Friday, November 07, 2014

It's not you, it's me

Famous breakup sessions often begin with those words.  "It's not you, it's me.   I mean, it's not that I don't like, LIKE you, but you know, I don't like, want to be around know?"

Work, I'm kind of talking about you.

In one view, I'm kind of in love with the work I'm doing.  I'm planning a bike share system for my city, Philadelphia, and I'm doing a great job at it.  From the specifics of where each station will go, to the graphics on the bikes, to the cost of the rides, to the way that we present the program to the public, I'm in it.  That's awesome.  So awesome in fact that I end up putting a lot of myself into the work (it's bikes plus city planning, how could I NOT).  I care a whole lot about the project and I want it to succeed.  I want to do my absolute best every day, because I think that what I'm doing is going to change the face of the city, and to do so for the better.  Again, that's awesome.

Well actually, I want to do better than my best, I want to do the best that anyone has ever done.  I don't want to make a mistake, I don't want to forget anything, I don't want to leave anyone unconvinced or unsatisfied or unanswered.  And there's your problem, folks.

And that's why it's not you, it's me.

Best is a superlative, and based on my recollection of middle school english class, it is impossible to more best, more perfect, or more invincible.  My brain has known that since I was 14, but for some reason my heart and guts are still not quite on board.  For whatever reason, the seemingly disorganized, lackadaisical Ritz clan has got quite a bit of drive in it.  Something or other is flogging me pretty hard from inside to make sure that I keep up, that I don't let the other kids get ahead of me. It doesn't really kick in around the house (who cares who the best dishwasher is) and it doesn't really make much of a difference to me in my wallet (so what if I make a lot of money, you can't take it with you) but it REALLY makes a difference to me when we're talking about that core concept of Aaron = awesome bike guy.

So this has been a learning year for me.  Thankfully, most years have been learning years.  I don't think I've gotten any dumber over each of the last 35 orbits of our planet around its star, but 2014 will stand out for a while as the time when I figured out how to work on something to my utmost.  With the possible exception of March, every month for the past 12, I have worked harder than the last.  I have spent more time, and psychic energy on the program, and I've survived it all.  I can't honestly say that I have enjoyed it, but given my natural propensity to screw off, procrastinate and winge, it's kind of a jolt to look at the amount of things we've accomplished in the past year.  Last November, I'd just put the finishing touches on the RFP that set us down this road.  I'm now in it to my eyeballs, and working my ass off, and wondering where the year went.

It certainly didn't end up in blog posts.  Most of them would have been something like, "So fucking busy, can't write much" and so they just haven't existed.  But Jennifer forwarded me something that she dug up from the japan years that reminded me how valuable the blog has been for me in recording some key points in my life.  I will make amends with the blog, I will post more, and more often.  Hopefully it will be more thoughtful than the weenie posts that have dominated this forum of late.  It's crazy to think that an online journal, readily accessible to everyone, would feel somewhat private, but there you have it.  This blog is my diary, as it exists.  I'll try to make it worth reading.

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