Reentry Is Hard

This weekend was the first weekend in a while where I was actually able to relax.  To make it even better, it was a four day weekend. I didn’t do anything exciting. On my birthday leave day on Friday I went out and got some free food from Panera and Dickey’s and watched a movie on DVD. Saturday was so uneventful all I remember is that I took the dog for a walk and watched a basketball game. Sunday I went to church and out to eat with the family for a late birthday celebration. Yesterday I spent hour scanning pictures from 2001. Even so, the four days off makes it really hard to think about heading out in a few minutes to reenter the real world.

I don’t hate my job. I don’t hate working. I’ve just reached the point in my life when I am ready to move on from the career and to the retirement phase of life. I would even take the ability to work from home. Actually, I think I’ve always been at this point. I would have gladly been a stay at home dad if it had been feasible for our family. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve never been a career focused person. I do my job to the best of my ability and I do apply for new jobs/promotions when they come up, but I’ve always been someone who would quit to stay at home if given the opportunity. I think this got more pronounced toward the end of my time at the jail. Corrections has a 20 year retirement, so I spent the last few years of my time at the jail watching people I worked with retire knowing that I still had 10-15 years left. I’m closer now, but not close enough.

So, I head back to work today but I would much rather be one of the people who have the ability to spend their morning with friends at Panera instead of heading off to another day at the job. Reentry is hard.

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Happy Birthday to Me

As I started thinking about what to write in my very narcissistic post wishing myself a happy birthday some lyrics from a new Ryan Hamilton & the Traitors song popped in to my head: I’m still not clean, and I’m not sober, I’m just a little bit smarter and a whole lot older” While I am clean and I am sober(usually) I am pretty smart and I am a whole lot older. 

A lot has happened since my last birthday. I changed jobs, leaving the place I had worked for 15 years. I lost my mom. I went to California and went para sailing and lived to tell about it. The United States lost its mind and elected Donald Trump as president. Only two  of those things listed(I said a lot and listed a few. Maybe I’m not so smart) are a  positive and one of the positives(the new job) had some negatives(leaving friends). Hopefully, this upcoming year will be one where the positives outweigh the negatives.

It’s hard to believe that it’s now been 30 years since I turned 18. My 30 year high school reunion is this summer. How did that happen? I don’t feel like I could be 48. Sure, I’m tired more now. I go to bed earlier and wake up earlier. I spend a lot more time at home and hardly any time at all “out on the town.” But I don’t feel old. I just feel boring. Maybe in my case they are the same thing. Maybe I should work on that.

I am inching closer and closer to an empty nest, 50 years old and soon after, retirement. I hope I am inching closer and closer to being a 50 year old empty nester/retiree who spends his time doing fun, active things and not one that watches a lot of TV alone. So, my goal as a 48 year old is to be a 48 year old who does more fun things out of the house. My goal is to be a 48 year old who makes the effort to see his friends he left at his old branch so they remain his friends(if y’all are reading this let’s have coffee/drinks sometime). My goal is to be a 48 year old who is an inspiration and not a cautionary tale. But, my immediate goal for my 4 day weekend(thank you HCLS for birthday leave!) is to eat a lot of free food I got for signing up for restaurant email lists.

 

Writing the End of My Book

This past weekend I went to the ROCK Conference in Ocean City with the youth group from my church. One of the bands that played the conference was Sidewalk Prophets. One of their songs, Prodigal, had some lyrics that really struck me.

Wherever you are, whatever you did
It’s a page in your book, but it isn’t the end

I have always had a problem with dwelling on my past mistakes too much. Sometimes this can lead to a fear of moving forward because you are afraid of making the same mistake again. It can also lead to self esteem issues and a belief that you aren’t good enough because you have made mistakes in the past.  I’ve gotten better about this recently, but I still occasionally let past mistakes creep back into my mind. I joke a lot about how great I am, and sometimes I actually believe it, but deep down I’m always afraid I’m not quite good enough. I need to forget the old stuff and focus on making sure the end of my book(I hope there are many more pages) is a good one.

I’ve been thinking a lot already this year about living life with no regrets. ragrets

I think these lyrics fit right in with that philosophy. Where I am now does not have to be the end of my book. I need to keep myself open to new experiences and new opportunities. This might mean a change soon. It might mean a new direction when I retire(less than 9 years away). So, I’m going to keep writing my book hoping it will be a book that is an inspiration to others or, perhaps, a comedic cautionary tale.

Am I Getting Too Old For This?

I was thinking about my upcoming personal schedule and I’m tired just thinking about it. I work today 11-9, tomorrow 9-5, Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 1-5. Thursday night/Friday morning from midnight to 7am I will be at church acting as a monitor for the winter relief homeless shelter. I will come home, try to sleep while my family is home and then, Friday night, go to a friends house and probably stay out too late. I then work 7 days in a row Saturday to Friday, leave work at 3 on Friday to drive home, pick up my daughter and head to church to leave for a youth weekend retreat in Ocean City. We get back in time to stay up late again to watch the Super Bowl and then get up Monday morning to start the work thing all over again, including my speed friending event at my old branch that may or may not get any attendees. I guess maybe mid to late month I might get a chance to just relax. I think I’m getting too old for all of this. I should retire.

The upcoming youth group trip started me thinking about the difference between when I first started working with a youth group and now. My daughter doesn’t believe me when I say the kids in the youth group I worked with at our old church actually liked me. She’s just kidding, but there is a big difference in then and now. When I was first asked to help with the youth group at my old church I was a 26 year old with no kids of my own. I was closer in age to the teenagers than I was to their parents. I was willing to stay up all night at lock-ins, play football, capture the flag, etc. I’m still willing to do all of that. I’m just old, tired and fat now. I also spent more time with the kids back then. I wasn’t just occasionally going on a trip with them. I was teaching Wednesday night Bible study and/or middle school Sunday school, so I saw the kids on a regular basis. It also helped that I was not related to anyone on the group. The dynamic is different when you are a younger adult volunteering than when you are someone’s dad. I still have difficulty adjusting to this new reality of being a random chaperone and not something more.

So, the moral of this post is that I am old and tired and need to stop thinking so much.

A brief synopsis of my boring life

I am at work way early because I had to take my car in for repairs and took their shuttle to work. I gave myself plenty of extra time and ended up at work 30 minutes early. So, I decided since I never seem to have time to write, I should take this time to write. The problem is -do I have anything to write about?

2017 has been pretty uneventful for me, which is a good thing after what 2016 had for me. New Year’s Eve was at home watching the Mariah Carey disaster on New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. That pretty much set the pace for the year.  It has been a regular routine of work, home, church, TV, read, etc. The only aberration was today when my car had warning lights coming on and I just got the call that it is a minor fix. Sounds boring, but I will take boring right now.

I’m still reading the same book I started on January 1. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. I am about 800 pages in and have not been bored yet. Only 16o pages to go and I can start on my 2nd book of the year. We have been on a movie watching kick lately. I will list the movies we have watched below ranked from best to least favorite:

  1. Sully
  2. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
  3. Magnificent Seven
  4. Secret Life of Pets
  5. Pete’s Dragon

We also watched Blade Runner, but I had seen it before so I didn’t rank it. It was a lot slower pace than what people are used to these days. I will be interested to see how the new one compares.

Football season has ended for me. I will still watch the playoffs, but I have no rooting interest besides not wanting the Patriots or the Steelers to win the Super Bowl. I have moved on to college basketball where Kentucky always guarantees I will have a winning team to watch.

So, there you have it.  A brief synopsis of my boring life.

Tater’s Tuesday Musings

Today is another one of my hodge podge, list posts about various topics.

2017 – I don’t really make New Year’s Resolutions. If I had the ability to decide to work out more or lose weight just because I said so I wouldn’t still be fat. New Year’s Day is not a magic day that changes that. The closest I come to a resolution is my reading challenge on Goodreads where I say every year that I want to read 100 books. I did decide, though, that this year I will try living without regret. I’ve had way too many times in my life when I passed on an opportunity for various reasons leading to the “what if” scenarios in my head for years. If opportunity knocks I owe it to myself to open the door and listen. This also applies to spending time with family and friends. I don’t want to look back in 20 years and regret not finding the time to spend with people I love. This does sound like a resolution. Hmm

Your Job Has Ne Bearing on Your Speech – Meryl Streep has been in the news because of her speech at the Golden Globes. I have seen several articles with people saying actors should shut up about politics. I see the same in the sports world. Athletes speak out and people say “shut up and play.” Sports writers speak out about a non-sports topic and their Twitter mentions are full of “stick to sports” comments. I might not agree with what they say(or maybe I do) but that doesn’t mean they should stop talking. Their career has no bearing on their speech. Being famous does not mean you have to be quiet. I think it is the opposite. Being famous means you should speak out. I can write something here and a handful of people will see it. Actors, athletes, singers, etc. can reach millions.

Hate in School – Friday a racist petition was circulated at my daughter’s high school by a group calling themselves the “Kool Kids Klub.” Yesterday someone set up a Twitter account under the group name and posted that they would attack today. I have to assume if kids are spouting this hate they are probably hearing the hate at home. A lot of people jumped on the “freedom of speech” train when the petition was passed around. Now that they have moved on to direct threats I am curious how the same people will justify it. Interesting how easy it is for some to justify hate as long as it is not directed at people like them.

Winter – I can tell I’m old because, while I love a relaxing snow day, I would be perfectly happy to see no snow this year. All snow means for me now is shoveling snow not spending hours playing in the snow with the kids. It’s time for me to retire to the south.

Tater’s 2016 In Review

I don’t know anyone who thinks 2016 was a great year. Multiple popular celebrities have died. Half the country is angry and scared about an angry, giant cheeto running our country. The other half of the country is happy, but angry at people like me calling the president elect an angry, giant cheeto. The country seems even more divided than ever and it doesn’t seem like it will be better any time soon. But, this post is about none of this. This post is a self centered look at my personal 2016.

While considering this post I realized I don’t really remember much about the early part of 2016. This isn’t too surprising since I tend to hibernate as much as possible in the winter. I can remember two events from the winter. My son went skiing and fractured his shoulder, but didn’t realize it was that serious for a month and we had a storm that gave us over 30 inches of snow. I do enjoy the peaceful, snowed in days but I don’t know if I can deal with the shoveling or the walking around in snow drifts for clear vents again. I’m too old for that. I do enjoy being trapped at home. I’m still looking for that job that will allow me to never leave the house.snow

Spring was highlighted by my daughter turning 16. I’m not sure how I got old enough for my little girl to be 16 but here we are only a year and a half away from an empty nest. That is a little depressing.I think this is also around the time my son got his job doing animal classes for a non-profit, but I’m not really sure of the timing  At work I did my after hours recess event which was relatively successful and I hosted one of my favorite writers, Drew Magary. This also happened to be my 24th anniversary, but for some reason my wife didn’t want to come to the Drew event with me. How rude.

Summer started with my son turning 20. That seems even more unlikely than my daughter being 16. How is he not a teenager? Weird. We did our annual trip to Kentucky to visit family. It was a fun trip as always highlighted by fun with arrows.

The first picture is when an arrow was stuck in a tree and we were all looking up trying to find it Before we were done we had a football and a kickball stuck in the tree. The second picture is me doing the arrow thing the proper way. Our next family vacation was out west to California where we spent several days at Lake Tahoe, a day at Yosemite and a couple of days in San Francisco. The entire trip was great, but the highlight for me was going to Alcatrazalcatraz

I’m hoping we get one more vacation together as a family before we are faced with my son going off on his own adventures.

The summer ended on a somber note when I got the news that they were ending my mom’s cancer treatments and hospice was being called in.

My fall was in the shadow if this news. I went home a couple of times to visit. I face timed my kids from there so they could talk to her. The times I was not there I spent dreading the possibility of the phone call telling me she was gone. That call came early in the morning of October 16. It was time for another trip home to Kentucky, this time to say goodbye. The rest of my year has been done in a state of sadness and depression. It has been very difficult. To make the fall even more stressful, a little over a month after the funeral I accepted a new job within the library system. I left the branch where I had worked for 15 years to become the assistant manager of a different branch. I know in the long term this move was best for me, but the timing was very bad. A major life change after a devastating loss is not an optimal life choice. It has been a little stressful.

We ended the year with our annual trip home to spend Christmas with family. It was weird to be home and not get up every morning to drive to my mom’s house for the day. We filled the time doing fun stuff with my brother and hi family. 3D, blacklight mini golf, ice skating, Catchphrase, etc, but I would have gladly given up all of that to be sitting with my mom watching the Game Show Network.The actual end of the year was spent back home watching Mariah Carey’s disastrous performance on New Year’s Rockin Eve

Here’s hoping 2017 is filled with more fun and less sadness.