June 26, 2011 by 8junebugs
I’m not going to lie — my current status quo is so not my regular status quo. I am (periodically) twitchy about how my new and changing “routine” is butting heads with Ye Olde New England Work Ethic…not because I’m not working, but because I’m working in a way that does not compute after the last 10 or 11 years of reporting to an office for eight hours plus lunch and, let’s face it, overtime.
This must be what summer vacation is like. I dimly remember summer vacation in high school, which was the last time I worked odd hours and had the flexibility to schedule them around my life. (Pro tip: Demonstrating Ye Olde New England Work Ethic often leads to more control over one’s schedule, even if one is pulling cones and bossing around the fry cook, as one does when one is under 20 and completely right about everything.)
I’ve been thinking about a post on how we’re doing this — how we moved to seven minutes away from San Francisco without either of us having a job here. I’m not sure about that yet. Ye Olde New England Financial Closed-Mouthedness is standing in the way. On the whole, though, I approve of talking openly about money, so…we’ll see.
But the truth is that this. feels. WEIRD.
Sometimes I work in the morning. Sometimes I work in the afternoon. Sometimes I work on Sunday because my current contract is with a company on Eastern time and I like to get their pieces in their inboxes for Monday morning. I work when there’s work to do. When there isn’t (and when I’m waiting on thesis feedback)…
We’re working on what kind of life we want to have, and having the flexibility to do that without pressure feels sort of unAmerican. We have a (sadly) unique chance to spend some time being intentional, so we’re doing that.
I’m working on the next big professional challenge, which looks an awful lot like some version of contracting. Last week, I finally finished all the paperwork and account setup for nextJen communications, officially moving it to Oakland and setting myself up for…well, for paying taxes, really. Which is fine — I lean Liberal, and we all know Liberals lurve taxes, amirite? 😉 There are some great opportunities on the horizon.
For less happy reasons, working more or less part-time at everything is a blessing in a way I didn’t foresee.
Nine or so years ago, my Bean’s* daddy was diagnosed with a very shifty cancer — it was myeloma and/or lymphoma, depending on the symptom, and it was bad. Bad enough that the doctors couldn’t even conceive of a nine-year prognosis. They underestimated her dad, who is one of the strongest men I have ever known and has beaten this cancer back time and again.
In those years, he’s walked his baby girl down the aisle, gaining a son-in-law and a smart young grandson. Last year, he met her first-born, Jack, who has his grandfather’s smile. There have been trips to Disneyland and family holidays that those doctors didn’t see coming. There were hard times — cancer is a vindictive disease — but there were good times. I think one of the last times I saw him in person, other than her wedding, was at a pool party at his middle daughter’s house.
(Take that, cancer! POOL PARTY.)
For all these years, I’ve said, “Whenever you need me, whatever you need, I’ll get on a plane.” As you do. Part of that is being there for a friend, and part of that comes from memories of pretty much living at their house in my (our) early college years…from remembering that he had a nickname for me, and that he helped me move (my own dad never has).
This week, her dad returned home from his last clinical trial and is facing his final days with his family. It’s a gift to be able to talk to her whenever she needs to talk, to be able to rearrange a day and drive just half an hour to help out, rather than fly six hours and arrive too late. Because I’ve been there, and because, when I was, I had the unfailing support of nearby friends who act like family, it means everything to me that I can just be there when she needs me and go home (and not to her guest room) when she doesn’t.
In this time between what was and what will be, I am grateful for the opportunity to be present.
* Bean: 1. Very dear, sister-like friend of 17ish years. 2. Keeper of all Dumb Year secrets. 3. Vanilla ____ — the name of the perfume that earned her this nickname in high school. 4. Foundation of ancillary nickname “Beanie Weanie,” which I urge you never to call her.