Still in the midst of my “Too much shit/not enough time” thing. I’m pretty sure I know a few people that are having similar problems, but whateve’s. I suppose that’s life. The thing is, I’ve actually found myself starting to feel something that I haven’t since I was in Iraq: true exhaustion.
Don’t worry or anything – I’m really not there yet. I’m just kind of starting to feel it. I should explain. Back in the day, I was in the US Air Force. The vast majority of my time in the military can be described as either positive or at least “okay” (in retrospect). However, there were quite a few long days. The days were long from day one, and I’ll bet that day ended before 9 PM. In garrison, long days were routine but manageable. I’d get up at the asscrack of dawn, meet up with the squad for some physical training, house a mountain of food that I used to call breakfast, shower, and get on with it. The day could be filled with anything from training and hard work to cleaning and paperwork. If it was a light work day, I’d usually be leaving work around 4:00 PM. The day would only become long if we decided to get a few drinks or get into some kind of trouble (which we always did). If the day was training it could go all night, and often would. But those days never felt long. At least, not until they were over. But you’d get home, sleep a little longer than usual, lounge a bit before the next time you need to show up at work, and everything was back to normal.
It’s not the same when you’re deployed. There is no real “down time”. You would have times that you might call “down time”, but they really weren’t. How much sleep can you really get with the constant threat of mortar attack? How well can you really rest when you’ve still got a rifle in your hands? If things are really hairy and it’s just you and a couple of other service members, that means sleeping in shifts. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never felt well rested and together after a few days filled with patrols and a loose smattering of two-hour-at-a-time naps. If you have to move, you move. You don’t go, “Yeah, but I can go to Target tomorrow”. You know it’s, “We gotta get to the target right now”.
It’s not like that now. Let’s not get crazy. The things that keep me busy at work and at home aren’t 24-hour, can’t stop, gotta make the deadline issues. They also don’t shoot back. This is not life and death. But this is exhausting. I get up pretty ass-early (though usually not as early as I once did). As an example, I’m writing this at 5:23 AM. I’ve been up since… I think around 4:30ish, but that was really just because I couldn’t sleep. As a rule, I’m up no later than 6 AM on weekdays, no later than 8 on weekends. I dick around the house for a while to wake my soon-to-be-middle-aged bones and work my way to some kind of clothing. Then it’s off to a little PT on my own. Nothing tough right now – just a little walk or jog around the neighborhood. I get back home and dick around a little more – mostly making breakfast (and lunch if I neglected it the night before), making sure I’ve got what I need for the day, polish the ol’ knob, shower, etc. I get to work around 8:30 AM. I used to be able to kind of dick around there for the first 15 – 30 minutes. Not so much these days. I start my day making sure that nothing from yesterday or for today has figured out how to slip through the cracks. Of course, something has… but it’s very rarely something that really matters. It’s usually some jackoff report that a manager or other department wants. I spend my workday trying my damnedest to balance the workload and make sure that the important things are covered and the unimportant things that keep me employed aren’t completely neglected. I’m supposed to be able to leave work around 5 PM, but usually I’ve been leaving around 6. I usually get home around 6:30 PM, 6:15 if I head straight home (ignoring times I hang out with friends, ’cause that really doesn’t count). I still have to eat dinner, and since I’m trying not to be a fat piece of shit, that almost always means preparing it myself. No more fast food or take out for this fatty. And I need to clean something or I’ll lose my ongoing battle of trying to keep my home from becoming a filthy rat’s nest (though, admittedly, this “spring cleaning” project isn’t making it easy). If I’m not already totally beat by then, I may try to get in a second round of PT – evenings I try to do weight training or… um… yoga. Sorry. By this time, it’s already 8:30, if not later. Then I try to write a little here, work on a thing there, etc. I always want to get to video games, and in the past always did. These days, I’m usually so exhausted by the time I turn on my XBox or computer, I just want to turn on some cartoons or some dumbass sci-fi thing and settle down. There used to be an expectation that I could pop onto a game after that, but not anymore. Frankly, I usually fall asleep half an hour into a show. Last night, I was out at 10:20. Actually… that’s probably the time that I should be getting to bed. I mean, considering that I’m planning to get up about eight hours later and do it all again.
Every minute that I have is kind of important. I’m not to fond of referring to it that way, yeah. And I’ve wasted quite a few minutes already. If I have 40 hours to complete a week’s worth of work, that should be plenty, right? But I don’t. I’m losing time on meetings, special projects, waiting on other people, doing work that probably shouldn’t be my responsibility, and so on. I’m sure that’s not unique. I’m also losing time on people. I don’t want to sound like I hate that aspect – it’s really great to get a break from what I’m doing. But it also really sucks to have a shitload of work to do and then lose an hour on listening to someone complain about how they also have a shitload to do and no time to do it. Really? You just took a fucking hour from me! AN HOUR!!! Do you know how much shit I could have had done in that hour? A fuckin’ lot!
I do it, too, by the way. So don’t think that I’m completely justified in being upset that people waste my time. I’ve inadvertently wasted other people’s time with special projects. I have started or continued a conversation that has gone on too long with someone that really doesn’t have the time. Stuff like that. But I’m drawing back on things like that. Some of the people I work with are friends outside of work. Some are just people that I like working with. Either way, I really hope I’m not giving the impression that I’m drawing back on the friendships. I just need to draw back on dicking around at work and wasting time at home. Dicking around with friends when it isn’t worktime – not a waste of time, and I’m finding it hard to find the time to… find… hang out with… start over.
It has become difficult for me to find time to hang out with friends, which really sucks. That must mean that something I’m doing between leaving work and going to bed is taking up more time than it needs to. I have to figure out what it is and fix it.
tl;dr – A lot of bitching about my time and then completely changing the direction of the meaning of this post, that’s how fucking tired I am.
Really, if I could just keep my mind on track, things would be a lot easier for me. Also – looks like I’ve run out of time for polishing. That’s a real bummer. Maybe if I’m real quick about it…