Life Update: 2.20.22

Next week will be the first of the 3 weeks out of the year when I actually have a whole lot of fun. It’s a vacation week!

I probably won’t go anywhere.

And if you know me well, you’re raising your eyebrows right now.

Usually on these vacation weeks, I’m planning a road trip somewhere and sharing with you the many interesting things that I find. I get a lot of positive comments about them, and they help make me continue to experience them.

This vacation week, instead, will be used for a time of personal enrichment and improvement. Events in the last 3 months built up, came to a head, and I need the time to pick up the pieces to restore some sort of flow in my life.

Besides, back in December I already determined that I was only going to go on one major road trip in 2022: Where I left off when I abruptly stopped in central Indiana. Since then, I’m even more convinced that this year is going to just be a one-trip year, due to what all has happened.

So here’s what’s going on …

December was a tough month for me after the abrupt stop of my planned 4-day road trip in Indiana after just 1 day. I felt lost mentally up to Christmas. However, I still had work to do during that time with two standard-issue magazines and one large magazine. That, and scheduling issues with the larger magazine caused delays in an already-tight workflow.

January is the busiest month of the year for me and the magazine writing, with five total, and December’s delay just made January even more complicated. The last couple of days of the month saw the other end of the finish line, and that was quite the relief. It was only temporary, however.

February had personal trouble. I had a health issue on the 1st that necessitated a few doctor’s visits in the days thereafter, in which another health issue was arisen. That caused another delay in getting articles written. Then I had another health issue on the 15th that completely halted my already-overfilling workload for 3 days.

Two issues have been completely resolved, and the third is becoming manageable. The professional damage, though, is that I’m having to scramble in the coming days to get caught up on all of that work. At the time of this blog post, I’m working on three stories for the upcoming Sterling-Rock Falls Living magazine that I need to have done by Tuesday (needED to be done by last Wednesday), and I’m one-quarter done on two of three articles for the next Business Journal, with the other not yet scheduled – all needs done by Saturday before vacation begins.

I can’t wait for the February finish line to be crossed. As I mentioned, I’m not going anywhere for vacation next week, so I want to use part of that time to reflect and find ways to improve upon my job performance. Got to keep work from crossing the bounds of life that it should be in.

March will have, in addition to the monthly Lake Lifestyle magazine for Lake Carroll, the first Ogle County Living magazine of the year, the first Dixon Living, and the one story for the yearly Golf Guide. I already have two LL stories done, two more in progress, one in the planning stages, and two more spots to fill – all of which is an improvement on past issues 3 weeks before deadline.

As far as sports goes, I’ll be off for the rest of the winter season. I may make a couple of spring postseason assignments before taking the summer off. I do plan to cover football games in the fall of 2022, kicking off my 21st year in sports journalism.

I’m going to send my laptop to get repaired over vacation, so this will help keep my mind off of work.

All of those doctor’s visits are going to put a big dent in my finances, convincing me even more that this is going to be a one-trip year. Thus, the unofficial, unorganized “fun budget” money is going to take a back seat. Translation: I’m cutting back on card show visits. I went to Madison, Wisconsin last month, and had planned to visit one in suburban Addison this coming Saturday; that’s not going to happen.

I’ve gone to the show in suburban Orland Park several times, and I want to make one last visit some time this year to buy some cards I left “behind.” That technically doesn’t qualify as a tourism “road trip” because that’s the only thing I’m doing on the road – If I were to visit other places along the way (read: spend more money), then it would be one of those road trips. I’m hoping I can make it to the March 27 show. After that, I plan to reorganize my “Want List” of baseball cards and take a break from it for a while.

I still have several small and bulk “starter set” baseball cards for beginning collectors that I am trying to sell. It’s part of an effort to reduce the “rump pile” of my collection and establish a true “personal collection” of seven binders. More details to follow.

One of the other things I want to try to tackle during my “vacation” week is the day-to-day balance of work and life. Right now, I work in small spurts over the course of the entire time I’m awake: a couple of hours here, a couple of hours there, one here, 5 there. I’m single and work from home, that’s why. I’ve been suggested to create “office hour” work times to start and end at specific times. If I’m not working and I get a sudden itch to work on something, I need to tell myself to hold off until the predesignated time to resume it.

Another thing to continue to work on is dropping more weight. My most recent weight is 46 pounds less than an unfortunate peak from July 2019, and I weigh less now that what I did at the start of 2019. Going to the doctor’s this month helped re-establish a consistent primary care structure that I plan to continue going forward. I’m on several medications to help with several things, including a couple to aid in weight loss. With the weather getting nicer out, and Illinois’ mask restrictions more lax, I plan to be out walking once more.

Vacation weeks can be good weeks, whether you actually travel or not.

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