The Road Ahead

I’ve said it before and I’m sure everyone will hear me say it again. It’s seems impossible for me to to find time for everything. Work, family, friends, health, religion, education, hobbies, chores, blogging… Some people manage to balance everything and I can’t figure out how they do it. On a good day I perform a passable juggling act. I’m about to turn 30 (less than a week) and I’ve got to give careful consideration to my time (it’s running out!)

These days I cram in more and more work.  Jim operates Blaze Commerce and I just signed on as a part owner and we have plans to overtake the local ecommerce market.  Over here at BladeHQ we’re getting ready to open our “real” retail shop and there’s a huge amount of prep work to do before the remodeling. We’ve also got plans to fire up a slew of new websites so we can keep costs covered. If I was a single guy and sacrificed every aspect of my personal life then there’d be plenty of time.

But I’m not- I’m married, I have three kids.  It’s sad to miss pieces of their childhood. It only happens one time and you’re either there, or you’re not. Don’t get me wrong- I come home from work every evening to see my family but it’s not enough for me. In the the grand scheme of things I keep hoping that I can get work “out of the way” and then go play. So far so good, but it really takes it toll. And part of me wonders if it’s really worth it. It’s been physically destructive… I can say that much.

For my birthday I ordered a sole treadmill. It should be here next week. I have plans to hop on the thing every day for about 30 mins. Where will that time come from? I don’t have television, I have’ read a book in months and I only sleep 6 hours as it is (with the exception of Saturday, when my wonderful wife lets me sleep in). Another 30 minutes a day is going to be tough! But given that my body weight has increased by 129% in the last four years I figure an intervention is necessary- even if it comes from me.

I’m sure I’ll find a way to throw one more ball into my chaotic juggling regime. I always do. Focus is a real key to success. I’m often amazed at how much time I can waste surfing the Internet, browsing catalogs in the bathroom, or sometimes just staring into space. If I can harness some of that I’m sure I can scrape together 30 minutes of time to treadmill it up. I can stare into space while I run (well… walk… I’m sure I’ll be walking at first).

And so… that’s why I haven’t been a consistent blogger. Blogging is lower down on my list of priorities and often gets pushed to the side. “I need to blog… but I haven’t slept in 13 days… I must sleep.” I don’t anticipate any change, but if I can think of something to jettison I will blog more. Any ideas?

10 thoughts on “The Road Ahead

  1. Ah Cam, you are having the dilemma that most of us struggle with. No time, no time, no time. You know I have done a lot of thinking lately about what is important in life. This has been due largely to some health issues that the doctors thought might be something serious and possibly life threatening. But no worries, things have turned out okay in that department. I would be happy to divulge more details next time I see you. Anyway, I’ve thought a lot about what really matters in the end. And I can safely say that it is not work.
    Actually, I just turned down a promotion (it would have been a double promotion) at work. It was a tempting offer but it would have involved me traveling internationally on a regular basis and I just didn’t want to do that. Jason matters more to me than any amount of money or status.
    So have you ever thought about just hiring a manager to take care of the daily things at work. So you wouldn’t have to do so much work? It may mean less money for you but it would mean more time. And as I have considered much lately-there is no amount of money that will give you more time. So time is a precious of commodity. Not to mention that no amount of money can make you healthy. Health is also precious. So there you have it-advice from someone with a new perspective.

  2. First off, I’m glad that nothing you have is life threatening- this is very good news.

    The new perspective is appreciated. But, as you said, it is a new (different) perspective. Your situation is quite different from mine for the time being. Consider this (all in good fun, kiddo!):

    You ask why I don’t hire a manager. Less money, but more time, right? Maybe- if I can hire the right manager. Thus far the opportunity has not been forthcoming. I freely confess that I enjoy my work (not the amount), and I enjoy the control I have over my business operations. If I were sure another person could do the job as well as I could it’s possible I might step aside. But I would always find some work to do- work is my hobby. In the meantime, I do my job well, I make the money I need and so I press on!

    You say Jason matters to you more than money or status and you turned down a job promotion that would encroach on your time together. Without knowing details, this sounds like the right call. Similarly I would not do anything to jeopardize the time I have with my family. I take things on with the understanding that the time my family and I have together will not be compromised. Sure, I lament the fact hat I can’t spend more time with them as anyone with their priorities straight would. But when I work more, it’s something else that gives (usually sleep). I’m on a quest for better balance. Does it mean less work? Maybe, but maybe not.

    I take pride in the fact that I provide well for my family. It’s really a man’s only job, as far as I’m concerned. But here’s how I see it: I am one person and I have to provide for the needs of five. You and Jason have the opportunity to be two people providing for the needs of two people. Maybe it doesn’t seem like a fair thing for me to say (and here I go!) but currently I’d say time management is much easier for you in regard to work and family. We’re in very different boats, no?

    But in some ways my work is very family friendly: I’m fortunate in that I get to work with Francoise for part of each day! There’s two sides of every coin. I don’t feel like I see my kids enough, and she needs a break from them! She gets to come to work each day, get a break from the kids, and I get to see her! Not many people are fortunate enough to work with their spouse. My family can drop by for visits whenever they want (not always a great thing… but hey) and I come and I can come and go as I please. I hope that my kids will come work with me when they get a little order too. There may be a “two birds with one stone” opportunity around the corner.

    My work is not about status. Sure, I’ve got some nice stuff but I never buy anything to impress anyone. If I get something it’s simply because I would enjoy it or my family would enjoy it. Status may come and go as it pleases.

    Now the money aspect is another story (and some may say that money is form of status, but only it if it publicly flaunted). You say there is no amount of money that will give you more time. You’re going up against a pretty time tested mathematical equation: time=money. So, money=time. I will not work as hard as I do now indefinitely (but as I have stated I will indefinatly work… I want to write a few books down the road). At some point I’ll have enough money to retire. That’s my goal: get work out of the way. With my money I’ll have more time.

    In the meantime I simply rue the fact that the day is so short. Sure, I have to sacrifice my burning desire to paint the next Mona Lisa, but in the long run I sincerely believe things will work out just fine. The now is hard, the later gives me hope, hope fuels the now to bring the later closer.

    And hey- maybe if I can find that 30 minutes a day to treadmill myself I’ll achieve a small measure of health. Maybe if I’m healthier I can sleep less. If I sleep less I can work more. Tee hee!

    Yeah, that was pretty long… maybe even longer than my post. But I wanted to reinforce the fact that I don’t regret my life, I don’t regret my choices, I just wish I had more time, or better time management skills. Or a clone. A clone would really be fun. Oh man… wow.

  3. Cam, a little defensive are we?
    Well I hate to say it, but time management is difficult for anyone with a lot of interests and obligations. I know all you people with kids think those without kids have it incredibly easy. But that just isn’t the case. I laugh in your general direction. Certainly, we get to do more of the things that we want to because we don’t have to care for someone else 24/7 and children generally do complicate things, but the day still goes by very quickly and there is never enough time to get everything done. Jason and I don’t get enough sleep because we are so busy- and you know me well enough to know that I don’t waste time watching TV and playing video games.
    See here’s the thing-having kids or not having kids doesn’t make you busier or less busy. I know parents who sit around watching TV for hours every night and I know parents (actually only mothers) that are so involved with their kids that they give up all their hobbies and lose all sense of who they are. (Both extremes are sad.) The same is true of people that don’t have kids. Some of them are super busy and some of them just sit around after work and waste their time playing World of Warcraft. Being busy and leading a productive life don’t depend on whether you happen to have kids or not, they depend on what type of person you are.
    And your relationships with your children aren’t the only ones that require time and effort. Maintaining a good relationship with your spouse is time consuming all in itself, and Jason and I have one of the best relationships out there.
    And BTW, I 100% DISAGREE with you on your analysis that it is the man’s sole job to provide materially for his family. Firstly, being a parent and a husband is MUCH more than that and secondly, spouses should work as a team. And as a team they need to figure out together what works best for them as far as work/caring for kids goes. Flexibility is a great thing. Whatever works for you and Wee is great for the two of you but I think it is erroneous to believe that because it happens to be good for the two of you that it would be good for everyone.
    And don’t get me wrong, I too enjoy my job. I very much enjoy what I do. But my job has never defined me and it never will. I work to live-not live to work.
    Lastly my friend, you work hard now so you can retire early. That is a good plan but I can say from my own experience as a child that once your children have gotten older you can’t make up the time you are losing with them now.
    You know me, I am an opinionated woman, and that is my ten cents worth. (Actually it probably isn’t worth even ten cents.)
    So there you have it….a comment that in ten years from now we will laugh at much like those high school drama letters that we think are so funny 🙂
    P.S. Happy 30th in 16 minutes!

  4. This is some serious commenting! Yes, I know you- and being an opinionated woman is A-OK. I knew I was opening a can of worms with my reply. Blog sparring is an excellent pastime and hobby. We could have been “drinking water” in the time it took to write these replies. They will forever serve as a twisted time mismanagement irony.

    So you thought I was a bit defensive, huh? Maybe…my reply wasn’t intended to be overly defensive. I just wanted to clarify my position. Now your post… defensive central 😉

    Anyway- let me address a couple of things:

    First, had I said, “A man’s sole job to provide materially for his family” then yes, your disagreement would be justified. I would also disagree with myself. What I said was, “I take pride in the fact that I provide well for my family. It’s really a man’s only job, as far as I’m concerned.” I can see where my statement could be misunderstood. When I wrote that I was not thinking exclusively of material provisions. A man must provide both materially and emotionally for his family. My intent was to convey the fact that I do a good job of taking care of my family in all regards.

    Similarly I believe the woman’s only job is to provide for her family (and let me state for the record that a family, as I’m using the term, is a minimum of a husband and wife).

    Second, you say, “I can say from my own experience as a child that once your children have gotten older you can’t make up the time you are losing with them now.” You need to understand that, given the way I see my role, there will obviously be things I miss. But your comment contains the implication that family may be neglected, which they are not. If I’m done working by the time I’m 37 (on track so far- maybe you didn’t realize how early I had my retirement in mind) I would say my juggling act has paid off.

    So why my post then? Sound like things are humming along smoothly. But of course they don’t. Even though I think my family is stable and well taken care of I wish I could spend more time with them. And I know I will miss parts of their childhood. This is my sorrow and my sacrifice. I work as much as I do for a brighter future.

    Don’t get me wrong- I do find it impossible to balance everything. Part of my original post lamented the demise of my physical perfection. I do question my direction sometimes. Why? Because I right now I could shelve most of what I do, work four hours a day and maintain my current lifestyle. That’s kind of appealing! I wish there was more time for everything.

    And finally you say, “Maintaining a good relationship with your spouse is time consuming all in itself, and Jason and I have one of the best relationships out there” but I think this just proves that time management (in relation to your family) is easier. Oh, I went there!

    Thank you for your birthday wishes. I must now go celebrate my old age.

  5. Let me say this: We don’t want a war. I think what we want is just to be understood and not judged. We’ve made some very different choices that put us in very different positions. It’s possible we will never fully understand each other and that’s okay.

  6. Cam, Cam, Cam.
    Here we go again…
    So you think time management is easier for me because I make time for Jason? Jason and I have a great relationship because he is my number 1 priority, not because I have oodles of spare time.
    And I will state once again that I know too many crappy parents that don’t put any effort into raising their kids to EVER believe that being a parent in of itself is super time consuming. It all depends on what type of parent you are.

    And it is true Jason and I have made different choices then what is norm here in the valley. But we are incredibly happy, which seems an impossible thing for most people around here to understand. I could say a lot more on that subject, but I will refrain.

    And don’t worry, I am not starting a war with you. Though perhaps it is sad that you and I have not changed our opinions at all through this debate. We are both stubborn and opinionated. Yes…that means you too. 🙂

    Doesn’t this remind you a little too much of the “Should women change their last name when they get married?” debate from high school.
    Jason says it is just typical of me and you to egg each other on. He’s probably right.

  7. Dang it woman!

    Rac: “…perhaps it is sad that you and I have not changed our opinions at all through this debate”

    Cam: Why is this sad? What you’re really saying is that it’s sad I haven’t changed my opinion. Fess up! Anyway, I wasn’t trying to change anyone’s opinion and up to this point I didn’t realize that was your intent either.

    Maybe your original post was just some friendly advice (and what you say is essentially correct- that’s not the issue) but there were some undertones. So I defended myself. You felt attacked and defended in a like manner. But the issue has now gone from my “I wish I had more time, I work so hard and I miss some stuff.” to…

    “I know all you people with kids think those without kids have it incredibly easy. But that just isn’t the case. I laugh in your general direction” -Rac

    Cam: In essence there seems to be a need for me to acknowledge the issues of time management that you face as a family with no children. Why? What’s surreal to me is that you seem to think I have no idea what’s it’s like to be married without children. We all started like you. I was married for two years with no children. Near pure bliss. I have been there. The only real time pressures you have are work and then the commitments you choose to make. Yes, you’re busy, because you choose to be.

    Sure, there are families with kids who really are neglected- but how does that apply to you and me and our discussion on time management? We’re busy because much of our life revolves around our kids. We’re responsible for clothing them, feeding them, playing with them , teaching them, making sure they are happy and healthy. You don’t have those responsibilities- period. That’s just not arguable. You’re busy with different things.

    You mention how happy you and Jason are. I don’t know any one who questions your happiness and I don’t know anyone who would think it’s hard to believe.

    Rac: “So you think time management is easier for me because I make time for Jason”

    Cam: No, it’s easier because you have more time to make for Jason.

    Rac: “Jason and I have a great relationship because he is my number 1 priority, not because I have oodles of spare time.”

    Cam: I’ve been where you are. You haven’t been where I am, yet. And again, the issue is not (and never was) what kind of relationship you have. It was that time management is easier for you because you have two in your family.

    Also, women should take the last names of their husbands, which you did. Good bobo. Jason is right 🙂

    March 24, 1:57am- I had to edit this comment to add that I am totally kidding. I didn’t want other feisty women to get worked up!


  8. Cam,

    That last comment was meant to be my last. That’s why it was rather short. But since we seem to be dragging this on…

    First of all, my first comment was just a friendly sincere suggestion. After all, you did ask for suggestions on how to manage your time better. If you didn’t want suggestions perhaps you shouldn’t have asked for them. And it didn’t have any hidden undertones. I simply meant what I said and no more. For some reason you took this as some sort of attack, which it was not. I’m sorry you somehow took it entirely wrong.

    Secondly, you think because you were once married with no kids you understand my life, what I spend time on, etc. etc. I’m sorry Cam, but that is an arrogant assumption. That is the equivalent of saying that you understand all married kidless couples because of your limited experience as one. All people have different trials, obligations, desires, motivations and whether they have kids or not, that is just a fraction of what they are juggling. I have a very different life than many of my friends that are married without kids-you can’t place everyone under some universal umbrella based off one aspect of their life.
    Do you assume because you were once a child that you know what the experience of being a child is like for every child out there and what every child spends their time on? I would say not.

    So you really shouldn’t assume you have any idea what it means to live my life.

    I have nothing but respect for parents who sincerely do their best to love and nurture their children. It truly requires a lot of sacrifice and commitment. I am not belittling them in any way.
    But there are many altruistic roles in this world, parent is just one of them. For example, I am a sister, a daughter, a granddaughter, an aunt, a wife, and a friend. Not to mention, we are all part of a great community of humanity. With the billions of people on the earth, there’s not much of a difference in leading a life centered around two people or leading a life centered around five. They are both small, self-centered lives. There are a lot of people out there that could use our assistance beyond our tiny sphere and that has nothing to do with being a parent or not.

    You also mention you have to spend time feeding you kids, etc. Well, contrary to whatever you’ve convinced yourself of, dinner doesn’t magically make itself even if you are cooking for two. It takes just as much prep time. Our house doesn’t seem to clean itself nor does our yard just take care of itself -and as I recall you have a maid and a nanny. So you have less obligations in those areas than most parents.

    I have friends with kids that both work full-time out of necessity and on top of that are tremendous, loving parents that spend lots of quality time with their children. They also manage to still take time to enjoy their own hobbies. So, like I said before, everyone is different and you can’t clump them all in one basket simply because they are parents, or student, or single, or whatever.

    So there you have it.

    And Cam, you really don’t want to join the self-righteous, self-important parenting club of Utah Valley do you? That attitude is a pet peeve of mine.

    I’m not attacking your life, I’m simply asking you not to belittle mine.

  9. Well, we certainly know how to get under each other’s skin. I’ll give us that much.

    If you feel I have belittled your life then I truly apologize. That was never my intent.

    The SRSIPCUV, huh? That’s a possible hit below the belt. I would defend myself, but… um… well. So… who are the other members?

    Anyway, It’s like I always say, “If your friends can’t piss you off, then they aren’t very good friends”.

    With much affection,

  10. No worries my friend.

    It’s certainly not the first time we have argued about something and I’m sure it won’t be the last.

    Apology accepted. Please accept mine as well.

    The Racinator

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