You know …. It is cold. That’s really all that I have to say about that.
Things I remember like shovelling snow, glare ice, your fingers freezing while the rest of you is warm, sand, salt, and wind.
Things I know like the back of my hand, like the house I grew up in where my parents still live, the Middlebury Co-op, and Route 7 between New Haven and Burlington.
Things that are different like the new dog that’s now part of the family (Moses), and having CrossFit now a part of my life.
One thing that surprised me a bit was the weather. After a hellish 4am arrival (the plane landed 3 hours late at 2:37am although thanks to a delayed trans-Atlantic flight if it hadn’t been delayed I would have missed it), I woke up the next day to sun and the aftermath of an ice storm. Everything from the grass to the trees was coated in ice. It was beautiful, although harsh and not great for the plants. A few days later it snowed, making everything postcard beautiful. A few days later it rained, turning everything grey and the packed snow into glare ice that dared you to step on it lest you fall down.
Amazing colours in the sky and the land. The mountains are sometimes blue, sometimes purple. The sky blue, pink, peach. Colours that the camera cannot capture adequately. As Mom was saying, the sky is beautiful but you can tell it’s a cold sky. I remember that cold sky.
On my way over I had a 7-hour layover in the UK; time that I plugged by having lunch with one guy in the industry whose take on matters is similar to mine. We exchanged a few ideas in addition to the whole ‘how on earth did a nice guy/girl like you wind up in a role like THIS?’ type conversation. Second date was drinks with another industry friend. Such different roles and it’s quite interesting to see how the both of them see the same industry and the challenges faced. There’s not much new under the sun, now is there? It’s encouraging to me, in a strange sort of way, to know that I’m in the same boat as, and in many ways in a better position than, a lot of my peers in other countries. Mark did essentially tell me once or twice to quit my whining. And he’s right. Life gives you lemons you can sit around and bitch or make lemonade. Or, both, because we’re human, right?
It is a strange feature of the modern world though that I can wake up in Cape Town, have a last day BY MYSELF which was very much needed, hop on a plane, wake up in London and have two great conversations without getting more than 5km from Heathrow airport, hop on another couple planes and wind up in Vermont. What a world! But what’s stranger, in a way, is just how nonplussed one can be about it.
The trip kind of had everything from a post-Christmas burpee workout timed by my brother to a visit with the boys J & Brian to some of the bastions of American shopping … like Costco & Lowes to a turkey dinner for Christmas (I was so excited!) to a dinner out with some friends and a pre-NYE sleepover at J’s (aka The Farmhouse), complete with a real life version of the Ruckus dog. I would so kidnap that dog if I could!! Or if my lifestyle allowed such a pet which it does not. Moving on…
I even got to spend some quality time at the local CrossFit gym where I did everything from heavy squats to practicing my wall ball technique (of all things), to a metcon literally from hell. You try doing Fran (dumbbell version but same thing!!) followed by another workout that involves squats with only 1 minute rest in between. I was sore for two days.
Mostly, this was a time to rest and relax with my family; decompress and not think about work. Detox from coffee. You know. It’s been so long since I’ve actually been relaxed that I kind of forgot how it felt.
It was interesting to catch up with the boys though. J does consulting work and Brian is a software developer. They are both more mature than I am in at least one way, and that way is not letting a crazy workload get the better of them. Brian was saying at Cornell he quickly learned that he could never do all the work that was assigned, so it was more a matter of figuring out what could be done, setting expectations, and living within the realm of the possible.
Sounds good in theory. But their positions are very different to mine. It’s almost (haha!) like CrossFit where if you’re competing as an individual you can’t move onto the next exercise until you’re done with the previous one. So if you are critical path for five or six different areas of the business and still need to be manager for the other parts, the delays in response are sometimes not acceptable even with the hours I was working. And working smarter not harder is probably part of it but there’s only so many hours of focused attention you can give in a day. If you don’t take the email breaks and whatnot your brain does just get fried; and so there really is only so much productive work that can be done in a day.
I know what this means and I know how to fix it but I cannot right now. So, I live with it. I may not have realised I was going to be in for this, but I am, so as Hes says, you can either take it …. Or you can leave it. And most days, I’m not terribly inclined to leave it. There’s always the easy way out which is to set your sights lower and concede the big victories to your opponents. After all, most of the time David doesn’t beat Goliath. Not in the real world.
But this isn’t the real world. This is the Matrix. Makes sense when you think about it.
You know, this year will be an interesting one if my shoulders hold up. 2013 the calendar year was actually pretty disastrous for me as a competitive athlete. Prior to that I had always been clutch. But from that disastrous miscommunication with the judges at Fittest in Cape Town to food poisoning at Regionals to getting sent to the hospital at United We Stand, this wasn’t a good year.
Maybe my heart wasn’t in it. I don’t know.
My heart. It’s interesting to see where it goes, and where it doesn’t, when I’m resting my brain.
- “They don’t even see it.” – Graham
- “It will delay them by six months.” “At least.” “What better Christmas present for me?” – Ellie & Mark
- “When the quake comes there’s a big bodycount.” – Mark
- “I mean I’m hesitant to call anyone in this industry an idiot. But he’s kind of an idiot.” “Hahaha! Well, he’s trying to fool me. So he must be kind of an idiot.” – Mark & Ellie
- “Is it really going to change?” – Mark
- “You can punch quite far above your weight in this industry.” – Mark
- “It has three tongues-” “Do you have to tell me what I’m eating while I’m eating it?” – Dad & me
- “Do you understand now why I CrossFit?” “Actually, no.” “Exactly.” – me & my brother
- “It’s not about the situation. It’s about bitching about the situation.” – Ellie
- “Data is awesome.” – JJ
- “Do you understand now why I do this [CrossFit]?” “Actually; no.” “Exactly.” – me & my brother
- “Are you gonna have some [Dunkin Donuts coffee]?” “Oh. No. That’s a bad idea. I’d be up all night.” “That may happen anyway.” “True.” – Brian & Ellie
- “You missed my line. So I’ll say it again.” – Brian