It’s a good thing I wasn’t born earlier in the Industrial Age. I might have ended up as a factory worker, and I’m not good at doing the same thing repeatedly. My tendency is to take on a challenge, master it as best I can (which may or may not be very well), then move on to something new. It’s that same aspect of personality that makes traveling and exploring new places a necessary part of my mental diet.
Occasionally this personality trait becomes a problem. Case in point: I have been producing Airstream Life magazine for nearly eight years. Prior to this, my longest employment at anything was about five years. I definitely have a sort of seven year itch that means it’s time to move on to new challenges. In the past year or so, the itch of self doubt has crept up my sleeve like a little spider, telling me that it is becoming time to find someone to take over as Editor.
I’ve mentioned this before, but the spider is reaching my neck and it is becoming less ignorable. Today I found myself wrestling to focus on the laptop yet again to finalize articles and make editorial decisions I should have made weeks ago. My email Inbox, normally kept lean as a result of compulsive housekeeping and fast response time, is filled with unevaluated writer queries and article drafts for future issues. For me, failing to deal with the routine tasks is a sign of burnout.
Well, there was no chance of finding someone to do my work today, so I put my head down and got serious about dealing with the unresolved questions and unedited articles for the Fall 2011 issue. Of course, there were no really insurmountable issues, just a series of tough decisions and thoughtful editing processes that had to be done, and once I got into it the work began to fly by as it always does when I’m in the groove. By 1 p.m., after about six hours of fairly intense work, the Inbox was halfway cleared out and I had three more articles uploaded to the FTP site and ready for layout. Suddenly things weren’t so bad, and I found myself thinking that I don’t really need an Editor — just a little less procrastination.
At that point I had to bail out of the office, because it was time to get into another long-dreaded task: the eye exam. I don’t normally mind eye exams, but this one was special because I knew I would be prescribed progressive lenses for the first time. I suppose I am lucky to have held out to my current age (my AARP card is only a couple of years away, despite the common misconception that I am much younger – it must be the juvenile behavior). But that doesn’t make it any easier to suffer the indignities of day-long dilated pupils, and having to learn how to compensate for lost peripheral vision by turning my head as if I am an owl. Now with the new lenses I can see the wrinkles on the backs of my hands, and I can’t see the cars in the sideview mirrors. Yes, now I can read the menu in a dim restaurant again, but somehow it doesn’t seem like a great leap forward.
In comments on my prior blog entry, I was asked why I’m not planning to tow the Caravel with the old Mercedes 300D. I suppose it is time to confess: I sold it. I know I said I would keep it “forever,” but then a guy from Connecticut showed up desperately seeking a rust-free 300D, and he made an offer I couldn’t refuse. The car and I didn’t have a pre-nup, and I had already stored it for the hot summer, so I took the cash on the rationalization that (a) I wouldn’t miss the car for several months; and (b) if I kept it much longer I’d probably dump another $2k into perfecting it. Selling it was a way to save me from myself.
But now of course, I’m wondering if that was the brightest move, since I’m here in Arizona, the Caravel is in Texas, and I have no way to get it back. So I’m on the hunt for a new part-time tow vehicle. I want something fun to drive, since the vast majority of the time the car will be unhitched. (Please don’t suggest any form of truck, SUV, or full-size car — I don’t regard those as “fun to drive.) The final choice will undoubtedly be something most people would never choose, require custom engineering, and be entirely safe for towing the Caravel despite appearances. It might be vintage or modern. It will likely be a convertible (but not the Miata) or two-door sports coupe. I’m having fun with it.
I thought I had no theme when I started writing tonight, but now I see I do. It’s all about change. Some of it is forced on me (eyeglasses) but most of it is my own doing. There are some core elements of life you never want to change because they are the basis for one’s security and self-confidence, but the rest is all small stuff. It’s just a car. It’s just a job. I don’t ever want the fear of change to be ruling factor in my life. You can’t avoid it anyway. I’ll take the good and the bad and trust that somehow it will all work out more to the good, in the end.