Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pictures of You

(With all apologies to The Cure)

ChrisWebSmallI’ve said many times that everyone has an inner narcissist. Some of us just don’t hide it as well as others. And we start blogs and think that people really, really want to read about what we’ve been up to in life. We also start up Facebook and Twitter accounts. And then when we start running we create RunKeeper and Fitocracy accounts to brag about our accomplishments. And as much as we don’t necessarily like to admit it, we love having our picture taken.

Or, more specifically, we like cool pictures taken of us. If I have any apprehension when it comes to people taking my picture it’s that I’m afraid it might not come out very well. That, and if I was to be completely honest, I don’t like my teeth.

But when a good photo of me is taken I have a tendency to just fall in love with it. Especially if there’s a good story behind it.

DSC_0148For example, there’s this shot of me holding a baby. Specifically, the youngest daughter of my friend Sarah. Just in case you’re new here, I don’t deal with babies really well. Actually, that’s not completely true. If they’re being cute, and playful, and being held by someone else, I’m just fine with babies. But if either of the first two aren’t true then I’m not all interested, and if the last part isn’t true, well, I’m completely lost. In any event, Sarah’s youngest, Zoey, took a liking to me and specifically my hat. And as long as Sarah was holding her, everything was just fine.

And then that suddenly changed. Sarah decided it was time for me to hold Zoey. And I held her in about the same fashion as John Cusack in Grosse Point Blank, only without the banter – I trended more towards the “what do I do with this” side. And early on, Zoey smiled at me much in the same fashion as the movie clip. And then Zoey decided she was over it, and bawled her poor little head off. My good friend Skye decided this was clearly a photo-op, and took pictures. Unfortunately we discovered after I handed Zoey back to Sarah that none of them came out.

What to do? Well – reconfigure the camera and then recreate the scene. Of course recreating the scene required Sarah to offer up her youngest daughter to be traumatized one more time. Sarah agreed to this a bit too quickly for CPS I’m certain, but anything for a good photo-op, right?

293516_1993910966883_1216703898_31759395_276897710_nOr this one taken recently at a good friend’s wedding. My brother Abram’s date wanted to take a picture of him, Karin and me all dressed up, but her camera was set to only take black & white pictures and she didn’t know how to change it. No worries, let’s just take the shot and see what happens. Well – what happened is I looked like the don, Karin the dame and Abram my consigliore. Awesome shot. And yes, I did order a hit later that day.

268619_10150269868152421_525527420_7530113_2011206_nOr the replacement for my old cheerleader picture. I loved the original because I really wasn’t going to have it taken but was encouraged by everyone I was with. I loved that shot, but now that I’m down 40 pounds I didn’t like seeing how big I was any longer. I knew I needed a new cheerleader picture, as did my friend Susan. When the opportunity struck after we did an 8K in Seattle, she insisted I do it. I’m very happy I did.

Great shots all of them. Great stories behind them all. And, of course, it gives me the ability to feed my inner narcissist, lest it starve.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Up In The Air

Tonight, most people will be welcomed home by jumping dogs and squealing kids. Their spouses will ask about their day and tonight they'll sleep. The stars will wheel forth from their daytime hiding places. And one of those lights, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip, passing over, blessing them.

  - Up in the Air

One of the main reasons I have a blog (even if I don’t post all that frequently at the moment) is it does give me the ability to collect my thoughts. While it’s been a while since I’ve actually posted, I assure you I’ve written dozens of blog posts in my head. Trying to formulate one’s thoughts in such a way to convey a message is a great way to determine how you truly feel about something. This one I need to actually write out.

The last few months have been rather interesting for me. For the last year, maybe a bit under, I’ve been working on trying to revamp both myself and my image. The running wasn’t the first step in that process, but it certainly has encouraged that process. “Hey – if I can run a half marathon, why can’t I improve my professional life as well?”

So I started up a professional blog, and have been posting about twice a month there. I tweet. I got headshots done. I became more careful about what I posted to Facebook. I was very conscious of what I was doing, where I was doing it, and with whom I was doing it.

And I’d started to see a few results from it.

I landed a couple of really big consulting gigs. And at the prompting of the person in charge of the hiring, I applied for a very cool job at a very large organization.

The process for both of those stretched on for quite a few months. And for those few months, my life was extremely busy, hectic, and it looked by the end of it my life was going to be very different in some way shape or form. I was going to be home more often. We were possibly going to relocate. Things were going to change.

And as it turns out, I really am Ryan Bingham in Up in the Air. If you haven’t seen the movie, Ryan’s character sees a lot of his life change in a short period of time, becomes convinced that he’s finally going to be settling down and getting off the road, only to find himself back at square one all over again.

Ya see….

The contracting gig is over, and the client and I mutually agreed that we’d be best going our separate directions – they needed someone who could dedicate more time on a moment’s notice, I needed someone who could allow me to plan things in advance.

The job possibility never came close to materializing. After working with a good number of people, including the person doing the hiring, I didn’t get an interview.

Of the two, the second one stings. The first one was very enlightening, and I have to say having seen the grass on the consulting side of things it’s not nearly as green as I had hoped. But the second one... After all that, I didn’t even get an interview to validate my efforts. That hurts.

I’ve mentioned many times in the past that I don’t believe in regrets; if you regret something then you don’t like where you are at the present. So the question really is, do you like where you presently are.

And that’s what I’m still not sure about. In many ways, I feel like I’m being left behind. I’m damn good at what I do, and I do enjoy my job. My enjoyment with the travel ebbs and flows, but for the most part I do enjoy it.

But I’ve seen my friends and peers around me succeed. Many of them have moved on to bigger and better things. And it’s as if I’m the last one in the room with the instructions to turn off the lights when I’m done.

I feel like there’s so much more I could be doing, should be doing. I can’t figure out if this is my calling in life and that this is where I should be. I can’t figure out what it is I want to be when I grow up, or if I’ve already grown up and should just stay here.

And as of right now, if there is something greater, I can’t figure out how to get there.

In the meantime, one of those lights in the night sky, slightly brighter than the rest, will be my wingtip.