I went back to work Monday, about two months and change after I found myself suddenly looking for a job. It was rough at times, awesome other times, and surprisingly not that restful for a period of non-employment. A lot happened though, and I did spend a lot of time in my head. Prior to this, I haven't really had the mental bandwidth to be reflective, but it was good.
First off, the achievements:
- I subscribed to MasterClass, and it's awesome. I finished the Aaron Sorkin class, and I'm about half way through the Ron Howard class. There are so many others I want to do, but it's hard because it's a serious commitment. There's a lot of content to watch in each one, and it's pretty great. I think $180 a year is a steal.
- I was able to spend 24 hours in Cleveland to open Steel Vengeance at Cedar Point. Yeah, it's probably the world's greatest roller coaster, but the greatest value was connecting with people I just don't get to see very often. Funny how that park continues to be the connective tissue of my wider universe.
- We cruised twice. The longer 5-night trip we've had planned for a long time, but the 3-night taken two weeks earlier was spontaneous and in response to the idea that I didn't know what my time off situation was going to look like. We had gone about eight months between cruises, which is a first in four years. The ports are familiar, as are the bartenders and menus, but it's still my happy place.
- The financial chaos around the house sale is almost done. I kind of unwisely set a lot of things into motion at once, all of which required that our previous house would sell. When it fell apart in January and delayed it all, this meant not being able to recast the new mortgage (by rolling proceeds into it to get into that 20%+ LTV ratio and make the PMI go away), not having the money for solar, and not having cash to clear the title on the Model S so we could sell it and buy a Model 3. It took six months longer than expected.
- After two years of waiting, we have an actual production Model 3, with a VIN just short of the 20000 range. It has exceeded my expectations, and it's great to see an American company building something so amazing. I like it better than the S, because it's smaller, and everything feels more refined (if not technically as "luxury" as what you'd find in the S).
- I installed kitchen cabinet hardware and a new faucet. Funny how this is something I did before we even moved into our last house, but it took me eight months to get it done this time. It suddenly feels like the kitchen is something complete, and better than it was, and for little more than $70 in hardware. It's the little things that make a house feel like a home.
- After three years, I finally ported POP Forums completely to .NET Core, which is now at v2.1, and CoasterBuzz with it. Most people won't appreciate why this is a big deal, and that's OK. I wrote elsewhere about it.
- I saw Bill Nye, and he called Neil deGrasse Tyson live on stage and blew everyone's mind.
- We finally used the neighborhood pool.
- The Lego Roller Coaster was released and I built it. Weird, I never did a write up on that set. I'll have to get back to that. What a great build.
- Obviously, I got another job, which is no small achievement.
- I read another third of Ron Chernow's Hamilton. Look, I love the musical, and it's great entertainment, but the book is a dense biography. In many ways, it's more of a history book than biography, because it just happened that Alexander Hamilton happened to be a part of virtually every important part of the founding of this country. Despite my love for history, it's hard to consider it pure pleasure reading. But I'm gonna get it done!
- I'm on track to nearly complete Lego Incredibles on Xbox. Like, 100% and all of the achievements.
Points of discomfort:
- Obviously looking for a job is mentally and emotionally taxing. I've generally been zen about work and how it fits into life for the last decade, but in the never ending desire to feel that life has meaning, I'm not sure it's possible to ever really distill it down to a simple business arrangement. It gets to be an emotional issue.
- We lost Gideon, one of our cats, to cancer. His last two months were comfortable, and we spoiled the shit out of him while we could. The pride is down to two.
- I had some real parenting lows, especially after school ended. ADHD and ASD together add a lot of complexity to parenting, and it's not always easy to remember how these conditions can affect the personality of your kid. My disappointment is mostly with how I've reacted more emotionally to situations than I should.
- I was really sick for 36 hours.
Realizations and other thoughts:
- This has been a difficult year so far, more in aggregate than any specific things. I say this not to seek a sympathetic audience, but more to remind myself that everyone has something, and it's important to remember that.
- Job hunting is not straight forward like it used to be, and it takes longer at this career stage. It's true that there's no shortage of jobs in software, but it's more complicated than that when you're in the leadership career band. It's mentally exhausting, especially if you're confident that you understand the path you want to follow and are willing to wait for "the right thing."
- I'm ready for challenging work, but very much would like the rest of life to be kind of boring for awhile.
I'm more than ready to get back to work. In fact, while long periods of leisure and exploration are soul enriching, I'm starting to wonder how people can be retired.