Tag Archives: Too Busy

Time to take a look back

Two years since I quit my job and a year of blogging — how time flies

zprogressionLife is fleeting. I guess we all know that and it isn’t such a profound thing to say. But there are times when weeks flash by in what feels like minutes. “Wow,” we sigh after an exhausting week, “That week sure flew by.” And so the minutes of our days turn into weeks, which somehow become months. Then, in a quiet moment, we realize decades have slipped away from us.

That’s how it’s been around here the last few months. I can barely remember what’s been happening as I lurch from thing I have to do to thing that has to be done next. So, dear readers, I apologize for disappearing on you for the past several weeks. I won’t promise that it won’t happen again.

What’s been going on? Really, just life. Pretired Baby is officially a toddler now and has me on the move. He also had a major sleep regression a little over a month ago. That joyful stage included screaming in the middle of the night, a sleep schedule thrown into disarray and fighting us at bedtime. On top of that he’s been ridiculously clingy — always with me. To the point where he throws a fit if I even leave the room. Exhausting!

Meanwhile we’ve also been making a big push on the basement remodel project. I’ll save some of the detail for a later post, but let’s just say it’s been a good reminder that you never know what you’re going to find when you take drywall off walls. Naturally right at the same time my consulting client needed a bunch of work all at once so that has kept me hopping.

That’s all just a long way of saying I’m sorry I’ve been too busy to write. We’re making a few schedule tweaks to the childcare coverage and Pretired Baby’s sleep schedule has been getting back to normal so hopefully we’ll be back to normal soon. Fortunately we have a much-needed vacation coming up that should allow us to take a breath at least.

But these crazy past few weeks aren’t the only reason I’m pausing to take a look back.

I’m just a few days away from marking two years since I quit my horrible job to get ready for the baby’s arrival. And I just passed one year of blogging — appropriately I was too busy to post something about it on my anniversary.

This is what I mean by time flying by. Two years since I left my job? Really?

I don’t remember a ton of detail about that last day of work. I had some lunch with some buddies. I deleted a lot of old email. I left kind of early. All I know for sure is that the most dangerous place in Seattle that day was between my car and the freeway. The strips of rubber I left on the road that day are probably still there, marking my trail with black hate.

I quit knowing it was an uncertain move. Sure, I had no short-term economic worries. I had no debt outside of my real estate, enough free cash to last quite a while and a wife who still worked (even though I was committed to paying my own expenses). I was already on my wife’s free healthcare because the plan at that job was terrible. Since I hadn’t yet sold my fourplex, I had some theoretical monthly income and equity I could tap if I ever got desperate. And I’ve always known I probably need 3-5 more years of income to totally ice my pretirement.

But to keep things interesting, we decided that would be the perfect time to gut the kitchen and do a complete remodel. We sent Pretired Mama away for awhile and I got out the sledgehammer and destroyed the place. I’m still amazed how quickly we pulled that one off. It was a little crazy to try to squeeze that in before the baby arrived, but we were smart to get it done before he got here, I think, especially knowing how things are now.

I wisely quit in the spring so I would be able to enjoy the summer at home. And it was a beautiful summer. Yeah, I was busy working on the house, but it felt great and having wide open days with no job or baby meant I could move fast. No desk sitting meant I felt better than I had in years. I’d step outside to cut some studs on the chop saw and the sun would feel magical on my skin. The neighborhood was quiet and empty. Bliss.

Then the baby happened.

I had a lot to learn. How to feed him. How to calm him. I’ve changed a shitload of diapers. I’ve done a ton of laundry. Fortunately my wife got a few months off from her job so we were both home full-time for about four months together. Then it was just me. Then I spun up my consulting business again, doing most of my work during naps. And then I started a major basement remodel. Oh yeah, and started a blog.

The blog has grown far beyond my wildest dreams. It started as a lark, almost more as a way to get some things off my chest more than anything else. But the response has been tremendous and surprising. Now that this site is becoming a “thing” I’m beginning to formulate some actual goals for the future. Goals? Wow, I hope this doesn’t start to feel like a job! Either way I’ll share some of those goals in the coming days. 

And, yes, I have more posts to come. I still have a lot to say. I just need to find the time! 

So here’s to many more years of blogging and hopefully many more years of not working! Thanks for joining me on my journey!

‘OMG, I’m SO BUSY’

Pretired Baby doing a little swinging before the Seahawks game.

Pretired Baby doing a little swinging before the Seahawks game.

Lately I’ve been feeling increasingly time-crunched. I often joke I may need to go find a job just so I can have some free time again! I’ve even screeched those most emasculating of words, “OMG, I’m SO BUSY!”

The house is a mess. No, really, it’s getting embarrassing. This blog has been getting crusty from neglect (although traffic keeps rising — thank you!). I haven’t found the time to figure out how I want to invest my $100,000. (Although I’m somewhat dragging my feet while I watch what goes down with the government shutdown.) I haven’t been able to read many of my favorite blogs. I’ve got a book that is due back to the library soon and there’s still quite a bit of it left.

Ack!

But am I really that busy? I remember this excuse being used so commonly when I was working that I banned it from my excuse book, replacing it with “Sorry, it’s still a few items down on the priority list.” It seemed more honest than “I haven’t had time yet.”

You haven’t had time? Gah, how I hate that excuse (even when I catch myself saying it)! Because, really, we all have the same amount of time each day.

One of my favorite sayings is “the only way to get more time in each day is to steal some from the night.” Because it’s really about how we choose to spend our time — there isn’t an unequal distribution of hours each day depending on how important we think we are.

When I was working, the people who were most likely to give me the “I’m too busy” excuse were inevitably the ones spending the most time screwing around. In fact, I believe that if you want someone to do something for you, look for the busiest person. No one goes to the people who aren’t busy because they can’t get anything done. Frustratingly, some of the “too busy” folks were buddies of mine so I could see what they were really doing on Facebook. Hmm, seems like you weren’t TOO BUSY to spend eight hours playing Call of Duty all weekend, were you? 

Pretired Baby has been waking up early lately and since he gets 90 percent of my attention when he’s awake, it cuts into my “me” time. My side consulting work has been very busy lately and I’m still picking away at the basement project during the handful of hours each week when the baby is awake and Pretired Mama can take care of him. We have breakfast, play for awhile and when he’s ready for his nap, I race to take a shower and begin my work for the day. When he wakes up, it’s lunch, maybe a trip to the park, more playing and then naptime again, when I race for the computer again for an hour or so. Then it’s time to make dinner, play, take a bath and finally bedtime for the baby. And then TV. Sweet, sweet TV. And Twitter. Sweet, sweet, Twitter.

After I’ve rested enough, I’ll stumble back to the computer for some blog writing or maintenance.

The days are flying by. Weeks are flying by. That voice in my head is sternly warning me that I “need to be getting something done.”

But am I really that busy? I still check Facebook umpteen times a day. I have time for TV most nights, where I glaze over and rest a bit. I still shower almost every day. Meals with my son are leisurely and usually hilarious. The kitchen is staying under control. Groceries are finding their way in the door and down my gullet. I even have time for drinks with a buddy once a week. I get close to eight hours of sleep every night. The schedule is firmly blocked out to ensure no Seahawks game is missed. (Go Hawks!)

So I’m not really busy at all. I’m filling my time with what is important to me, and mostly that’s Pretired Baby right now. Many of the other things impacting my time are self-inflicted as well, such as blogging or the basement project. And isn’t this what pretirement is supposed to be about? Doing what one WANTS to every day instead of schlepping to some job you hate?

I’m one of those people who when I’m not “too busy,” I’m bored. There is no in-between. And I always try to remember that we all get the same 24 hours. Using them as best I can should be the goal, not trying to squeeze more and more into those same hours.

The house can stay messy another week. The blog will be fine. The basement project will be done eventually. We’re going to the park. And we’re going to play on the swings. For as long as we want.

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