Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Reports of my demise

Have been greatly exaggerated. Well…at least slightly exaggerated.

Oh, ok. Fine. They’re all true.

I think.

But I’m not sure.

Or something.

You see, here’s the thing. I think I’m having an identity crisis. Not in a bad “trade-the-wife-and-kids-buy-a-sportscar-and-lots-of-jewelry-quit-my-job-and-move-to-the-beach” kind of way, lest anyone worry about that. More of a “life-is-changing-and-I-need-to-change-with-it-or-learn-how-to-cope” kind of way.

There was an extended period in my life that I defined myself through my job. Climbing the ladder and earning the praise of my bosses and coworkers were primary drivers. I like to say that about eight or so years ago, I looked down from my perch on the corporate ladder and got dizzy. Not only did I not want to go any higher, I didn’t want to be as high as I was. In essence, the prize was not worth eating the Cracker Jacks.

So over the next year or so, I walked away from all that. The new definition of myself was through my family. I have a great wife and great kids and I came to the realization that I was a very lucky man to be so blessed. Spending time with my wife and being a good dad for my kids were worthwhile goals that would yield positive results for years. I can’t say that I’ve always succeeded in placing my family above my job, but I certainly got better at it than I had been previously.

Now, though, I find myself in transition. Family is still important. I’m still blessed with a loving wife and great kids. But the oldest Aardvark is growing up and becoming independent (occasionally managing both at once!), while the youngest is beginning to test the waters of decision making and responsibility, and I find that I can’t be the all-powerful, all-knowing, "Uber-Da" I once imagined myself to be. Being the parent of adult children is very much different that being the parent of young-uns. Work is different too. I’ve never had a job that was “operations” before. I’ve always been in “support” organizations. I have to say operations is more fun, but it’s also more stress as there are more balls to keep in the air. Having stepped into a new position in a relatively new organization, there are a ton of process improvements to be made. But the work has to get done too. It’s like having two full-time jobs simultaneously (or like concurrent life sentences, depending on your perspective). It would be very easy for me to get sucked back in to defining who I am by my job.

And then there’s blogging - which I find to be a real kick in the pants. (By the way, that’s a good thing) It’s better than the playground or recess ever was. I can be serious or silly, funny or lame (your mileage may vary), engaged or blasé. Whatever mood strikes. And y’all. Well, y’all (or ya’ll – just for Terry) are the best part. How is it possible to come to care so deeply about folks you’ve never met and hardly know? (And yes, I know I’ve met Miss Janis, Nate and the GOYL, but the principle is the same) For the better part of three years, part of who I am has been this crazy LittleA guy. LittleA is not me completely, but certain parts of me that I let out of the box now and then. (And think we can all agree that there are some VERY good reasons for leaving those parts in the box the rest of the time) But now, I find myself with very little time to blog (see Job, Full-time), and very little will to do so when I do have time.

So, I’m not Eighty-Hour-A-Week Job-Man, I’m not Uber-Da, and I’m not as much LittleA. Which leaves me with the question: Who am I?

And leaves you with the burning question: Huh?

(Thank goodness for the “Back” button – the all purpose solution for dealing with other people’s problems)

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