Work – Life Balance

Work life balance.

You hear about it a lot. Everybody wants to not only have a successful career, but also wants to have children, and live life a little bit.  I can see age 35 on the horizon, and I guess I’m starting to worry about time running out.  Although I know that I’m still young, – especially in the architect/real estate world – sometimes I start to worry.  They tell you your twenties go flying by – they aren’t lying.


I start this blog post in an attempt to put off some work I have to do – its Sunday, a day when many of my peers are spending time with their families, while I, on the other hand, and struggling with a high work load.  Everyone has it – and really, we all have limited time, high stress jobs, and all of that jazz.  I am not complaining, as my life really isn’t that different from anyone else’s.  People have just made different decisions, and I have ended up being unmarried with no kids in my mid-thirties – which, honestly, is how I saw myself when I was relatively young.  So, I’m OK there, in my mind.  Everyone has their own goals.

But as I sit here, struggling to start work, I can’t help but think about  how much time I have left and what I’m going to do with it. “Time I have left” sounds so morbid, especially at my age, but our lives are finite – and I’m not at the point of panic, but there is so much I want to do, and where am I?  Have I don’t what I want to?  Will I do what I want I want to do?  Will I contribute to this world what I would have liked to?

In September  2011 I went to a seminar with a lot of different speakers in Mexico City.  I might have mentioned him before in this blog – I’m not certain.  But even though his message was unpopular with those listening to it, and the Spanish to English translation made the speech horribly boring.  In fact, I just went through my notes from the event and I took down nothing from his speech, and I had to look up his name on the Internet.  However, two years later, I’m haunted by his words as I sit here on a Sunday getting myself in the mood to focus and do some “Good Work.”

His name is Francisco Gil Diaz, President for Mexico and Central America of Telefonia SA.   He said this over and over again: “You have to quit to pick.”

Francisco Gil Diz, via an article on Bloomberg

Francisco Gil Diaz, via an article on Bloomberg

It probably sounded better en Español, but the catch phrase was repeated over and over.  He also was brutally honest: “I am not the best father in the world…” he said a few times.  But his point was that each one of us has a finite amount of resource: at the true end of it, that resource is time: and we have to choose how we spend that resource.  He feels like he has spent it the right way, and that is his decision.

Really, he’s right and in his world his comfortable with that.  Have I made the right choices?  On the average, I think so.  I can honestly say that I am happy.  Am I totally happy with where I am financially?  Maybe I picked a bad industry as far as ROI on that one.  But people tell me I’m pretty good at it, and I get paid more than people my age in this biz, so OK, fine.  BY any regular old standard, I think I’ve passed some test or another.

But I’m running up on 35 – and how will I make my mark on the world?  What will my legacy be?  What will my family life turn out to be?  Have I figured out what’s really important?

I sure as hope I’m quitting the right things and picking the right things.

I read a book recently my Ann Lamott, called Bird By Bird.  Its about writing, but writing is her life – so it is also about life.  She referenced another writer who said this, but it rings true – all of this stuff around us – our bodies, our money, this planet – they’re all props.  And the end of our lives, we have to give them all back.  When you give them back, what’s left?

Should I publish such a self-serving monologue that is dripping with morbidity?

You bet!




Here we go…

I’m all in.  I think.

Tuesday was a big day for me.  I finally bought a “new” bike: Last year’s Cannondale Supersix 4, which I think means a bunch of cool things.  I think.  The guy I bought it from said he tried to ride a little, but couldn’t keep up with his friends… So he ditched the effort.  I’m happy to take it off his hands!

Not the coolest picture, but whatever.

Not the coolest picture, but whatever.

This week I registered for the Hotter’n Hell 100 ride in Wichita Falls in late August.  Typically the hottest days of the year in the hottest part of the country, this 100 mile ride is one of the biggest in the country, pulling in something like 14,000 cyclists.  Last year, however, it was 94 degrees the whole day.  There was a strong south wind which blew in our faces for 20 straight miles, but… the temperature wasn’t so bad.  However, I took a LONG time.  I spent 6 hours riding and 2 hours chatting it up at rest stops, for a grand total of just over 8 hours.

2012 HHH Route

Here was the route last year from my iPhone app… Apparently lots of complaints about it so they’re changing back.

This year, I want to do better.  What most people might consider an ally of mine is my biggest foe: I have a very high metabolism, even at 34.  Although its nice to be this age and still have abs, my burn rate is so high that it is hard to bike long distances in the heat without constant refueling.

I think this is the only picture I took last year.  Idiot.

I think this is the only picture I took last year. Idiot.

Or so I thought.

This year I am employing the help of some nutrition enthusiasts – a couple from my gym who is offering a this to interested people.  They’ve worked out a meal plan and are willing to tailor it to my “special needs” (I guess not many people in their mid thirties wouldn’t mind putting on some weight).  So, although I am starting some real training with my new toy, I’m also monitoring my diet and making adjustments.

I’ve been doing what I call “paleo lite” for a while.  I don’t like bread and dairy, so that wasn’t an issue.  I follow the diet mostly during the day, and go out as I want – I would say altogether I follow the diet an honest 70%.  So… the adjustments:

So far the biggest ones that I haven’t done yet are:

  1. Hydration.  For my level of output (crossfit 3 times a week, one long ride, one short): 1 oz. of water per pound of body weight.  Currently I’m between 160 and 165.   That.  Is.  A. Lot.
  2. Fat intake: I have been very low on fat intake, especially the last few years.  but naturally I never did eat a lot of fat.  As it turns out, that may be why I can be so damned moody when I don’t eat.  This adjustment may save lives – time will tell.
  3. Protein intake.  I thought I ate a lot of meat.  I didn’t really realize it, but I guess my output is sort of high.  Again, I will have a goal of one gram of protein per pound of body weight per day.  First off, I don’t even know how many grams of protein are in anything.  Second, holy crap.
Maybe that will do.  Via

Maybe that will do. Via

So here we go.  I have a set date, a lousy time to beat, and a full-on experiment on how diet might change my performance.  I’ll probably end up training more, too.  If I keep writing about this stuff, I’ll probably push myself hard enough to keep doing it… Maybe I won’t fall off of the wagon in September!  Wish me luck.