various ramblings

My Hiatus from Texas

On June 14 I started my drive to Michigan after work and a nap. I had the opportunity to work remotely, from my family’s house, way up north. The whole experience was set up so I could visit my grandmother and other family as much as possible for two weeks during a pleasant time of year in Michigan.

As the two week window came to a close, I learned that working remotely is quite possibly the best thing ever. I managed to stay busy and spend so much time with my family all in the same day, what a dream. I was able to exercise before and after work daily, kayak often, have lunch with best friends, and take long walks on the weekends. It is safe to say that I am not enjoying my home atmosphere nearly as much as the Michigan one. I am back to the grind - commuting, avoiding the outdoors due to heat and concrete, and wishing I was somewhere cooler.

Currently, it is a “real feel” temperature near 100 and too hot to ethically walk my dog on the expansive concrete around us. I’m looking through the photos from my time up north and thought I’d share some highlights to keep the spirit alive. I’ll be back for a visit, Michigan, sometime this year again.


Some sunrises…

And, some sunsets…

But, also, these…

Tuesday Thoughts

I’ve been in a funk. Not a “hide in a dark room” kind of funk, but in one nonetheless. I’ve been buying useless shit to feel joy instead of doing things to bring me joy. I’ve been avoiding the outdoors and finding any excuse to stay in bed all morning instead of soaking up the good weather. I recently suffered from a stomach bug, which brought all of this up to the surface.

I had to spend 3-4 days in bed and resting to realize things aren’t great in my head.  I’ve had no urge to do anything, haven’t felt good about my body, and certainly haven’t felt productive. My weekly blogs have suffered, but I’ve lacked creativity anyway. I feel this year has been a series of these bad spells, worse than many of the years before. Thinking back, it’s pronab much like 2005 which was easily one of the worst years on memory. When I think about, 2014 wasn’t great either because years like 2006 and 2015 exist where I look back and seem like I was living out of body and out of sorts. It was kind of a depression hangover fueled by selfishness and crazy decisions about life. So many parallels between those years. I am much more level headed these days, so hopefully the rebound is more level also. I’m hopeful I’ll rebound into nature and good choices again.

I am working on a plan to “get to my happy place” over the next few days. I need to exercise, for both physical and mental health. I need to eat a little better, so my clothes fit again. I need to stop spending and work out a strict budget. I need to figure out 2019 and what we have to save and prioritize for thought the year. I have a lot to figure out, but I know building a routine will help my brain and I look forward to regular, thoughtful posts. 

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Who cares what might have been?

I try not to dwell on what might have been had I done something differently in my life. BUT, there is one decision I wonder about and it takes over my brain from time to time. If I had taken the city planning/code enforcement job with the City of Westworth Village (on the west side of Fort Worth) instead of the control room operator job at Quicksilver Resources, where would I be? Quicksilver paid better, a ton better, and it was an obvious choice from a financial standpoint. I was just starting to come out of my dark hole of financial depression - I had been paying my bills in full, and on time, for the first time in MONTHS. I was starting to know what it felt like to be an adult, despite having to borrow my aunt’s car to go to the job interview because mine didn’t have air conditioning. I felt Quicksilver was the responsible choice, and I don’t think I was wrong about that, in the end.

I accepted a job, in the oil & gas industry, and essentially felt I had backed myself into a corner career wise. There are a lot of energy jobs in Texas and nationwide, but I wasn’t learning skills that would make me valuable to many companies. I sat in a control room, a data center with 12 screens, and monitored natural gas production for three years. I finally found a way out and ended up in the environmental department to learn new skills. I started to learn about environmental remediation, permitting, and plenty of other marketable skills but was laid off within about 15 months because the company had failed and filed bankruptcy. I ended up back in a control center, for another failing company, as a contract employee on a non-permanent basis. I jumped at my current role, another environmental job, but have been there for two years and haven’t had many opportunities to learn new things or see any room for advancement. I don’t hate the work, but I don’t love it either. It’s pretty normal, from the sounds of it to feel that way about work. Who knows?

I wonder what I could be doing if I had accepted the planning job, for less money. Would I be happier, more fulfilled? Would I have a solid foundation for a career in city planning? Would I be struggling with my bills the same way I am now, or worse?

Things that wouldn’t have gone away: my habits. I have bad habits when it comes to spending and saving. I don’t think any amount of money, short of six figures, would solve that problem. I feel if I had taken the road through city planning, I’d be below my current and previous pay grades, which were higher, but maybe I’d feel more challenged and have more room for growth? I don’t know, like I said, I try not to waste too much time on the whole concept.

I do know one thing going forward, I’m not going to solely follow the money - unless it’s a LOT of money. I’d like to learn new skills, get into a career that offers room to grow and challenges me along the way. I’d love to work with a city, county, or state government. Only time will tell what happens with my current job, but I know if I don’t make the positive changes it’s going to continue to just be okay enough to stay.

Instead of going over the scenarios and wondering how my life could have been different, I will focus on the HERE AND NOW. I will try to find ways to improve my current life, career path, and mindset. Instead of wasting brain power on the “what if” thoughts, I’m going to harness it into “if this, than that.” I’m not always successful at getting out of my own head, especially when I’m having a bad day, but I have worked hard to be mindful about this topic and I plan to work hard to carve the path I want instead of what I “backed myself into” or “what the industry says I should do.”