Waking into life

I just woke up from a 2-hour nap. (and my head sings silently to me, “A three-hour tour… A three-hour tour…”) I ​can’t even say, how good it feels to sleep. To rest. To give myself a chance to catch up with myself. Even just 2 hours… sheer bliss, at the end of a miserable week.

In a world that values Productivity(!) Efficiency(!) Competency(!) Expertise(!) and a whole lot of other qualities and activities that can be followed with an enthusiastic exclamation point (or two or three, maybe more), I find myself at total odds with it. And it’s good.

And there’s the thing, right? Knowing who I am, knowing how I am, not being moved by all the craziness and drama of the world around me, but setting my own path and charting my own course, according to the winds by which I choose to steer myself. That’s what I’m seeking, more than anything else, these days.

After about a month of intermittently putting out “feelers” for another work situation, I had a job interview, today. It was really more of a get-to-know-you meeting with a recruiting firm that places consultants and also finds “permanent” full-time jobs. I’ve been chafing at my current situation, wanting to move on, because the travel requirements are a little too much for me, and I don’t have a lot of confidence that it’s a world I want to continue in.

The interview went pretty well, overall. At least, I think so. I was pretty Aspie-fied at times — not making good eye contact, not having good pacing in the back-and-forth, as well as going into more detail about situations than was warranted. But I can’t worry about it. I can’t get myself all twisted up in what-ifs, since I never — truly — know what others think of me. Maybe they were put off, maybe they weren’t. I have no idea. I think it went well, and I represented myself as professionally as possible. I’ve got to just let it go and trust.

Meeting with the recruiter(s) today was interesting. I met with two young-ish guys who were all hyped up, pumped up and positively go-for-it. It was kind of amusing, actually. They were trying so, so hard. But they were very nice and it gave me a great view into the world they inhabit — and the world they want me to inhabit, along with them.

It’s a world of high performance, of top productivity, of efficiencies and synergies and leveraging, maximizing, etc. Making a great impression. Providing a valuable service. Doing the job, and doing it better than anyone else. Yeah, I can do that. I’ve done it for years. And I can continue to do it indefinitely. Perhaps.

My current job puts me in the midst of people who are waiting around. Waiting to be laid off. Waiting to retire. Waiting for their bonus, before the can jump ship and jet off to whatever’s next. Waiting for directions, waiting for a sign. Waiting. And for someone like me, that’s a real drain. ‘Cause I want to  be engaged in my work, I want to be involved with people who want to be there — wherever “there” happens to be.

So, this current job is a drain.

And yet, at the same time, it more than offsets the drain with something magical: flexibility in my hours. I can roll into the office pretty much whenever I like, and I can structure my day the way I want it to be structured. Arrive at 10, leave at 6. Eat lunch at my desk. I can also work from home whenever I like, pretty much. And that means I can have my naps. Friday afternoon. Even Wednesday afternoon, if I like. Anytime I want/need them, in fact. And that has a hugely positive effect on my life.

So, given that everything’s a trade-off, and given that it’s a steady gig (so far) where I know people, I’m connected, and nobody looks at me sideways for being a total Aspie… my current job is looking better than it was, just a day or two ago.

Of course, it’s pretty much of a roller coaster. How could it not be? Not knowing, from one day to the next, if I’ll have a job in the morning… not being sure if I even want a job in the morning… never being sure about who’s going to be there when I need them, or if my work is going to keep me engaged and interested… yeah, emotional roller coaster. Awkward. Draining.

I really need to do something about that. And I am — it’s called stoicism, and I’m reading up on it, writing about it, digging into that 2000-year-old philosophy that’s stood the test of time and is experiencing a resurgence (from what I can tell in a cursory exploration online). It’s become a bit trendy, in certain circles, I suppose. That turns me off a little bit. But I have to remember that also means there’s more awareness and more discussion of it, which means it’s easier for me to find (translations of) the original works I want to read.

Note to Self: Spend a little time this weekend finding stoic texts and collecting them in my “Studies” directory on my hard drive. I’ve got a whole lot of directories / folders that have bunches and bunches of downloads. Aspergers / Autism, neuropsychology, ancestry, high performance, Zen, Medieval studies, mysticism, finance, migraine, leadership, MRI, queer studies, the Polyvagal Theory, Dabrowski, coherence and breathing… it all reads like an a laundry list of what makes me “tick”, what lights me up with pleasure and joy… which in fact it is.

And I’m sure I’ll add to the collective batch, as time goes on.

It’s all good.

But where was I…? I’m still waking up. Literally and figuratively.

Ah, yes — the job search.

I’m being pretty laid-back about the whole process. I’m not in a position where I have to jump out of the sinking boat. There are leaks sprung in various places, and there are reports of Awful Things Happening. I have seem colleagues leave. Just this past week, another one took off of her own volition. And I’m sure there will be more to come. In fact, I’ve got a Team Meeting at work in another 10 days that may portend something significant. It’s just my immediate team, led by my boss. I’m not sure if H.R. is attending that one. I’ll need to check. My boss never calls team meetings unless there’s something brewing. So, that gives me a little less than two weeks to marinate in my conjecture, if I so choose.

Unless I choose not to. Unless I choose to do something entirely different with my time and energy.

Which I shall.

For me, these days, it’s really about handling myself well during April. Autism Awareness Month is never easy, and all the disinformation and fever-pitch outrage drama gets to be a little much. So, I have to take care of myself. Not get tweaked over it. Not let others drag me down. Use the opportunity to make the most of my experience, to refine myself, build my character. Literally. Not just as a figure of speech. Build my character in a very real sense. Because that’s what’s going to carry me through, no matter what. Everything else fades away, but my inner reserves are what keep me centered and moving through life in a happy, healthy, inquisitive manner.

That’s what matters to me now, after all the years of chasing after multiple and various “brass rings” — staying happy, healthy, inquisitive… always learning, always growing, always finding more about life to fascinate me and expand my understanding. That, to me, is the essence of success. And it’s something I have total control over — not that I’m a control freak. It’s the differentiation between the stuff I can’t control, and what I can, that means something to me.

I’ve spent an awful lot of time laboring under burdens I put on myself, because I lost track of the fact of what’s in my control, and what’s not.

And now I’m rambling. That I have control over, so I’ll stop. I’ve had a sip of coffee. I’m eating my bowl of (melting) frozen cherries. It’s nearly time for dinner. And life is good. It’s Friday night. Come what may, I’m in a very good space. On purpose.

And that’s about as much as I can ask for, in life. It’s about as much as I can do.

It’s plenty.



4 thoughts on “Waking into life

  1. Can I add to your Note to Self? I’d love to see a post on your Stoic blog with some of the resource you’ve found. 🙂 Also if there are particular translations that you feel are close to the original intent, I would love to know. I’m realizing that my Epictetus translation is probably fairly adulterated.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. VisualVox

      Please do. I’m not sure about translations, because I’m just now diving back into my Stoic studies, and I haven’t found all the different options. My approach is to research alternate translations of passages that seem tricky to me. I’m not good about singling out one translation over another — I’m very eclectic, as I think not every modern translator has a good handle on what was originally meant. Plus, I’m picky…

      Not sure that helps you much, but that’s my approach — be like water and follow the various streams that offer the least resistance to progress in understanding.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m planning to spend some time searching out translations, too, and see what people recommend as closest to the original. I’ve done that with other texts, like the Tao te Ching, because while I often like the flow of more “adapted” translations, I also want to know how the meaning might have varied.

        P.S. – Dabrowski rocks. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

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