Monday, November 24, 2008

What's your sign?

This was in the horoscopes for today (emphasis mine):

"The starry vault is delivering an encouraging message. The power of Uranus is reaching a crescendo. It suggests the chance to wipe the slate clean and start again in an area of life where lately things have become both too complicated and stale."


Sigh. I'm about 6 years old.


Thursday, November 06, 2008


I'm looking to expand my musical horizons. I consider many of the regular readers of this blog to have excellent taste in music, so I'd like to ask for suggestions. What new (or old) albums should I pick up?

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Half Way

It's been six months since I began my leave of absence from my previous job. Today, I'm taking stock of how close I am to reaching the goals that I set out for myself during this time off.

1.) Further develop my charitable project.

As expected, this is what's taken up most of my time and borne the most results. I'm very happy with where the project is at right now - we have a great group of volunteers, our funding situation has improved, and our local partner is helping more people than ever before. Even though this now my full-time gig, I still really enjoy the work I'm doing.

Verdict: Success.

2.) Become a published author.

This was perhaps not the most realistic of goals to try to accomplish in a year, particularly while going after #1 at the same time. I might as well have added: 2.) Become an international rock superstar or 2.) Learn how to turn lead into gold. That's not to say that I haven't spent more time writing - I've been taking more time to write in my journal and (intend to) spend more time blogging. But a full-length novel or work of non-fiction? Not this year.

Verdict: Deadline extended.

3.) Turn the charitable project into a paying job.

Once I gave up on the idea of becoming a published author by May 2009, I started to consider other ways in which I might pay the bills. Sure, there were plenty of options out there - I could join the circus or participate in medical testing, just for starters. However, I decided to take the lazy route and consider what would need to happen if I wanted to draw a salary from my current full-time engagement. And the verdict? HaAhhhHaHaHaaa! That's a good one.

Seriously, it could happen, but not the way things are set up right now. Regardless of whether I'm getting paid, this project needs to become self-sustaining at some point, and the same changes that would make this possible could also provide a salary. So, it's possible - just not by May 2009, that's all.

Verdict: Deadline also extended.

4.) Improve my work-life balance.

Back before I took the time off, I read a news story about a guy in Japan who actually worked himself to death (the Japanese even have a word for this: karoshi). The guy was working something like 90 to 100 hours a week. I remember thinking to myself, "Hmm... that's not that much time at work." I knew instantly that I needed to improve my work-life balance.

This was actually harder than I thought it would be. In my rush to prove to myself that everything was just fine and I could still earn a living while on my leave, I took on a whole whack of work with the Army. For a while, I was pretty much back where I started - except with less money. After a few weeks of this, I managed to convince myself that I could actually not earn a salary for a while, and that money could come out of bank accounts as well as go into them.

Since then, everything's been tickety-boo. I was the kind of guy who would renew his license plate three months too late. I would've been late for my own birthday, assuming that I'd actually remembered to write it on my To Do list. Even six months later, I'm still getting caught up. But at least the pile is shrinking instead of growing.

So, the work week's back around 40 to 50 hours per week, and I actually have time for fun again. Oh, and my health has improved to the point where I no longer consider aerosol cheese to be one of the five basic food groups.

Verdict: Success.

5.) Beat Fantasy General.

Not yet. Those damned Ogre Centaurs keep routing my Samurais, and I can never seem to bring up my siege engines in time. But I'll get it one day, I promise you that.

Verdict: To be continued...

I suppose it's time to deal with the obvious question: What will I do six months from now, when the leave of absence comes to an end? The answer is: I don't know. Or rather, I do know, but I don't know whether I'll make the same decision six months from now, when it's for real.

Although I quite enjoyed my previous job, I find that I like this one more when all things are considered. What's more, I haven't really taken the leap of faith yet. It's one thing to take a leave of absence, but it's quite another to quit your job in the pursuit of your dream.

Sometimes, the gods demand a sacrifice. I have a feeling that, before they'll let me have what I'm looking for, I'll need to haul my nice, fat, secure job onto the altar.

And you know what? I'm okay with that. I may not be able to spend money like I used to or be able to answer succinctly when asked, "What do you do?", but I don't care. Of all the stuff I could be doing, this is what I want to do the most.

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