Is there such a thing as "reverse white coat syndrome"? You know, where your blood pressure goes down rather than up when somebody in a lab coat takes your blood pressure. My blood pressure is always lower at the doctor's office than it is at home or at one of those automatic blood pressure machines. Maybe it's just the fact that not having any kids around and not being at work makes it one of the more relaxing places I find myself.
This blog used to be about doing stuff. But I haven't had much to say about doing stuff lately, because I haven't gotten much stuff done. With essentially a less-than-zero budget for projects, and a lack of motivation due to stress, it's been hard to muster up much enthusiasm for telling stories here.
Stress. That's the buzzword for me right now. The house in Ohio is still sitting there, empty, as the value falls faster than our payments pay down the debt. My new, "secure" Federal employer is going through some massive cuts right now, and if there are cuts to be made in my group, I have to imagine myself as being "on the bubble."
I'm thankful that I've got a good command of the nuances of words. I never send a single email at work without carefully considering the implications. I spent five minutes today crafting an email that basically said, "I've got this one." I haven't been there long enough to make much of an impression, so I feel like every syllable counts. I'm glad I'm not the guy who threatened to quit the week before the big "reduction in force" announcement.
Of course, I don't want to change jobs. But the thought crossed my mind to try to start looking. Then I realized they just paid for my move. If I quit, I have to pay that money back. In fact, it looks like if they lay me off, I still have to pay that money back. Two houses, no job, and a moving bill - now that would be an interesting pickle.
But what woke me up this morning was perhaps an even more sobering thought. My dad recently found out he's got some none-too-trivial heart problems. He actually had a heart attack when I was in college, but has been doing well ever since. He lives a pretty healthy life by most standards - I think he probably eats better than many and gets a decent amount of exercise. He no longer smokes, he doesn't drink much. And still, one of his main arteries is blocked. It's a case where there's not much to be done for it. He's already on the right medications, and surgery is not an option. So basically, no more snow shoveling, no more rearranging furniture, no more of any number of gardening activities. He just can't do those things any more.
And what popped into my head at around 6:15 today was a simple calculation. I worked out that my dad was 44 years old when he had that heart attack. I'm 40 now. And I probably live a less healthy lifestyle than he has. Especially when I'm stressed.
Tomorrow, we're getting a pair of babysitters and going out on the town with some friends - dinner and the local comedy club. A suitable de-stressifying activity I hope. But I also need to figure out among all these factors what's in my control and what I can do about it.
We all face mortality in different ways and at different times. But when you're the parent a special needs kid, it feels like there's a whole other aspect to it. And I plan on using that as a primary motivator to get my butt in gear.