"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Spring Awakening

Spring Awakening is a famous pre-expressionist German play by Frank Wedekind, revolving around the onset of puberty among some schoolchildren in a deeply repressed 19th Century community. It has a new life as a somewhat simplified or dumbed-down Broadway musical. Since I first read the text about a decade ago in College I've been borrowing the title, which has an appealing lyrical quality, as a shorthand for the semi-cyclical (re)emergence of my lust for life.

It is the vernal time again, and Humboldt County isn't disappointing. The sun is shining, and last night I went out to a kick-off party for our nascent roller-derby league. Our friend Hanna is participating (around her regular gig down in SF learning to tattoo; that's dedication) and there are a bunch of other good second-degree connections. The place was loud and full of ruckus, rock bands and dance-teams, a silent auction of art, desserts and donated items. With a minor amount of cronyism and a little but of quick bargaining, we managed to score a truly atrocious/awesome USA USA USA blanket: the flag, the eagle and a FDNY truck marked 911. Made in Korea. Amazing.

It was the first night of spring and also the full moon, the club chock full of attractive people with ambiguous sexual agendas. Mine was/is rather nonexistent. Much as I relish the return of the sun and the verdant fertility on display all around me, to-date I'm personally untouched. I'm sure that if I gave myself enough rope to get all boozed-up and wild like the old days there's an odds-on chance I could hang myself sufficiently well to at least make out with someone. It's an occasionally appealing thought, but it hasn't happened.

These days I'm traveling more regularly than ever. I'm trying to hire people. The muscles on top of my cheekbones involuntarily twitch from time to time, which I assume is stress-related. As is to be expected of such desperate declarations, my new-years resolution of "less work, more sex, flossing" is falling flat. Even the flossing has become spotty, though twice a week is much better than never.

The above reads like a complaint, and I suppose it is, but actually I'm feeling pretty upbeat lately. If I quit cudgeling myself for being such a workaholic for a second, the sweet kick of being busy and engaged lifts me up. I have a feeling something similar would happen in my pants if I quit preemptively busting myself down for being a Lothario. It's an occasionally appealing thought.

Work and Play: New Perspective on Relationships

On top of being conventionally successful, the process of starting a business with two other equal partners has been an incredible learning experience. It really is a relationship, and not always an easy one. We're friends, just like you'd want in most any relationship, but there's a whole lot more being piled on top of that friendship.

I realized the other day that this endeavor has gone on far longer than any sustained romantic relationship, and that I've been undeniably more generous with my time, energy and patience in building the business than I have heretofore with matters of the heart. Not that I see (or want to start seeing) Love as a business proposition, but it is a revealing contrast.

Another aspect of this is the how these various pursuits intersect with the inner drive of my ambition. The connection with work/career is fairly obvious, but it occurs to me that in my more romantically prolific days much of that action was aided and abetted by my desire for personal accomplishment. It's a crappy and egotistical thing to admit, but for a lot of my young adult life I wanted to prove myself a good lover. It was a brass ring to reach for, and that was part of what drove me.

Today I don't have that ambition, nothing to prove. Indeed, getting back to that preemptive bust-down I mentioned before, I'm more worried about just what might happen. While I have theoretical ambitions to be a family man, that's not the sort of thing that translates into day-to-day real world behavior. Indeed, to the extent that this ambition creeps onto the scene in influencing my actions, it's more of a buzzkiller than anything else.

To conclude, I really need to loosen up and have some fun. Probably that means setting some boundaries for myself, figuring out a more reasonable goal to reach for. Is there anything wrong with just having a good time? And isn't it through simple acts of openness and joy that greater truths and possibilities are uncovered? This is what my experience tells me, and what my written beliefs profess. My habits of action are currently misaligned; have been for some time.

The question is how to let go lightly, forget the cheek-twitching stressors and let myself be once again swept up in the truth and beauty all around. Good question.


Have you listened to the music for the Musical, it kinda rocks!

It's a pretty well-done score, though I wasn't quite sold on all the Billy Joe Armstrong-esque vocals. I saw the show the last time I was in NYC, and had sort of mixed feelings about it as a whole. There were some great performances for sure, but the transition from play to pop-punk musical sort of flattened out a lot of the dramatic texture.

I don't know if this is helpful for your situation or not, but I found life to go a lot smoother once I came to a place where I could accept things as they are, not as they should be.

I came to the realization not too terribly long ago that a large part of my troubles were the fact I was trying to superimpose the lifestyle lived by the average American 9 to 5 onto my personal situation. I live in New Hampshire and have a circadian rhythm that thinks it lives in Honolulu. I have a job that mostly allows for "Work whenever. Just as long as it gets done."

Yet, every morning when I woke up at 11 AM I was berating myself for not getting up at 8. I'd start working 1 or 2 in the afternoon. By 5 PM, I'd be berating myself for not having everything done. When my husband got home, I was resentful because he was done working for the day and I wasn't. I'd try to work while he watched TV and end up getting distracted and frustrated. Then I'd feel like I had to go to sleep at 10 with him, sometimes I'd try and toss and turn until I finally would give up and go back to work. Other times I'd just stay up and work and feel insanely guilty about the fact I wasn't ready to go to bed.

When I started ignoring what everyone else's life looked like and stopped fighting against what my body and mind were naturally inclined to do, things started going more smoothly for the most part.

Identifying if you're really being a workaholic helps with the perspective... It's been my observation that most of us web folk is that most got into this profession by being passionately addicted to online communication in the first place... That being the case, there's generally blogs to read, videos to be watched, and IM conversations to be had that are all on varying levels of not being particularly related to work but since you're at The Machine the entire time, you feel like you "worked" 15 hours because you spent that much time sitting at The Machine but you only really worked 8. Situations where you're strung out because something's due in two days aside, I'd be surprised if the majority of us were truly workaholics. It's probably more likely we have an Internet addiction and are afflicted by pingaholicism (guilty as charged... I made it a whole ten minutes this evening sitting in the other room before I couldn't stand not having my laptop with me because I couldn't see IRC).

More than anything, I think, it's a trial and error process of trying to figure out what works for you...

This is a pretty salient point to bring up. I consider myself a workaholic because work/project tend to occupy an excessive amount of my energy and attention, to the point of getting out of hand, and because I am self-aware of a tendency to sublimate or mask-over personal/emotional issues by making myself overly busy.

I also know the feeling of being generally strung-out online. That doesn't happen to me too much these days as the process of work has taken a lot of the fun out of the internet, which is sort of a bummer. The quality and quantity of my online socializing has been in decline for some time.