So many diversions, so little time…

Back to the blog…My first post in a couple of weeks. The first bit of writing in a week and a half (other than work stuff.)

What have I been up to? Well, when I’m not working or running errands, I am spending hours organising my MP3 collection. No net value to the activity other than I get a satisfied feeling that I am moving my music collection toward convergence. Like the protagonist in High Fidelity, I find that when my life reaches a juncture, there is therapeutic value to organising one’s music collection. Unfortunately, mine reaches to the levels of 50k+ tunes that I have acquired or ripped from CDs.

And they all need labeling and sorting. And I have maybe only labelled about a quarter of them satisfactorily. And that’s been over the space of several months.

So, what disorder has been happening in my life to inspire me to anally seek order in my MP3 collection? Well, the wife will soon be bringing another sprog into the fold of our small brood. The due date is late January / early February.

I’ve been thinking a lot about how one can have plans one way and then have them blown out of the water by circumstances. The Black Swan. My black swan was my wife and I conceiving a child. It has been 12 years since the birth of our first and only thus far, and we had it figured out…Our firstborn was going to graduate from high school, possibly move out of the house leaving us to downshift a bit. In anticipation of that, I would find some sort of business I could do that I could build up and ensure that I could work local to home (the holy grail for me) without being too extravagant.

With another mouth to feed, I suppose I will have to retain the day job, which I only do because it pays well – when I’m working. Sometimes I can go months without work, but my daily rate when I’m working is enough to offset those lean times. That’s why I continue to do my day job. Unfortunately, most of my self-development in that role, up until recently, comes off my own back. As an independent contractor, I have no one else paying for my training nor having any interest in how I develop.

As a result, my jobs for the past 6 years or so have seen no real addition to my skill set through the work that I do – as is the case when people are not permanent employees. I’m not complaining, just observing. It wasn’t until recently that I was able to land a job where the boss actually saw what else I was capable of, and sees it as his job to  challenge his direct reports, not with impossible deadlines to deliver the same old sh**, but actual new activities they have never done.

The work I am now engaged in, although not my calling, is a bit more interesting for me professionally, and I have one of the best bosses one could ask for. Up until this point, any new arrows in my quiver were achieved off the back of my spare time: it took me 6 years, for instance, to finish a business degree in my part time. Then attack a couple of project management qualifications.

Then I decided that one of the things I could do as a localised business was bookkeeping, so I started working on a qualification during my last time off work. Again, not my calling, but a solid skill set which is in demand, and may allow me to make a bit of money.

Now, with the sprog coming, I’m not so sure I could pursue such a risky course for a few years. (I do want to write, but fortunately, that is something I can do “in my spare time”, when I make the time for it.)

But my current role is actually re-writing my CV for me and turning me into more of a specialist with a niche skill set which is in demand, according to one of my colleagues, who is in the know in this field. Which means as all is said and done, continuing with my day job may continue to be lucrative, and give me better opportunities, which means I am not so desperate to leave it for just about anything that appears better.

The pressure seems to be slightly off now on the extracurricular development front, as I am developing quite nicely in the work I am now doing. Which frees up my evenings, or what’s left of them after I come home.

I am able to do some writing now on the train into work, which is an hour-long trip, and I am able to do so on the way home, as long as I don’t take the “Lego”-trains – the 313 trains that Southern Railways are running along the coast line from Portsmouth to Worthing. They are actually quite desperate and traveling on them can be as crowded, at times, as any trip out of London Bridge. Thankfully, I only have to endure the crowds for the half-hour between Chichester and Worthing, which is a small mercy compared to my old homeward bound routes out of London. Unfortunately, with the crowding and the way the seats are laid out, it is damn near impossible to write anything, other than on a pad, and I hate having to go back and transcribe my illegible handwriting at the best of times.

So, for the remainder of the evenings I should be doing more writing, perfecting the craft.  But there are also other things I’d like to do. I would love to learn how to play the guitar. I really would. And I need to do more reading…I haven’t done much in the past several weeks, and I think I’m really needing to. I also need to continue to teach myself speed-reading. I was able to double my reading speed, and was on my way to improving my comprehension.

And then, I have always been good with learning languages – at one time, I was as near fluent as one could get in French without ever having been immersed in it, and I was disappointed by my performance on a recent holiday to Switzerland. And Portuguese, I was all right at speaking it when I lived there, but found myself lost when trying to communicate with an old friend on my last trip to Portugal.

So many things to do, so little time.

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