I finished reading Moby’s book a few days ago and am now a bit re-obsessed with the guy. There are some pretty good 300+ song playlists on youtube to put on in the background of my work day. I approve.
I do a lot – sometimes a LOT-lot – of speaking as part of my job. I do workshops and big presentations and I talk to the media and I talk to clients and I talk on committees. In general, I enjoy all of it (in varying degrees) and it’s rare for me to feel outside of my comfort zone. The media is really the only spot where I still hesitate – not always knowing what angle the reporter will work, how my words will be used (in print), and feeling self-conscious if there’s a camera involved- but more often than not I’ll go for it anyway.
Last night I did a talk as part of a panel – and it didn’t quite sit well with me. This morning I spent some time dissecting that, trying to figure out why. Nothing was dramatically awful (I didn’t say anything offensive or fall off of the little stage) but it felt ‘off’.
I think I narrowed it down to a few things.
I don’t like talking about my job in a really superficial way – and this panel was meant to be a very brief and light discussion on a big, often heavy, topic. 6 speakers, 45 minutes (which had to include the moderator talking, the audience questions, etc.) We were all told ahead of time to keep our answers short (ha) and to make sure we gave a lot of space for the audience to ask questions. I struggled with that. Right now there are some huge issues related to the work that I do, and people are literally dying, and I can’t quite figure out how to articulate those issues in one or two brief sentences.
The audience was a mix of people from a variety of backgrounds – which is something I find challenging – and we weren’t given any info about that ahead of time. When I talk, I like to try to understand what the concerns/perspectives of the people are so I can address them a bit. I felt myself biting my tongue a lot and stifling some of the things I wanted to say – again, BIG topic, short time to address it.
I was asked to submit questions ahead of time that I wanted to be asked – none of them were used (which is okay) – and I also wasn’t given any idea as to what other questions the moderator would ask. There are so many facets to my job, and the work I do, and the team I’m part of, and the work that we do together.. I could (and have) literally talked for HOURS about just a tiny bit of that. So, I felt unprepared to provide brief answers without knowing what the context would be.
And I was tired. After a few days at a conference out of town, not sleeping well, I wasn’t fully on my game for this event. I’m not going to say that I shouldn’t have agreed to do the talk right after that, but I’m also not going to say that it was my best idea. I don’t know what the answer is to that, actually. (Probably more caffeine.)
I’m not upset about the event – just disappointed about how it went (for me). I’m also grateful that some of the other speakers had some good insight and good comments. You win some, you lose some.
The middle kid turned 18 a few days ago and that’s a whole interesting thing. My friend Lena refers to her role in her adult children’s lives as being “a consultant” and I have been slowly shifting myself into that role over the past while.
He still lives at home, is still in school, has (maybe) a part time job to pay his bills, drives his own vehicle. He now has the (legal) ability to contact his biological mom. He has an extended curfew on weekends.
I moved out of my parents’ home around the same age and I have been wracking my brain trying to remember that whole time period. It was only a few months later that my mom died and I was depressed – so some of the details are blurry and distorted. I remember a terrifying and delightful sense of freedom.
I moved into residence (paid for by my parents) I was still learning how to budget and grocery shop and cook – combined with a lack of interest in doing any of those things and a new freedom to subsist off of junk food. I got pretty good at doing laundry. I made new friends who were quite different from my old friends, in various ways, and my world in general expanded significantly.
This kid’s experience won’t be like mine – but the offloading of responsibility (from parents to him) is slowly happening. I am working really hard not to tell him anything he doesn’t ask about – which requires me to keep my mouth shut more than I’d like.
Assuming he graduates from school on the expected timeline, it is quite possible that a little over a year from now he’ll be living somewhere other than in this house – maybe on his own, or with friends, or maybe he’ll move to another province where his biological mom lives. It’s also possible he’ll decide to do that sooner if he can financially swing it. The rules at home aren’t remotely intense but, like all fledgling adults, he bristles against them anyway.
I try to consider whether I’ve imparted all of the knowledge he’ll need in life – I know that I haven’t. But that’s part of life. He’ll figure out what he needs to know as it becomes relevant. He may ask for this consultant’s assistance (or not) in the process.
I would like to follow him around and lecture him about bill paying and budgeting and how to sort laundry and how not to get scammed by credit cards and.. nope. I’ve accepted that he’ll make mistakes the same way everyone else does/did.
Really, I am hoping that I have taught him to be compassionate to the world around him, and to be responsible, and to take care of the things that matter to him. So far, all indications are that I achieved that part.
This is my current favourite version of my favourite song. Far more upbeat than the original and yet somehow still bleak and lovely.
My beloved husband reminded me that it’s been 2 months since I last updated here – which I decided was, probably, a hint that I should write something. Unfortunately, he didn’t give me a topic to cover while he was nudging me to write. Thanks, man.
Nine Things I Just Cannot Handle
- People clipping their fingernails or toenails. The sound is awful. The random bits of nail flying around are awful. I don’t even clip my own nails – I file them with an emery board or use scissors (if they need to be cut a lot to match the nail next to them).
- Clutter, beyond a certain point. The breaking point at home is usually achieved by my husband who, from all indications, believes that everything should be stored, openly and visibly, in stacks. Inevitably, I will start scooping up all of the individual piles and dump them into one GIANT pile while shrieking.
- “Is diet Pepsi ok?” It’s going to HAVE TO BE since your restaurant doesn’t have what I actually want, but no, no, it’s not actually okay. Instead of asking whether it’s ‘okay’, you should just apologize for your sub-par beverage offerings.
- Not getting enough sleep. Few things kill my will to live faster than being over-tired. I lose all sense of perspective, all ability to control my emotions, all urge to do anything. I will attempt to sneak away to nap any chance I get and be overwhelmingly distraught if I can’t actually get away to do it. Sleep is more important to my functioning than anything else.
- Drama. To be clear, I abs-fucking-lutely love drama and I crave it and I get very ‘into’ it. Which is why I work hard to stay away from it. I try not to react much to it. I get caught up in it once in a while and have to do my best to extricate myself from the experience as quickly as possible. This has taken me years. My brain loves chaos and high-emotion situations – but they inevitably lead to more angst and turmoil than I want in my life. This doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear about things that are happening – it’s more that I need to be very careful in actively deciding what part I will play (if appropriate) and constantly moderate my urges to get waaaay into it.
- Travelling for work. First, I can’t sleep in hotels. (See #4.) Also, I really like being surrounded by my stuff and my people and my own life. I hate being forced to attend a meeting at 9 am. I hate standing in the line for the buffet breakfast/lunch and the fact that I have to eat on someone else’s timeline. I greatly enjoy travelling for non-work purposes and I am looking forward to future travels with my beloved husband. But honestly, when it comes to work, even heading out of town for a full-day, non-sleep-over meeting sucks. There are all sorts of factors that interfere with my ability to enjoy it – like travel time, parking/bus schedules, finding the place, etc.
- Non-ice water. Room temperature water is disturbing – it has a weird flavour. Hot water is not an option unless it is mixed with something like coffee or tea or hot chocolate. Even as my brain is freezing and my teeth are cracking, I’m happiest drinking ice water. The more ice, the better.
- Dry sandwiches. There are a lot of tasty breads, a lot of condiments, several optional vegetables, and a lot of things you can do to make a sandwich good. There’s just no excuse for a sandwich to be sad. I especially hate this when I’m forced to eat a sandwich at one of the aforementioned work buffet things. Goddammit.
- Vomit. If you barf, or if I hear it happening, I become incredibly queasy and need to get the hell out of dodge. I will start gagging pretty soon after that. I can barely hand seeing it on TV or in a movie. The worst was when The Beag would barf and then eat it, while territorially guarding it. WTF, dog, no one else wants it. Go ahead. I’ll leave the room while you eat it. We’ll both be happier. Oh god, I’m queasy just thinking about it. Jesus christ, wtf.