Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Pendulum swinging

Something I’ve noticed about people – myself included – is that when they change habits or beliefs, they tend to jump from one extreme to another. Hard drinkers become teetotalers, right wing ideologues become left wing extremists, etc. The amount of swing seems to be directly proportional to the extremity of their initial position. Here are a few recent examples from my life… I used to be pretty lethargic and eat unhealthy food. I wasn’t extremely out of shape, but enough to cause me some alarm. Now I’m jogging daily, lifting weights, and eating lots of vegetables. Nothing extreme, but certainly on the other side of the spectrum.

Over the course of the last decade I have probably spent a total of 2 or 3 hundred bucks on clothes and shoes. Over the past couple of months I’ve spent the same amount. (Don't worry, I'm done now!) Still, not huge levels on either end. I went from not caring about my appearance very much to caring about it a little bit. Now for the big swings… One good, one bad.

I went from almost complete apathy towards God to a passion that is transforming my life. I used to really be held back by negativity. My wife’s poor attitude really had a huge impact on me. I’m realizing this now because we have not lived together for a year now, and my outlook on life has improved dramatically. I’m meeting tons of people, making new friends, really involved in church, getting out and socializing, etc.

The bad one has to do with my job. I used to be insanely passionate about it. Now I just don’t care. Unfortunately, this apathy has manifested itself in a lazy attitude and actions at work. Since I have a very firm day schedule due to daycare and raising two boys, I don’t have many places to squeeze in exercise. I’ve been doing so around my lunch time. This uses the time I would normally use to eat, but I tend to spend a bit of time hanging out in the break room regardless. Then there are the appointments. The countless appointments. I have to take Justin to counseling every week, Dr. appointments for the boys and myself, chiropractor, teacher meetings, and a couple of gaps between school and when the nanny gets here. I look at my phone calendar and see an appointment on almost every day. It reminds me of how useful a wife would be. So when I add all that together with my workout regimen, I end up not getting a full days worth of work in most days. That’s bad. Very bad. This never would have happened a couple of years ago just because I loved my job so much. So I’m very ashamed when I realize the only thing keeping me a hard worker was my love for the job. Now that that is gone, I find there is no work ethic to supply back up power. What a horrible example of a Christian I’ve been setting. I am truly ashamed of myself. Well, I got an email from my supervisor on Friday. He said people have been talking about my absences during the day. He encouraged me to take work home with me on my laptop to make sure I’m staying on schedule. I’ve known this was inevitable, I just didn’t want to face it. Now I have to. And it’s embarrassing that it required motivation from outside of myself to do so. The first thing I’m doing is cutting back on stuff I have to do during work hours. Some of these are simple, like the massage my chiropractor prescribed. I can live without that. But most of them just can’t be avoided. I have to take the kids to the Dr., I have to go to school meetings. So I have to sacrifice the workout time on days where I have other appointments, which really, really sucks. That is one of those things in my life that I can look at and say I’m disciplined enough to do that at least. But I guess physical discipline is easier than mental discipline for me.

I’m glad my supervisor is a really nice guy, and he just gave me a little nudge rather than the harsh berating I deserved. My own guilt is enough to magnify his warning into the kick in the pants I need. Well, I hope I can keep my job.

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