Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving . . .

It is Thanksgiving! I have many, many thoughts about Thanksgiving (that I will be sharing throughout the coming weeks as I clear out some draft posts and some emotional purging that has been going on in my head) but I wanted to share one very simple thing that I am thankful for ON Thanksgiving itself . . . that my priorities are finally focused on what truly matters - my family and myself.

Let me clarify. I used to be a workaholic. Would work and work and work and stress and stress and stress and would miss countless moments and opportunities to be with friends and family, to take better care of myself and my health and to just sort of enjoy life as it unfolded. I don't know why I was so obsessive about work but I would assume it was because I felt I had to work so much harder than other people to overcome the assumptions people made about me based on my size.

ANYWHO - shortly in to my life with Joy I realized I had a real problem and I tried to get a better balance between work and life. It was very, very hard the first few years (insert sheepish avoidance of eye-contact because I know this was my fault here). It wasn't until we moved to Connecticut and I knew I was going to be a father than anything really started to come of it and even during my time with IBM, I struggled to figure it out.

The move to Kansas was a clear change in my attitude though. Family first. It was clear and certain and deafening to those who, knowing my old persona and priorities, wondered how I could give up what I was losing for what I was gaining. I did it though and - a little over a year later - I'm walking the walk and I'm so proud of myself for that.

Case in point . . . I went to work at 5:00 AM yesterday. I was hoping to get some work done for The Arc and for my real job and I wanted to be home by noonish to extend my weekend with Joy and Ava. The day, instead, fell apart. I didn't get to The Arc until about 1:30 (was hoping to be there at 10:00) and I was there for about an hour. While I was there I had a co-worker - herself a pain in the butt workaholic who reminds me a LOT of myself when I was her age (and not in the most flattering of ways) called me and asked if I had a few minutes.

I told her the truth - that I was in the middle of something and would need to call her back. She, instead of respecting that, just proceeded to tell me what she needed and to imply that I needed to drop everything to handle the situation (a "hot ticket item" as she put it - whatever the heck that even means). I angrily hung up and went back to what I was doing.

Years ago I would have been too scared to leave work to do stuff for The Arc during the day much less to blow off a work "crisis" when one presented itself. Now I know that I work my hours and do great work and if I want to shift some time around - that is what I will do (within reason) and I don't need to feel like a slave to work.

I got back to the office about 25 mintues later. I called about the "hot ticket item" and, within five minutes, the "problem" was solved.

I was still angry with my co-worker but, instead of lashing out at her (as I once would have relished in doing) I just sent an e-mail that the problem was solved (I was a little passive agressive in mocking her in the note) and went back to the work that I left on my desk.

I was in at 5:00 yesterday morning and I was the last one out - at about 4:45. I didn't get to spend my extended Wednesday with Joy and Ava but I did get the reassurance that I was actually honoring my commitments when it really mattered.

I'm thankful for that!

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