Wednesday, January 30, 2008


If I had four arms, I’d need a fifth. If there were 48 hours in a day, I’d need 50. Being busy and staying active is a great way to live your life but I’ve been way overloaded with things to do for months and weeks. Between my salaried job, my side jobs, taking care of personal business and the day-to-day of modern life I’ve had hardly the time to even sit down and clear my thoughts of late.

A little less than 8 years ago I was introduced to the Franklin-Covey system of day planning. I used the system sporadically and half-heartedly for the first few years but found a way to make it work for my own life about 3 years ago. Now I use it to plan not only my salaried job workday but also my personal life. The problem, for me at least, is that I tend to become a bit too efficient with this system and I’ll get too much done and from time to time I overanalyze my planning and goals. I’m trying to shake myself free from one of those events right now. I’m not having a lot of success.

I do sometimes wonder if I have OCD or ADHD, as some of the symptoms I can relate to and sometimes find myself noticing that I have several of the symptoms. Then I realize one of the reasons why my life is and always has been like it is, can be traced to what I do with my day and not so much how my mind works. I’ve always had trouble balancing personal and professional interests and goals. Since leaving the Navy I’ve always worked in places and had responsibilities that tended to make me want to actually be at work in the morning. Since I was a boy I’ve had personal activities that have made me want to rush off to them when I am on my free time.

By time I get home in the evening I have been gone for 10 to 12 hours. I take care of my two wonderful dogs and any business that needs to be tended to such as cooking dinner and bill paying. When that is done it’s time to start working on my home based business and playing with the pups while I work. By time 11 PM rolls around I’ve been on the go since waking up at 5 AM and its time for bed and hitting the stack of books at my bedside if possible. The dogs just want to go to bed and lie next to me at this point; even they are exhausted and they sleep all day. Weekends aren’t much different except I fill the day with home business work and some fun. Usually, these two areas mix as I rely on hitting yard sales, thrift stores and estate sales to buy inventory for one part of my business.

This is where it all gets interesting, the personal interests and the home based business and how they blend. I sometimes find stuff that I don’t want to resell. It could be a piece of furniture, a book, a piece of California pottery or a record. Even when I’m at work, I’m thinking of my personal interests and even when I am enjoying a personal interest I think of how to use it with my work. It is frantic at times and I have to constantly switch mental gears between the two. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by work and my personal life or I will obsess on “getting work done” and the next thing I know my days are so full of keeping busy that I can’t find the time to relax or enjoy what it is that I am doing. Sound familiar?

Yet with all this work it is still a struggle to stay on top of things and getting ahead is more like a hurdler, blasting down the track and in the lead only to nip the last two hurdles and fall into third place. I seem to clear hurdles all the time and get ahead, only to trip up and wind up holding on in the end, not gaining and maybe falling behind a little bit at a time. The hard work comes to naught. Sound familiar?

I’ve rarely had a problem with having initiative or motivating myself. When I have had those problems it’s been because I was worn out physically or mentally unfocused. Age has given me some wisdom and experience to notice when that is happening and do something about it. But initiative and motivation are not all that is needed to get ahead in life. Having some inspiration, time and a good idea can be hard to find all at the same time, let alone motivation and initiative. Sound familiar?

I’ve heard before that sometimes a person’s life is simply to be the “cautionary tale”, I’ve also heard differing opinions on the hand that luck plays in life and I know there is always a killing to be made by book publishers when it comes to self help books. As I’m getting older and my ways are becoming more and more set and I struggle to keep fighting the good fight in life and I have always tried to be what John Lennon described in his song ‘Working Class Hero’. Sound familiar?

I realize that the only “success” I will ever see are the many small battles of life that I win. I have become what I was going to become. I made myself into what I am today and the only time I feel like I haven’t amounted to much is after I have been watching TV for too long. Those commercials and the blathering of talking head gibberish is always geared toward making us feel like losers unless we live in the McMansion, drive the Hummer and lead a vapid existence with a head full of propaganda. Sound familiar?

I sometimes think what has kept me going and not becoming one of the burned out victims of our society is a deep-seated fear of being typical or being “just like everyone else”. When I was growing up I didn’t seem to fit in and when I visit my family in the Appalachian foothills of north Georgia I often wonder just how in the hell I wound up like I am. This leads me back to where I began this post, being overloaded with work and staying active in a healthy way.

Hope has always been the key. Hope will keep you alive. Hope will keep you going. Hope, in spite of the world you see in front of you, is what matters. Hope got me out of the hills and hope makes me admire the simple life of my hometown instead of being embarrassed or condescending of the place I came from and the people I cleaved myself from. Hope is what tells me I can be myself, do my own thing and keep searching for more and meaning to it all without having to be exactly like everyone else in an Atlanta office. Hope tells me it is okay to do this and hope tells me it will be okay in the future.

Hope is directly connected to faith, belief, charity, vision, wisdom, coping with reality and ultimately; life itself. Lose hope and you lose the reason to live. Lose hope and you’ve lost the ability to think through the obstacles of life. Lose hope and you can have no faith in God, your brothers and sisters or yourself. Hope is what keeps me going; hope that I can make my small mark in life, hope that I can overcome what lies ahead. I don’t know if overloading myself is a sign that I am desperately in need of something to be hopeful for or if it is simply a sign that I am just optimistic.

I hope for a better future and I hope I can get my life running in a slightly less hectic pace. I hope you are doing well and I hope we will all see a brighter day ahead in spite of all these dark clouds. Afterall, we do have hope...