I just got back from walking in the local city park. It has been a stressful week. Not from the actual job, but the dynamics of having the rest of the guys here. More on that later.
Yesterday I needed to get in touch with what is 'me' apart from this job. This is really difficult when there are only 3 cars for 11 of us. So, I got the keys yesterday afternoon and found the park. Just getting behind the wheel of the Jeep, alone in the car, going someplace that only I wanted to go, I felt my entire body language changing, my whole sense of myself stepping back out from wherever it went for the previous 2 weeks. It was good to get out where there are trees and sunshine. And solitude. I walked for awhile, then I laid back on a bench in the sun and soaked up the energy. I walked some more. And I reconnected with what this whole thing is about. The job is a temporary thing. No matter how long 'temporary' ends up being, a few weeks, months, years, even decades, it is temporary. It is not the main event.
This morning I got up early. I had gotten the keys again last night. After breakfast at the hotel I went back to the park. It was a bit foggy and cool, and it felt great to be outside again. I walked for about an hour, round the trail 2 or 3 times, just lost in thought. Those thoughts were about hiking, not about this job. It was good to get away.
I'm reassured that I am a hiker. Not because I have hiked a small city park 2 days in a row. Because when I needed to get back to myself, it was walking in a woods that I reached for. Everything else will work itself out. It really is the woods and the hike that I want and need. I headed there, not the mall for more gear, when I was stressed. It is good to know that. This is something that no one else's judgment of my abilities can take away. I may not be 'cool' or fit in anywhere else with other people, but the woods is mine.
As for the week on the job... It went ok. But, the other guys don't like me. Which is ok with me. One of them, unfortunately the social leader, makes non-stop 'jokes' that are insulting and demeaning to everyone and everything around him. He laughs that 'I think we hurt George's feeling when we (whatever)' hahahaha. When I wasn't laughing at breakfast at his insults of all the team members who weren't there, he actually laughed and said 'if you can't laugh at this, you are a flaming homo', hahaha, which kinda shows the level of his humor. I have pissed him off. He doesn't like me. So, since he wants to consolidate his followers to show his influence, I've been cut off socially. This is actually ok with me. Doug, the IT guy, plays the part of Switzerland, and I'm good with that. I have no reason to force any issue with the other guy. I figure the ones who are usually the brunt of this guys insulting 'jokes' are getting a chance to be part of the gang this time, so it's all good. Every government knows that hatred and prejudice are strong binding emotions that are easily exploited. In my own small way I'm creating team unity. :)
I'm understanding why a lot of the IT guys don't hang out with the teams but instead just play WOW or find other things to do in their rooms in the evenings. This is what I'll do for whatever fieldings I end up doing. I need to bring my trappings of what and who I am to sustain me for 3 weeks outside my usual world. Stepping outside of the normal ruts is good, but I've found that I need at least a bit of a tether to keep myself reminded just what my reality is.
This journal works for me in ways that aren't obvious. As I'm walking I'm writing journal entries. When I step outside at work and bum a cigarette (which I do when I'm stressed, and yes, I've been smoking this fielding), while I smoke I'm writing a journal entry in my head. The vast majority of these never see these pages. Just having someplace to 'talk' to in my head (besides the usual voice there) helps me organize myself. Those of you who leave comments (/me waves at Dave...) help me have a sense of friends hanging around me while I'm pacing, smoking, and composing the mental journals. Thank you. And, those who read but don't comment, thank you, too.