling. But, nobody can really tell. In fact, not only are we unsure whether precipitation is actually falling, we are not even sure what type of precipitation (rain, snow, other) we believe might be falling. And, to be honest, it really doesn’t matter. Because, the mood is already set, and that is one of a persistent cold, damp, and raw. It is as if the world around you is telling you that you that today is going to be more subdued than most. That today will not be the day you go on some kind of life changing adventure, achieve something major, or even make significant progress towards something.
There is a half a century old folk song whose lyrics go something like “a time for war, a time for peace, a time to laugh, a time to cry”. I am not really 100% certain what they actually say in the song, but I know the entire song kind of discusses the cycles and sub-cycles of life in that sort of manner. And, it advocates the recognition that certain actions, activities, emotions, etc. have their time and place, regardless of which ones we prefer, which ones we enjoy, or which ones we feel are more beneficial.
I have always been one to periodically look for ways to get the maximum utility out of one of the most precious resources we all have- time. Implied in many initiatives we take to better our lives, including the goals I made for 2015 at the start of the month, is a better use of our time, commonly in the form of trying to select in favor of behaviors we consider a good use of our time and against behaviors that we consider a poor use of our time. However, one thing I often fail to consider is that not every minute of every day can be spent doing something that we feel is significant. Just as the cycles of life often take us to the next exciting adventures in our lives, the cycles of life will also tell us when it is time to slow down and recharge our batteries. And, although I consider myself to be in the top quartile for energy levels in my age group, even those of us with high energy levels can run into times when it is depleted. A time to rage, a time to mellow.
Sometimes it is hard for an energetic person to realize that the time to “mellow” has come. For energetic people, this portion of the cycle of life can be frustrating, and, during down-times, I often find myself restlessly looking at bike routes and new travel destinations to consider in the near future. However, this particular weekend, the time had come in no uncertain terms. And, the weather, so raw, cold, and lifeless, only reinforces this fact. It amplifies the mood.
Emotion and anxiety is a much more significant energy drain than many people realize. In fact, I have found that at times emotions and anxiety can drain energy far more efficiently than strenuous physical and/or mental work. There are plenty of times I remember bicycling 50+ miles, staying out partying well past midnight, or working hard to meet some kind of deadline, and still having an energy level the next day fairly close to normal. However, I do recall several recent scenarios where drama, uncertainty, or allowing that part of your brain that worries about all things that can go wrong to stress me out about something have made me quite sleepy.
Along with the dull weather pattern, multiple emotional events over the past few weeks contributed to my need to take a weekend to recharge. One of the hardest things to do is to say goodbye to a boss that you actually enjoy working for. Two weeks ago, I found out that my supervisor, the man who hired me, has believed in me every step of the way, and genuinely respects me and my ideas, is departing. This is hard to find in the workplace.
Work is not typically the most exciting thing people do in their lives. There is a reason that movies rarely show a person manipulating data in a spreadsheet. And, there is a reason I write a travel blog and not a work blog. I’ve even seen some people that achieve the dream job they had set out to do from a young age, and still get burned out on it. But, with good people around you and a good environment, the time that we spend at work can periodically be enjoyable and fulfilling, which is the most we can really ask for.
This weekend, I am not just anxious about the uncertainty that comes with any change, but I am genuinely sad to see the man go. And, while it is tough for an adventure-seeking extrovert like me to swallow a weekend of resting, and focusing on other areas of my life, there is a time for my focuses to remain within a 5 mile radius of home, and that time is now. I am certain that 2015 will produce some amazing adventures, some of which I already have planned and look forward to. But for now, all I can do is appreciate the opportunities I have received and do my best to make sure I continue advancing my career forwards without giving up on the most precious resource I have- who I am.