Resuming Normal Life

A staircase always takes you up.

A staircase always takes you up.

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged – a long while actually.

Ever since I flew back into LAX from Germany, life has just been a little bit different. Perhaps what actually happened is that I’ve changed.

I can’t exactly pin a finger on what changed or why it changed, but something did. It’s hard to remain the same after spending 23-days on a different continent. There were new customs, brand-new experiences, new friends, and time to forget about the mad dash I am on to make my mark.

I haven’t forgotten the European oddities I experienced. If you didn’t use a mixed-sex bathroom where a girl came out of a stall as you stood at a urinal, then there was a woman janitor cleaning the bathroom as you were indisposed. The first time, I backed out of the bathroom to triple-check the figure stamped on the door.

Or there was a two-lane highway that became a one-lane road at the bridge. It was the responsibility of the most expensive car (or stupidest driver) to force his way across as the the oncoming traffic screeched to a halt. Being on the roads in Europe was never dull. If you became used to the excessive speeds, then the explicit music blaring through the radio or the billboards showing nudity might entertain you.

But after 23-days, I was ready to come home. I wasn’t homesick. No, that would be admitting to a heart. I was bored. I’m used to working and being with my friends instead of traveling around Europe taking in touristy landmarks and exotic sights. I’d like to consider myself a man of simple tastes, however it may be that my stinginess keeps me from enjoying lavish spending in foreign lands.

When I finally landed in LAX at 2am, after 20+ hrs of travel, I was content. My blue sports car rolled up and after a month of buses and trains, it was exhilarating to control my own driving machine. I was also ready to go to work the next day.  Not working for a month wasn’t as awesome as I’d thought it would be. I missed the stress of work and the fun of working with my boss.

And so I’ve been working. On my return, my boss took me out to lunch to tell me of my pay raise and that he had put me on salary.  He surprised me by giving me another huge pay increase this year, and since then I’ve been working 60-hr work weeks. I also returned to an intern my boss had hired for the summer. While I was vacationing, I wondered how much trouble I’d have training her and whether the whole intern idea would backfire on me.

Instead I found out that my boss and her had done fairly well in my absence. It was almost frightening. My boss was never supposed to learn how to exist without me, and here was this intern working hard and quickly learning. It was no longer just a matter of returning to work and trying to catch up, now I also had to prove to my boss (and myself) that I could be more efficient and productive with an assistant.

That has been my life these past few weeks – working hard and long. I’ve also been trying to process all of the things I saw and did in Europe. Sometimes it seems unreal that I actually went on my dream vacation. Life here in sunny SoCal has resumed as if it had only been on pause while I was gone.

What I am hoping is that my vacation has helped me to change for the better. A constant state of evolution is necessary for success. I’m afraid that I’ll find myself stuck in a rut or plateauing when there remains so much room for growth and betterment. Ambition only gets you so far, because the minute you stop learning and growing, others will pass you by.

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