New Beginnings

This week starts my 8th week at my new job. In some ways, the new routine has become normal. In others… not so much.

For one thing, the schedule is radically different from working at the bookstore – not so much the hours (though I am working 9+ hour days), but the hours plus the commute. 30 miles each way translates to quite a long time in traffic, even if I shift my hours very early. Right now I leave at 5:45 and get to work at 6:30.

Trial and error shows that every 15 minutes later I leave, adds half an hour to my arrival time. So if I leave at 6, I get to work at 7, 6:15 is 7:30. I’ve not left any later than 6:15, because to get to work by 9, I’d leave at 7, and that’s just ridiculous.

On the way home, it has taken me anywhere from 1 hour to 2 hours and 15 minutes. Instead of commuting home on the major highway (I45, for the people who know the Houston area), I take a side road that used to be a highway. A side road with a max speed of 50mph, some areas as low as 35 mph, and lots of stop lights. Oddly, taking that route, I’ll get home in an hour every day.

The morning commute isn’t so bad. I listen to the news or to an audio book (Right now I’m making my way through Sarah Vowell’s The Wordy Shipmates), and it’s just become part of the morning. It’s the commute home at the end of the day that gets to me. Working 9 or so hours leaves me pretty mentally worn out, so having to focus enough to safely drive home is exhausting.

I’m usually home by 5:30, which is pretty good, especially now that it’s closer to summer and there’s lots of daylight left. With a 5am wakeup though, and as much sleep as I need to keep my joint pain under control, I’m getting ready for bed around 8:30pm, so my evenings are pretty short. My goal is to be in the bed, ready to sleep by 9:30.

Not a lot of time in the evenings, especially when you add in cooking dinner! So that’s been another big adjustment – my free time just became a LOT more precious. Everything I do in the evenings has a timer that’s constantly ticking down to 8:30 and getting in the shower.

I’ve essentially stopped gaming at this point. After spending all day staring at a computer, when I get home, I don’t really want to look at a computer for that long. I’ll still play a bit on the weekends, or do a few odds and ends, but I’m definitely not going to be raiding anymore. (I’m actually feeling pretty lonely without the gaming community that I was used to.)

It’s been a challenge from a mental health standpoint as well, since I’ve had to create all new routines, and I’m having to fight to carve out time to take care of that sort of thing.

I don’t really feel like I’ve got this all figured out yet, even after 8 weeks. I suppose that’s not all that unreasonable, given the huge change that this has been for me (and for SSH). It’s certainly been a mental shift, even if it’s a good one from a career growth standpoint.

As for blogging, I haven’t yet figured out how this will fit into things. I want to keep writing, but it suffers from the same problem as gaming (computer time in the evenings), but I would like to keep writing. I’ve honestly struggled with finding anything to write about though, which might seem surprising to anyone who knows how verbose I can be. We’ll see how it goes as I get more used to the new schedule.

It’s been a time of wait and see. And it will, as best I can tell, continue to be that way. So I’ll just wait and see.

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