Happy Birthday to Me! 2017 Edition

Let’s cut straight to the chase: the earth revolved around the sun again, and I’m now another year older.  Woo.

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I don’t know how old I am.  I was born in 1985, so do the math if you really care.

I’ve got absolutely nothing planned, because it’s a Monday.  My sister told me she’d physically assault me if I don’t come over for dinner, so there might be a small celebration tonight.  More likely she’ll just tease me, because my family is awesome and that’s how we roll.  Anyway, another year down, another year stronger.  Good job me.

The real point of this post, beyond making passive-aggressive remarks about growing old, is to provide a personal update, something I haven’t done in six months.  That’s odd, considering this is my personal blog.  Back in September I stopped my daily updates, and in the New Year I‘ve rebranded into a chess blog primarily.

Today seems as good a day as any to outline my plan going forward.  Last year, I set some pretty ambitious New Year resolutions, and I used my birthday as a measuring stick for progress.  I can’t do that this year, because I did not set any resolutions.  It’s not because I didn’t want to.  Rather, my life was changing in a pretty big way, and making resolutions didn’t make any sense.

In short, I got a new job.  I am now a legal assistant training to be a legal clerk.  Yes, this is a pretty big change from being a martial arts instructor, though, for someone with a Master’s Degree in Philosophy, it’s nothing I can’t handle.  I lack experience, not ability.

If you’re wondering why, that’s an excellent question.  I wonder this myself, for it seems fate had a hand in this.  Many people from many walks of life do karate at our dojo, and one of them is a lawyer.  He and I always got along well.  He needed a new legal assistant, and when he discovered that I had a Master’s Degree, he basically started courting me.

“Don’t get me wrong,” he said, paraphrased, “you are a fantastic instructor.  People whisper, though, and I’m not the only one.  We wonder, ‘When is Smithy going to go out and reach his full potential?’  Are you content to teach an after-school program to five-year-olds for your entire life?”

The answer is no.  I love teaching, I really do, but the answer has always been no.  If you read through my past posts concerning teaching and the martial arts, you can see hints of my discontent.  Perhaps he saw this as well, saw it in my attitude or my face or my mannerisms, because he offered me a job, a job I have accepted.

I didn’t quit my old one, though … because I maybe an idiot.  Euphemistically, I’m loyal, I suppose.  I can’t just walk away from my students and my other instructors, leaving everyone down a full-time instructor.  I’ve arranged a compromise, where I work all day at one and most of the evening at the other.

Specifically, on my ‘easy days’ I work from 9am to 5pm at the law firm and then immediately head to the dojo and teach until 8pm.  On less easy days I start at 8am and go to 8pm.  Some days I start even earlier, and some days I need to stay until 9pm.  For those keeping track, that’s 11 or 12 hours a day.

That’s clearly not sustainable long-term, and I’m starting to feel it.  I come home, I eat something and then I fall asleep.  That’s about it.  Very hard to muster the energy to find extra energy.  All those game analyses I’ve done since the New Year?  Yeah, not easy, and if the quality is lower than usual you now know why.

Fortunately, I won’t be doing this forever.  I said I would help teach until the end of the school year, so June.  That’s when teaching slows down and new instructors will be fully trained, so I can safely walk away.  I mean, I’ll never fully walk away from the martial arts, but I won’t be working 60 hours a week, either.

This is why, then, I cannot promise any resolutions.  I barely have time to write blog posts for fun, let alone do serious personal development.  I’m also constantly learning on the job, and it’s not fair to my new employer if I spread myself too thin.  I’m arguably already doing that.  That’s why I can’t and won’t make any promises,

It’s also why I have to postpone my chess training plan.  I’ve tried to budget time, I’ve tried to make it work, but it’s just not feasible right now.  I’m going to ride out the next three months, doing what I can, and then I’ll be ready to kick it into high gear for the summer.  That seems like the most realistic plan.  If I accomplish anything more, that’s gravy.

Well, there you go.  That’s my yearly birthday update.  This one is unique, let me tell you that.  Now if you excuse me, I need to go work 12 hours and have a birthday dinner to celebrate afterwards.  I hope it’s lasagna.  I love lasagna, and my sister knows it.  Here’s hoping.

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