Monday, October 27, 2008

Smoke and Fire?

I just took a 'Burnout Test' located at one of my newly found favorite web sites called Mind Tools. Their introduction and explanation of burnout is...

"Burnout occurs when passionate, committed people become deeply disillusioned with a job or career from which they have previously derived much of their identity and meaning. It comes as the things that inspire passion and enthusiasm are stripped away, and tedious or unpleasant things crowd in."

I actually took the test twice, with the first time looking back to the way I felt before retiring on August 31st. My score based on the old days was 63, which puts me in their "You are at very severe risk of burnout - do something about this urgently" area. Hmmm...

I then took it again based on how I feel today and got a score of 30 putting me in the "Little sign of burnout here" section. I always though that 'burnout' was a myth and just something people used as an excuse to not produce fully, but now I'm not so sure. While I refuse to use this to explain and apologize to friends and family about some of my past actions and attitudes, it still makes me wonder how much the old job situation was getting me down.

What about you out there? Do you have an opinion? I share mine far too often but I'd be really interested in hearing your views on burnout, job stress or other work-related topics.

My Top Ten....

A recent conversation with someone and a TV showing of one of my favorite movies tonight reminds me that I haven’t posted my top ten list of favorite movies lately. Here they are in no particular order and please, feel free to comment or make suggestions. I’m sure your list is different, let’s hear it.

Deep Impact
My First Mister
Das Boot
Scent of a Woman
Beautiful Mind
Searching for Bobby Fischer
Almost Famous
Field of Dreams

Hmmm.... It occurs to me that there seems to be a common theme underlying every one of these movies. This is strange because I am not what anyone would call a "people person" by any stretch of the imagination!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Slowing down...

So is it just me slowing down in my old age or are people driving faster?

Sure, in my young and foolish days nothing ever stayed in front of me and nothing passed me either. Nothing... ever. Not a transport and not even a Greyhound bus. I remember being overjoyed once because I'd kept a fancied up Camero behind me on the autoroute all the way from the Champlain Bridge to the Sherbrooke cut-off. What giddy and foolish days those were... and I’ve smartened up a lot since then. Now I stick very close to the speed limits and if some fool wants to pass me then more power to you, buddy.

My complaint for today however is that even with all we are hearing about slowing down giving us better gas mileage and the high cost of gas no one seems to be listening. Sure, I hear lots of people complaining about the prices they are paying at the pumps but I still get passed every day by cars and trucks, big and small. The worst ones seem to be these big "Look at me I'm macho!" pickup trucks that try to push everyone else off the road. To them I say "I'm getting between 45mpg and 47mpg on my vehicle, how are YOU doing?"

Now, one last comment to whoever pulled their school bus out in front of me in Sheguiandah yesterday... IDIOT! Granted that I saw you, but did you see me? The car IS bright red and I suppose could have been mistaken for an autumn maple tree moving down the road. If we forget about that part how about the posted speed limit? It is a 70 zone and yes I was closer to 80 but what was your speed as you zipped away from me, still in the middle of town? By the time I reached the legal 80 zone headed south you were already past the Batman cut-off headed up towards the big hill.

Hope you read this Mr. Driver and be advised that next time I will catch up to your bus, and I WILL be checking the license plate number. Am I the best driver on our roads? No, but I also don't have a load of kids that I'm responsible for sitting behind me either. Am I wrong?

November 1, 2008 Update: I just got over 49mpg on my last tank of gas!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Can't let go...

It seems to me that I still haven't quite given up and let go. A part of me is still back in the stores working away. I say this because my Palm Pilot (my magic memory machine) still pops up each and every Saturday with a weekly reminder of what reports are due this week. I can tell you that today I should have sent in the Variance Report for Week 38 and that the Payroll Reports should also have been forwarded for processing. Why haven't I deleted these memory joggers from my system yet?

I have no idea. Am I afraid of cutting the last ties from that part of my life? Do I actually think that I might break down and go back to work some day and need to have this information available? I sincerely hope that the latter is not the reason.

No, I think I'll plead to a form of inertia. The 60 hour work weeks are gone, the living out of a suitcase is gone, the waiting for an email containing the instructions for my next assignment is gone but... There is this hesitation over removing the last link to my 35 year history.

Maybe next week I'll have the courage to erase these last remainders and move one. The future is out there, I'll overcome and find it soon, dont' worry about it, I'm not.

November 2, 2008 Update: I just deleted all my weekly references to reports that are due when, how and where. Whew... glad that's finally over!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Out and About...

I’ve been touring around the island for the last couple weeks just checking out the colors and seeing new places. I enjoy hitting new roads that I haven’t been on before and I know you think that Manitoulin isn’t that big but you’d be surprised how many little lanes and side roads there are. Still quite a few out there for me to explore but now that I have the time we’ll make it to every one eventually. Here’s a few photos from my recent excursions.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Gordon's Park

Another of my favorite places to visit on Manitoulin is Gordon’s Park. I had the opportunity a few days ago to get a guided tour from Rita and Terry and we had a great time heading up through a couple of the trails, getting all the way up to the old cabin and the Dark Sky Sanctuary. The fall colors are out in full force and I snapped lots of photos of our outing, some of which you see here. Gordon’s has LOTS more than just hiking trails and astronomy so make sure you stop in whenever you visit Manitoulin Island. Tell them “Our Manitoulin” sent you and we’ll see you on the trails!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

What is to be?

It’s just occurred to me that what I’m looking today is the rest of my life…

I am now retired… I have no further obligations in a working and contributing sort of way and feeling. I don’t HAVE to get up tomorrow, I don’t HAVE to be in the store by 8:00 to make sure we’re ready to open at 10:00 staff or not. I don’t HAVE to be ready for the truck/plane/ship/barge to be here at 10:15, I don’t HAVE to listen for the alarm or a knock/punch/bang/thump/breaking glass/shot in the middle of the night, I don’t HAVE to appear positive and gung-ho and smile for a lot of other people I don't really know. I must now be me… and it’s scares the hell out of me.

Have you ever had a 35 year long routine and responsibilities that ended overnight? What is my life to be, how can I matter, is there a purpose... I’m sure there must be but it will take me time to find, and I’m very lucky to have some great people to help me work through this time. I hope they are very patient…