Saturday, March 26, 2022


Image by Jeon Sang-O from Pixabay

Spring is officially here! The vernal equinox was this past week and now we have more daylight than night. It is amazing how fast the days have become long, extending natural light well into the evening hours. One of my favorite things about Minnesota are the long summer evenings with light on the horizon until nearly 10 pm

Naturally, the season change, here in Minnesota, was greeted with sub-freezing temperatures. It is also quite blustery out with a stiff north wind with what is perhaps winter's last hurrah. However, it is more likely the penultimate or antepenultimate hurrah. Snow in May has happened in recent memory. 

With the weather fluctuating between nice and friggin' freezin' we dance between getting outdoors and hunkering down. The earlier week witnessed temperatures in the 60s F. Comfortable enough for a jog around my favorite little lake (sub-20 minutes for two miles!) in shorts and a light jacket. It was a little cooler a couple evenings ago so I got my steps in shorts, light jacket, hats and gloves; a sort of workout clothing mullet (please refrain from contemplating too much where the party is). Today, I'll likely be back to full gym. 

The bottom line is, things are going pretty well. In terms of weight loss, I'm still sitting on that darn plateau. Doing the basic things from Noom, maintaining has been pretty easy to achieve. My main challenges lately, aside from the weather, has been the cesspool of non-Covid viruses that are now getting caught up and back into our systems. One of these knocked me on my butt last weekend and the fatigue persisted well into the week. Ultimately, there's little to be done in these situations. It takes a little more willpower to stay on target, but sometimes you just need to rest.

There have been other stressors as well. March is a challenging month in a number of ways. Firstly, I usually have an "oh crap" moment where I stand to lose significant PTO from work at the end of the month. This is due to how PTO is distributed, i.e. on my March 2nd anniversary date as a full dump, and when the fiscal year rollover occurs, i.e. March 31 where I need to be under a certain number of hours. This gets compounded as I don't really use a whole lot of PTO in general, leading to some stress about taking PTO. Fortunately, I'm typically granted special dispensation, but would rather the problem just resolve itself once and for all. 

Secondly, there are a fair number of March-ish birthdays in my family, mine included (the 30th). Thus, there's a bit of scheduling that isn't typically there along with added calories from the celebrations. Still, I enjoy celebrating my favorite people and this becomes more of a mental exercise in "I am okay". Not every day can be for my creature of habit self, working late and putzing on projects, etc. 

Thirdly, is it just me or does it take longer than it used to for adjusting to daylight savings?  I'm one of those who is glad to be "locking the clock". Perhaps it's the correlation with being sick this time around, but I went from getting up early and being to work before required to now just feeling like a slacker and sleeping in. I'm sure my circadian rhythms will get back in phase with my normal/preferred schedule again, still it's tiring.

Lastly, with all that going on there is also a sense of change going on in the world. We're all following the Russian shit-show and hopefully it will end soon. There's also plenty going on locally and personally. Without saying too much, I'm being considered for a very promising opportunity. This flies in the face of my deciding to be centered and content a couple months ago, however, I did not pursue this opportunity. A colleague approached me directly and thought I would be a good fit. There's a lot of stress and uncertainty here. The opportunity would pull me away from my magnetic materials background, but would be a step in the direction of a leadership position. I would learn to work and develop some really cool new stuff in a larger organization. The opportunity to partake technically/scientifically would still be there, but would be in a much different context. It's both exciting and scary. 

I have been in my current position for 13 years and while I have a lot of ideas on "growing the business" the work environment makes that goal near impossible. Depending on what happens I'll elaborate more on this later. 

Ultimately, the most immediate challenge is to temper my wandering thoughts of "what if" and "what should I do" as well as my scheduling stress and my stress about being sick and taking PTO. In writing this sentence it's clicking that the scheduling, the anxiety of future events is really triggering for me. I go into the future anticipating conflict, conflict that really isn't there and doesn't (usually) materialize. This has me now wondering how can I better engage with the future and maintain a good, centered in the present, attitude (is attitude the right word for this?). 

It's hard to do right now. Really hard. My brain just doesn't seem to want to center at the moment. Perhaps that's okay and just being mindful of my state will be enough to reign me back in. Things are pretty good overall, I know this. It's probably just finding a couple of little things to work on (gratitude, breathing, etc.) and I'll snap back into place.

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