So now I realize that my wayward life has become a series PROJECTS.
I use the word “project” in the baseball sense. Major League teams are eager to sign talented young players who are promising “prospects.” Note the difference between a prospect and a project.
A “prospect” has a real chance to make it in the Major Leagues, after a year or two in the minors. Baseball scouts have high expectations for a prospect. He probably gets a bonus simply for signing a contract. Hence, the term, “bonus baby.” Millions, sometimes, for raw talent.
A “project,” on the other hand, is a young player who appears to possibly have the makings of a Major Leaguer. But the wise old men of baseball understand that this player needs a lot of coaching, and maybe years of seasoning in the minors. Developing this rookie into a Major Leaguer is a project for the long term. The outcome is by no means certain.
My projects are never going to the Major Leagues, but they will require perseverance to reach humble goals. I’ve already mentioned the first two projects:
- My Austerity Project. The first part of this project is simply keeping a record of how much money I spend every day, with a goal of bringing my budget under control. The record keeping is easy enough, and I’m sticking with it every day. The frequency of unbudgeted expenses, however, is discouraging. The $328.33 for routine 50,000-mile maintenance on my car this past week, for example. This project is going to be like pushing a rock up a hill every day.
- My Fitness Project. I mentioned that I got a good deal on a one-year gym membership. So far, I’ve been using the gym every third day, sometimes walking on one of the in-between days. I’d like to ratchet up the Fitness Project to every other day at the gym. Even better would be working out almost every day. Just showing up is clearly 80 percent of the Fitness Project. So far, so good.
In addition to Austerity and Fitness, the care and organization of my small and disorderly living space has achieved the status of full-fledged project. My Apartment Project. More on this to come soon, with “before” pictures.
And now I see that the Holiday Project is upon us again. This is primarily a Survival Project. The Holiday Project will make all the other projects more challenging. Normal life resumes on Jan. 2, 2011.
After the holidays looms My Job Project. Talk about a humble project! It’s weighing on my mind a little. But not too much, thanks to Social Security.
I feel a rant coming on soon about politicians who want to solve the national budget and debt crisis by killing Social Security. They want to throw aging workers under the bus. Or put us on an iceberg and let us drift out to sea.
Excuse me, but I’ve been paying taxes into Social Security since I went to work at McDonalds at age 16. Social Security is not like welfare, or even food stamps. My Social Security is b0ught and paid for. I own it. It belongs to me. Do I make myself clear?
As you can see, I’m dealing with a full load of projects here. And I haven’t even mentioned the Laundry Project, which has reached the top of the priority list for tomorrow, or the Blogging Project, the one that keeps me typing until the middle of the night.
If it weren’t for the Blogging Project, consisting of three different blogs (which is two blogs too many), I’d have more time to focus on the important projects.
— John Hayden
- “AARP Poll: Social Security Reliability a Key Issue” and related posts (pdamerica.org)
- GAO: Raising retirement age will hurt the poor (dailykos.com)
- A Proposal to Reform Social Security (nytimes.com)
Overwhelming! Years ago, my boss noticed that I was overwhelmed by my workload as a managing editor. He recommended the “Swiss cheese method.” When faced with a BIG project, I should not think about the whole daunting thing. That was a recipe for surrender. Rather, he advised, identify one small part of the project and get that part done. Then move on to another small part. Pretty soon, the big, overwhelming project would be full of holes, like a slice of Swiss cheese.
The Swiss cheese method has helped me cope for many years.
Or as I always say, “Break it down into chunks.”
Treat the gym like eating or sleeping. Not optional. And don’t let yourself succumb to the notion that trudging on a treadmill is fitness training. Do stuff that makes you a little dizzy.
Not so many years ago, I used to achieve dizziness by way of fast, turning polkas and waltzes, and especially the “swing your partner” in Contra dancing. (those dances can be very aerobic) What do you recommend to make me dizzy at the gym?