June 9th, 2004

grandma

No stamina

In times past, I used to be able to juggle the 12-hour days and my personal life, managing to maintain a full schedule of living history and still getting stuff done. I just took it out of my sleep time. While my friends still contend that just maintaining my normal schedule (with merely mortal work hours) would kill them, I am getting severely grinched at myself for not having the stamina I used to have. I'm not only feeling tired all the time, but I'm taking way too much headache medication, sometimes up to 4 pills a day. (Yes, I know the standard single dosage is 2, but I try to get by on as little as possible.) And I'm finding I'm doing things like sitting down at home and falling asleep for an hour. Which, when you get home after 9 pm, severely limits what you need to get done at home. I know it's not the hours, it's the stress. But I used to cope better. I'd just switch into "Death March Mode" and keep going. It's what kept me going at National Semi (12-14 hour days), Motorola (where I kept accomplishing the Labors of Hercules because I was determined I wasn't going to give my jerk-of-a-boss an excuse to fire me, which pissed him off seriously, since he thought I was "an uppity white bitch" and hated me entirely), and Tibco (where 70 hour weeks and working weekends and holidays was the norm).

At least this isn't any of those places. Not by a long shot. Not even close. It's just the times we live in. And the R&D and QA people are working just as long and hard as I am.

Maybe it's I'm getting older. I HATE getting older. I'm starting to realize that maybe tech is a young person's field. Except that not many younger folks are going into tech, nowadays. (Maybe the word is out...) It's never been an easy ride, but I've always contended that tech suits my personality, which "Needs a thousand stresses/The grinding of gears./Without them, I would rust" as I said in a poem, long ago.

What's keeping me going is the preapproved vacation. I'm like a prisoner scratching off days until parole. It was approved in January, and everything is booked and paid for. (Not like I haven't been planning this with my brother and sister-in-law for almost 3 years, either.) I am GONE as of Tuesday. People are already panicking. I think they'd try to cancel it if they could. (I know people have tried to talk me into shaving a few days off of it, and coming in for work.) But it's what's going to save my sanity. Who knows, I might even have some stamina and spare functioning brain cells, by the time I get back.

Though, because this is ME, my vacation is already showing signs of being overbooked, with not that much time for myself. I've already done some double-scheduling, trying to see people I've obligated myself to see, including 300-mile day-trips. Maybe next year, I'll go away and play hermit, and not overbook myself. I'm trying to remind myself that substituting one kind of stress for another is not what vacation is about.

Good thing I'm not "retired." I might drive myself straight into the looney bin, trying to do *everything* with all that "free time." (I know myself too well.)
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