Posts Tagged ‘stress management’

Dragons AheadI used to love programming but it’s changed so much in the past 25 years, I can’t stand it anymore. When I only stay at a job for the salary and the time off, when I hate everything about what I do, when I wake up at 4AM with my heart pounding because my brain is preparing me for the day’s fight with a surge of adrenaline, it’s definitely time to go.

But, as I posed it in the previous post in this series, what career to I pick instead?


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Dragons AheadYour reactions to Part I landed in one of two camps: Most readers remembered fondly their own youthful creativity when funds were thin, while a few wondered why the hell I’d even contemplate this at all.

I enjoyed the anecdotes you shared, and it reinforced my belief that being short of cash when young is a good thing; it helps us appreciate things more and teaches us skills we need later. As for why I’m considering this at all, well, that’s the subject of this installment.

Why be poor, if I don’t have to?


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I rise early; dawn is just a hint behind the eastern hills. I slipper down to the kitchen for coffee, then, hot brew in hand, slipper back to the office. I snap on the worklamp, turn on the computer, then sit and sip while I wait for the heat to come up from the furnace,

Outside, dark grey clouds hang in an oyster blue sky. The rain has eased and all is quiet until, just there, from the south, down the street, I hear the call. It’s a faint “Honh!” Iike a French adolescent clearing his throat, first one, then another. I rise and step to the window. I pull aside the curtain and peer upward. “Honh, honh” gets closer, is repeated. Different voices echo the first, and craning my neck, I see them, a vee of dark wings just above the treetops. Black necks, white cheeks, beaks pointing north, they “honh” to one another. Passing instructions? Keeping tabs? Giving encouragement? They fly over my house, and I can see their fingertip feathers against the paling sky. Now past, continuing onward, their calls fade with distance as they travel, as they head north to their nesting grounds.

Every year, I hear them–south-bound in winter, north-bound in spring–and every time I smile. I live right along their route, right along the necklace of lakes and ponds that guide them: Green Lake, Bitter Lake, Twin Ponds, Ronald Bog, Echo Lake, and beyond.

They’re a bit early this year. A mild spring, then, and an early summer ahead.


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A brain at rest stays at rest.
A brain in motion stays in motion

unless acted upon by an outside force.

Obey the Kitty!I’ve had a lot on my mind, of late. Problems at work, serious illness in the family, seeking a new job, the question of a career change, the question of additional training in my current career, another (possible) illness in the family, plus the self-imposed pressures about writing and book releases. In all, it’s kept my brain in motion pretty much all the time.

Normally, a brain in motion is a good thing. A brain in motion is a thinking brain, a learning brain. When all is calm, a brain in motion sails happily along. It thinks during the day, it dreams at night. But when placed under stress, it loses equilibrium. Sleep is disturbed. Patterns are disrupted. It cannot focus. It cannot concentrate. (more…)

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Somewhere between the publication of FC:IV and the writing of FC:V, I got sidetracked. It was a lot of things, really, but one thing, primarily: I met my mortality.

When I was young, like many melodramatic youths, I expected to die young. At the age of 32, to be precise. Who knows why that age and not, say, 34, became locked in my mind like some sort of Logan’s Run sell-by date, but it did. When the age of 32 came and went without so much as a blip on the death-o-meter, it wasn’t a surprise; by that time, I’d realized how silly the conceit was.

Then Death came by for a little visit. (more…)

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Last week was trying. The day-job seriously got in the way of my life. A big project I have been building for six weeks went into production. I was up late, shepherding it through deployment, and then I was up early, converting six years of historical data. Pretty standard stuff, except that it all went in flawlessly, performed much better than expected, applied all the edits, and successfully moved everything to where it needed to be.

Then the users showed up and said, “Oh, that’s not what we wanted.” Typical example of a rookie mistake: I gave them what they asked for, not what they wanted.

So, today is a stress management day. It’s early, and the day has yet to grow warm. I’m out on the deck, sipping coffee, listening to the birds call through the trees. Moisture glistens on the leaves, and the slanting rays of morning sun give everything a pristine, contre-jour brilliance. The shadows are long, but welcoming, and even the street sounds are gentled, muffled, as if the modern world has yet to fully awaken.

Here, in my bower of leaves, I dream of distant days where this becomes my every-morning, where spiders spin their nighttime webs to catch the sunrise light, and flowers lift their sleepy, dew-spangled heads in preparation of the day.

In cool sunlight, I dream. And I am refreshed.


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