Shifting Time

I will say over the last eight months I’ve gotten a lot better at knowing when something is eating at me and finding out what it is. In the past, I’d be an idiot and say everything’s fine, and don’t worry about me and all that do-dah bullshit as my late father was fond of saying. Now I’ll say everything is shit, but don’t worry about me because I can figure out what’s eating at me and what to do about it.

In the last eight months since this pandemic began, time has been seriously fucked up. Either we don’t have enough time to do anything, or we’ve had too much time on our hands. Add in an election where the losers are refusing to exit stage left like the majority of the voters told them to do, and it’s amazing we’re not all white-haired, wide-eyed freakazoids.

But one thing I will say I’ve gotten a lot better at is this: not just figuring out when something is eating at me but doing something about it. Sometimes this feels like a graceful turn down the right street. And sometimes it feels like a hard swerve to avoid some asshole coming over on you when you’ve got nowhere to go.

Last night I sat in the airport waiting lot waiting for a ride when I realized that the old days of my Uber driving are truly over. I’m switching back to nine to five days because that’s where the most money has been for me since this pandemic-shit started. Besides, the busier it is the faster the day goes.

What this means for me is getting up at five a.m., which I already do because I don’t sleep much these days. Coffee will go on and I’ll be in front of the laptop typing away by six. Then around eight-ish shower, breakfast, and on the road by nine or nine-thirty. Here’s the thing, I did this schedule over a decade ago and I got a lot of writing done then though the quality wasn’t good enough for publication. Thank goodness for the internet these days and my own personal blog-website.

Why am I writing this to you this morning?

Because last night I felt a shift in my mind and that shift was in a couple of thoughts: my old preferred Uber schedule is not going to work and two, I’ve got to make that big push on my writing career once and for all. I know where the obstacles have been for me, and I know the asshole-voices from my past are just echoes now.

For me, this feels like where I was at ten years ago. Back then I had just quit my highest-paying job because I was on the verge of a total collapse and my father’s health was in an irreversible decline. It was the right decision at the right time but since then I’ve never had that traction like with the job I left. It’s taken me a long time to realize that and accept it.

I honestly don’t think that kind of traction or certainty like I had with that job will ever happen again. And you know what? I don’t want it to. I don’t want to be on the crazy dead-run I was on for so many years and I don’t think anyone else should have to do that either. I think the last eight months have been about blasting that all to hell and despite all the pain and loss, what we’re left with is a rapidly-receding tolerance for bullshit. We may have to work jobs and schedules we don’t want to. But that doesn’t mean we have to stop thinking and feeling the way we do, or think that we have to say everything’s okay when it isn’t.

Most of all, I think we need to realize our time is truly our own. And we don’t need to go back to the way things were. There are no guarantees in life, and everything you thought was a sure thing wasn’t.

So where do we go from here?

Forward.

We drink our coffee, wake our asses up, do our paying gigs, come home and do what needs to be done. And most of all, we need to stand up and say what I said to my father many years ago: “Unless someone is signing my paycheck or paying my bills, they’ve got no say in what I do on my own time.”

I’ve known this for a long time but I want to share it with anyone who needs to hear that and commit it to memory. Time shifts constantly along with life itself. And that’s okay because the world will always keep turning. Roll with the changes, as REO Speedwagon sang so well and to hell with anyone who tries to stop you.

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