Remedial Life Lessons 101

Well, I learned a lot during my little break. First and foremost, I'm not a machine. Part of the reason that I took a break from blogging was to focus on other areas, mostly my church responsibilities. The first week was great, I think I had something going on every night of the week. But, as a bona fide human being, I failed miserably in the subsequent weeks - a classic case of burnout. The lesson I must learn (actually, this is one of those "relearn" situations where I've been through these exact experiences a hundred times but I think that this time it will somehow be different) is that I'm not a machine, I'm not made to do just one thing all the time, nor can I keep up the intense pace I like for the entire duration of a project or calling. I shouldn't run faster than I am able (Mosiah 4:27), because I just end up crumpled on the ground doing nothing, just lying there feeling guilty about what I should be doing. Back in the day when I was young I could stay up all night and come swooping to the rescue of any situation at the drop of a hat and keep the kitchen clean at the same time. But I'm an old man now, I'm married and old and way slower than I used to be. This transformation happened faster than I expected and I'm still adjusting, which is part of my problem. The other part of the problem is that I think I'm a superhero who assumes that he has to do everything himself or else it won't be done right. Dốt quá! So now I'm trying to take those high-school disillusions of invincibility that somehow survived four years of college and dissolve them out of my mind for good. Then maybe I might be able to do things right. Maybe.

Another lesson I learned in the past month is that I need a hobby to balance out my responsibilities as an old married man. The work I take part in everyday (work, church, community orgs) doesn't count as my hobby anymore - it needs to be something that relaxes my mind and gives me time to refocus on life. So when I "went off" blogging (my predominant hobby at the time) it was pretty hilarious how crazy I went. I fell into a hobby-finding craze and just recently recovered. Trying to convert my sun-drenched west porch into a pleasant garden experience has been an ongoing project since last year, and I've found great joy in expanding it slowly over the past few spring months. Now I have a small forest garden on the east porch, too, along with my herb garden and homemade (aka jimmy-rigged) Japanese arch. But having so much time at home because I was done blogging and too burnt out to visit more people from my church allowed me to concoct crazy plans for making an open terrarium with desert plants, which turned into tropical plants, which turned into half-desert half-tropical, which turned into a lizard and frog and snake cage, which promptly turned into nothing after considerable "counsel" from my wife. Next I had several web projects surface in my head, which I beat down quickly (blogging vs web design - big difference). I won't bore with all the potential hobbies I've entertained in the last 3 weeks, but I will say this: I'm not a machine, and I definitely need a hobby to provide balance in my life. I return to blogging under new guidelines, mainly to moderate how much time I spend on this thing. It should be more enjoyable that way anyway.

Probably the coolest thing I did while on break was go to the Huntington, which has a very cool Japanese garden portion. Here's some pics:


Also, I'm trying out remote blogging from an email account that allows me to send raw html emails. Unfortunately the email is tagged with an ad at the bottom, which I deleted here but I won't be deleting while in Vietnam.


Triet said...

You corporate sell out!! You lover of Big Pharma! "Trying out" a new blogging way with emails. Whatever--it's just an excuse to shove advertisements down our throats while you're living it up in Vietnam.

...Ok, just kidding. Yes, I'm still jealous you're going to VN and I'm not, but I'm glad to see you didn't give up blogging.

Oh, I've heard good things about certain silver threads peaking through a tapestry of war. Let's just say one was "bap-tizit" in Houston today, and HCMC has a new place to hang their tapestry.

I hope that peaks your interest. ;-)

xanghe said...

Ah, I'm being attacked! Well, at least I won't take your comment and dissect it start a worldwide debate based what you said. That would stink. Wait...
Yes, that is intriguing. I actually heard today from a friend that the thread has expanded north (he said 30 but I know he exaggerates so I'm thinking around 15, if any) and continues to grow where it first started. Unfortunately cutting down my itinerary placed me outside of hcmc at the beginning of every single week so I won't be joining them. Buồn quá chịu không nổi but that's how it has to be. I guess next time. Did you know Hai's down for the summer?

Jennie said...

I think you put too much on your shoulders. Of course, I'm speaking from a fellow blogger perspective. It seems that you have high expectations of yourself and take on too many responsibilties. I know it sounds bad, but maybe you should be less responsible and think of yourself for the meantime, until things settle =).

I know what you mean by going crazy with "hobby-finding." My friends always shake their heads at me and think it's ridiculous how many things I try to do at once. At the moment, it's blogging, photography (just got a Canon Digital Rebel =P), painting class, rock climbing, and jogging.

Like you said, you're not a machine, and after awhile, you drop a few things, and stick with the stuff you really enjoy. I'm sure you'll find a good balance.

I'm stil ljealous about the Viet Nam trip, but it seems like a well-deserved trip =).

travel log
  • 02.13.08 - to the temple with Luan and his mom, good to be back
  • 02.14.08 - Mẫu's alive! and staying for the weekend
  • 02.15.08 - floor hockey and Thái food makes for some strange dreams
  • 02.17.08 - frisbee and swamp monster at the park: fun but I'm pooped!
  • 02.19.08 - just read Triết's response to my last post - game on!
  • 02.20.08 - raining and expected to continue through Sunday - thank goodness!
  • 02.21.08 - 3-hour nap is a bad idea right before bed
  • 02.23.08 - to the beach to watch kites, a baptism @ 5pm, and homemade bulgogi - what a day!
  • 02.25.08 - just gave myself a haircut - woo, cold head!
  • 02.26.08 - 75° and spring cleaning - couldn't feel better
  • 02.27.08 - fed the elders bún đậu tonight - think it's their first time
  • 03.01.08 - working on new background...
  • 03.02.08 - finalized javascript to change background without muffing up my other scripts
  • 03.03.08 - fhe: "In his strength I can do all things" (Alma 26:12)
  • 03.07.08 - some decisions are harder than others, but some are downright excruciating
  • 03.08.08 - there is life after work... i almost forgot
  • 03.11.08 - the distance between good and bad is much shorter than between better and best
  • 03.12.08 - conversion is sometimes a gradual process, so much so that we don't even notice
  • 03.14.08 - for some reason everything was a little harder today, looking forward for bed!
  • 03.15.08 - last night after blog reading, I missed OnlyBlue, today I find she's back
  • 03.16.08 - best day of my life!
  • 03.19.08 - "Pray for the answer that they've been looking for"
release notes v1.0 - FINALLY DONE!
  • 12.07 - first thought of starting a new blog
  • 01.08 - busy with election stuff but blog design still on back burner
  • 01.13.08 - first idea to imitate jk rowling with the "desk" theme
  • 01.28.08 - start sketching current design, breaking down development into phases
  • 02.02.08 - election only days away but still drafting final plans
  • 02.04.08 - v0.6 LAUNCH
    • main components (blog body, sidebar, header, etc) designed and implemented
    • styling for font, links, drop caps, etc. finished
  • 02.07.08 - v0.8 LAUNCH
    • image style to imitate polariod
    • moveability - post-it notes and static clings can be repositioned by drag and drop
    • release notes styled and written
  • 02.16.08 - travel log (beta) added in hopes of catching the mundane
  • 02.22.08 - lightbox 2.03 reinstalled and working fine (hopefully - let me know otherwise)
  • 02.26.08 - v0.9 LAUNCH
    • travel log seems to be working, so I'll keep it
    • lightbox also seems to have passed the test, so it's a keeper
    • some credits/info added to bottom (will expand)
    • keeping old Viet terms in archive for future viewing
  • 03.18.08 - v1.0 LAUNCH
    • installation and testing of time-sensitive background completed (for now)