Archive for November, 2019|Monthly archive page

Busted…but Great

So I busted my posting streak. Unintentionally, but definitely busted. It’s been 2 weeks since my last post. Bummer.

But there are good reasons. Beyond just apathy or laziness.

First, I bought a house! So great and exciting. The house is beautiful, move-in ready, and a big upgrade from my current house. I got it at an amazing price and under great financing terms. That took a good bit of my time and energy, but it’s all very good.

Second, and closely related to the first, is that I bought new furniture and a custom closet system. Since I am not an avid shopper and not well practiced at it, those trips occupied more time and creativity than I expected. Surprisingly, however, I enjoyed the effort. I especially liked picking out the fixtures and options for my custom closet system. I’ve wanted to have a dressing room since I was a teenager. Now that I have the means and the space to do it, I’m indulging myself. I’m turning one bedroom into a full-room closet. So, so stoked about this! Not only will I have space for all my clothes, there’s dedicated storage for bow ties and boots!

Third, a new, substantive lawyering project at work has kept me engaged with my job. Having to use my brain for logic and persuasion and for puzzling out creative solutions to obstacles feels so good. But pouring that creativity into work seems to have curbed the urge to write here. Maybe. Or maybe it’s a bit of writers block. Or possibly just burn-out. In any event, I haven’t felt compelled as much to post anything deep and meaningful here. Still, it’s good to have more of a purpose at work again.

Finally, I have plans to go visit friends for a few days. Butch bro time mixed with a little nurturing and the promise of homemade mushroom soup…I’m really looking forward to the break. When I discussed my PTO request with my boss, he was so encouraging and said he was really glad I am taking some time just for me. That makes it easier to go without guilt.

So, lots of really good reasons why I didn’t post last week. And, strangely given how hard I’ve worked to keep it up, I am ok with the miss. Maybe I’ll reevaluate the purpose of this blog for next year. Maybe I’ve outgrown it. Or maybe I just need to be more calculating and deliberate about what I use it for. Or maybe nothing needs to change except my obsessive need to keep the streak. We’ll see. Until I make that decision I’m going to try to stay on a regular schedule, though.

However. I’m now looking at four days off of work and a new house to move to next month. So I’m gonna be a little busy with decluttering and packing and donating and what not. So I might see ya back here next week, or I might not. Either way, I hope y’all have a great holiday, if you’re observing, and a great rest of your week.

Random Thoughts

It’s been a while since my last post and I want to keep the streak going. Maybe only through the end of the year, but still going – that was my commitment at the first of the year. So here’s another list. This time it’s just some odd, unrelated observations that came to me randomly. Like shower thoughts, only without the falling water.

⁃ I think there’s something about this time of year, the ending of the calendar year and the changing of seasons, that makes me feel nearly everything more intensely than at any other time of year. Especially anything melancholy or morose. It makes me mindful and wary. I find myself curating my words, self-censoring much more actively. That’s good for not hurting people’s feelings, but not so great for clear, direct, transparent communication. I find that quandary a little frustrating.

⁃ Something I said to a friend just today: “This probably speaks too loudly of my insecurities, but I gotta say it feels really good when I’m working with more experienced outside counsel and they call out things I’ve contributed as either something they didn’t think of or as a better approach than they’d suggested. It’s just always been my experience and my fear that in-house counsel are frequently dismissed as not “real” attorneys and not nearly as skilled as real, outside counsel.” The validation of peers, especially of more experienced practitioners, is a huge motivator. But it’s also a little cringingly embarrassing to know that, even after 20+ years on the job, I still crave that validation.

⁃ I keep kicking around a topic, start drafting a post, even try talking about it in IRL conversations, but get stuck on finding the right words to articulate what I need to say. Without previewing what that topic is, my observation is just this, perhaps obvious, thought: conventional community wisdom, as expressed in pithy adages and online memes, is inherently incomplete, carefully arranged from a particular agenda, and nearly always over-simplified. So having a serious, detailed conversation (or blog post) is difficult and seems to come across as a petulant rant at an embarrassingly surface level. It frustrates me to be unable to communicate a concept free from an emotional tone overlaying my words that undermines the impact of my observations.

⁃ As my family and I prepare to move into the new house I’m buying, a lot of our effort and conversations are focusing on decluttering, so that the fresh start this home represents isn’t dimmed by a load of unneeded stuff. That’s a big ambition and I worry that we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves and that the joy of the new place will be overshadowed by this goal and our relative success or failure achieving it.

⁃ I’m both fascinated by and frustrated with the way municipal planning and execution plays out in my city. Specifically, I know there is a planning phase for development and maintenance construction in all parts of the city. But, experientially, it feels like any planning that happens gets jettisoned the moment the first shovelful of dirt gets turned over and the people living in this city are left to deal with the chaos. I’m so frustrated with the conflicting concurrent construction projects that have every major through-street and intersection in turmoil. Sometimes I wonder if the planners are a bunch of sadists who secretly thrill at the general populace having continual road rage.

More Great Than Awful

So much of life is a mixed bag of great and awful. If we’re lucky, they balance, break-even. If we’re really lucky, the great outweighs the awful, at least at a micro, day-to-day level. I am fortunate that there is a lot more great than awful in my life and the magnitude of awful has been fairly muted of late.

I try consciously to remind myself of that and to celebrate the great, however small they appear, so as to temper the impact of the awful. I’m not always successful. Sometimes the collective weight of the tiny awfuls adds up and weighs down my spirit. But counting the great, saying them out loud even, can sometimes lighten the load.

For instance, I’m suffering the first head cold of the season and had to stay home from the office yesterday because I was running a fever and didn’t want to spread anything to my coworkers. It’s a particularly inconvenient time for this awful, mucous-y disruption to my work flow. But there are some great things happening too.

  • I’m in the process of buying a new house. It’s a gorgeous, move in-ready upgrade to the house I’ve had for 16 years. I got a great deal – used my negotiating skills and have a great realtor. We’re in the last stages before closing and I’m really excited about the prospect of this new phase of life.
  • There’s a new project at work that has me feeling re-engaged and excited to use my lawyer muscles. Doing deeply substantive lawyering, rather than business management, makes me happy.
  • I’m enjoying the cooler fall weather and looking forward to the freeze that will relieve the burning and itching in my eyes.
  • My SIL brought me my favorite soup for dinner last night to make my cold feel better.
  • Soon the holiday movie season will start and there will be good things to watch again.

So, all in all, a fairly good tilt toward the great and away from the awful. For that I’m grateful.

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