Before I settled on a Computer Science major, I tried mechanical engineering for a while.
(editor’s note: I dropped out of high school my senior year, got my GED, and finished my first quarter of classes at John C Calhoun Community College before my senior class graduated. I figured I was ahead of the curve.
It took me thirteen years, five majors, and three wives to get a Bachelor’s degree. I was not ahead of the curve – I missed the curve and hit the ditch.)
In my Materials Science class, I recall that they said that stress was the load placed on a material, and strain was the deformation of the material under stress. Materials can be classified by how much strain happens over how much stress – a stress/strain graph:
I’m sick today. I’ve been hit with a cold that has knocked me out.
In discussing this w/my triathlon training group today, I found myself typing the following post:
Interesting; this last eight months are probably off the charts, stress-wise; Mom dying, hearing from my boss that I needed to find another job, putting the house in Phoenix up for sale, the job search, staging the house, losing my job the day that the house sold, getting packed up and out of the house in about ten days, decided which offer to take, moving ourselves to Salt Lake, getting here and buying a house the first day, then two weeks on Isla Mujeres which should have been restful but we did five scuba dives and I wrecked the motor scooter (and had to get inside and outside stitches), starting the new job while living in a friend’s guest room, going to Pleasanton for five weeks of brain-melting tech training, while there starting triathlon training, coming back to Salt Lake to find out that the brain-melting was by no means over and picking up my training volume a lot.
Wow. Reading that, I’m surprised that I’m still alive – getting sick should be expected. And on top of all that, ski season started – what, have days off when I’m not skiing? Are you crazy?
Given my spiritual disciplines, I’m probably better equipped to deal with this sort of stuff than most folks – there’s the old story about the priest in St. Louis who had helped the local drunks start the first AA group in that city. On the day Pearl Harbor got hit, Father Ed Dowling ran into one of the newly sober drunks, and was surprised to find him sober, level-heading and talking more about AA than about Pearl Harbor.
When Father Ed asked him how he could roll with a punch like that, the AA said “Well, Father, we drunks have already had our own personal Pearl Harbors, so this one doesn’t shake us up that much.”
However, I have a suspicion that being able to roll with punches so easily also means that I get myself into punchy situations with less caution, because I am not that worried about them (most of them – job stuff has always freaked me out). The guy at the gym who can bench press 300 lbs doesn’t say “I’ll just do 250, and keep things easy” – no, he keeps trying to bench 305.
But this year, I may have overdone it – as though the above weightlifter tried to bench 350 and found himself pinned under the bar, with it squeezing the air out of his lungs, keeping him from calling for help.
This leaves me thinking that I should take it easy for a while. But how would I do that? Can’t quit work – Ethel likes eating and paying the bills. Can’t stop triathlon training – there’s a Half Ironman in four months. Can’t stop skiing – that wouldn’t make any sense; to pay a Park City mortgage for a New Jersey lifestyle would be just plain dumb.
And I am not about to cut back on meetings – heck, I probably need MORE meetings under these conditions.
So the only possibility is – I have to kill Lucy, the World’s Dumbest Cocker Spaniel.
Okay, maybe that won’t reduce my stress levels much. But it’s worth a try.