Posted by: GeekHiker | December 13, 2010

Crying Uncle

I give.  Yield.  Acquiesce.

I went back to work Thursday of last week.  I’d been keeping track of how things were in my absence (remote connections being the mixed blessing and curse that they are) and, realizing that the more I delayed my return, the deeper the hole I’d have to clamber out of, decided I had to go back.  Plus, office politics being the complex little thing they are, I couldn’t afford to offend the wrong people and miss the infamous holiday party.

And I thought, truthfully, that I was on the mend.  Until I got home Friday.

I spent all of Friday night on the couch.  I had severe chills and, despite practically laying on top of my 1500 watt heater, couldn’t get warm.  My temperature shot up to 102, my appetite vanished (my total meals after 12:00 on Friday was 2 7-UPs and two slices of buttered toast), and the evening was altogether unpleasant.  I crawled into bed at 10:00 or so and didn’t crawl back out until almost 12 hours later.

I felt better as the weekend went on, though the appetite loss is still around today (don’t worry, I’m still eating).  It’s rare that I get that sick, but whatever it was, it Knocked. Me. Out.

I think, after a year of maintaining a mental pace I probably haven’t done since college, I’m finally feeling a bit worn out.  Between the illness, the growing nightmare at work (which I cannot talk about here), and the continuing stress of trying to study for the second attempt at the second exam, with the stress of the holiday season thrown in for added flavoring, has finally stretched me a bit thin.

And I say that given that I’ve gotten to a point in my life where my holiday isn’t that personally stressful.  The Parentage and I have yielded to the insanity of Thanksgiving and no longer attempt that visit, preferring a lengthier Christmas visit instead.  I’ve done most of my shopping online, and have been able to avoid the malls and stores.  Yet, I think, simply being surrounded by the stress of everyone else raises one’s own stress level as well.

The upshot of all this?  Over the weekend, I came to a decision: I decided to push the second attempt at the exam until January.  Originally, I was going to shoot for this week, but with last week taken out by the illness, there was no way to prepare in time.  Next week is the holiday, then New Year’s on its heels and, well, you get the picture.

The drawback to that choice is that it’s going to make January just a bit more complex.  I signed up for a class that starts in early January for yet another exam (electing to take the classroom route rather than the self-teaching route on this one), and since I don’t want my knowledge for the re-take to dry up completely, it looks like early January will involve both starting a class AND attempting to bone-up for the second attempt at exam 2 simultaneously.

Yes, it is quite possible that I’ve lost my mind.  Thanks for asking.

* * *

So why, I wonder, can’t I shake the feeling that, while I know this is the right decision to make given the circumstances, this somehow feels like a personal failure?

Even given the fact that I tend to be my own worst critic, that doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Given everything that’s going on, pushing the re-take to next month is pretty much the only logical choice.

Still, there’s a part of me that feels like I should have been able to study for, and pass, two exams within one year.  While it’s true that it’s a culmination of factors that led me to this choice, I’ve still fallen short of my goal.

It’s not a feeling I’m fond of.

* * *

When I made the decision on Saturday (some time after my fever dipped below 100), I closed my study materials and put them to the side.  I then looked up at my shelf of unread books and took off the first thing that appealed to me: “Imperial San Francisco” by Gray Brechin.

Of course, now I have to read the whole book before January 1.

Which may not be much of a problem.  I haven’t even started chapter 1 yet, but given how much my interest has been piqued just by the first two prefaces (which can be read at the link above, if you’re interested) and the introduction, I’m thinking this is going to be a pretty good read… and, despite my feelings mentioned above, perhaps a needed break from technical material.

At least until January.



  1. You totally deserve a break. I think this is for the best. Enjoy your time off and then pick it up with renewed energy in January. Hope you’re feeling better!

  2. Failure, schmailure. I took for-freakin’-ever to finish my PhD (and tortured myself for not finishing by the deadline I had set at the outset), but hey, once I did it, then I, well, I did it.

    Yes, taking longer than you planned sucks. But that’s all: it doesn’t ruin anything, and it doesn’t make you a failure. Enjoy the book, enjoy the holidays.

    And, anyway, January is a good month in which to lose your mind.

  3. I’m taking a really really long time to finish my BA… Basically I burnt myself out two years ago, and ran on fumes and ‘F’s for a year… Not so awesom. So now I’m trying a new tack – going about it SLOWLY. I only have to pass another two papers 🙂

  4. If anyone needs a break, it’s you. Enjoy the read and recharge.

  5. I didn’t mention in the email I just sent (and … that’s not going to be the first sentence of everyone of my comments, promise) that you might have given me some of that bug virtually 🙂

  6. I think it is a smart decision to take the test later, after you’ve had some time to relax over the holiday, and are feeling better. You’re taking advantage of an opportunity that offers the results you are looking for. I suspect that’s why they offer the test many times a year, so you can plan when you are able to be your best at it.

    Just keep taking care of yourself and study when you are feeling good. You’ll be fine. 🙂

  7. Hey, if I said I wanted to do this (take the test) because I felt compelled even though I was grappling with feelings of failure and being overwhelmed, you’d support me and say awesome, trying is all you can do and if you fail that, it’s just practice! So I want to say that to you now. Thomas said “Genius is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration” — what you’re doing is hard work (especially as you’re fighting the flu as well, it sounds like) but I’ve much admiration for the fact that you’re trying. I just wish I could make you some chicken soup while you’re tucked away. Feel better soon.

  8. Taking longer than you planned sucks. Knowing that you need to take more time and actually doing so is smart. Chill. Read. Get Better.

  9. You and I share a brain. (and apparently get sick in tandem) I kept thinking that the only up side to being sick was that I got a lot of reading done. Feel better!

  10. Do you know anyone whose life has turned out exactly how they planned in the exact time they planned it? If so, let me know so I can punch them in the weiner. (see, you just saved yourself some pain!)

  11. Yikes, that was some EPIC illness! Sorry I am late to this — been cut off from WordPress (and pretty much all blogging sites, for that matter) by the friggin’ Internet Police. Glad to be home and glad that you are on the mend. Think of it as Universe’s way of forcing you to take a break. It’s good to push yourself, but given that you are studying on top of a full time job, I think it’s smart and totally reasonable to pace yourself. Enjoy the holidays as much as you can and recharge your batteries!

  12. MelHeth – I hope the energy comes back in January!

    AbsurdBeats – I think sometimes I find myself comparing my own plans, which I inevitably fall short on, to those who make plans and carry them out successfully. Maybe that’s just human nature…

    LeafProbably – Congrats! Hope the new papers go easily!

    Homer-Dog – Thanks, man. And it is a good book…

    Narami – No worries, my friend!

    MissMcCracken – I agree, though as January approaches and the knowledge is fleeting, I wonder if I haven’t waited too long…

    Spleeness – I appreciate the good words. 🙂

    Dingo – I suppose, though the older I get, taking the time I need becomes more and more of a challenge…

    Hebba – LOL, does that mean you can help me on the test?

    JENNeralizations – A few people, I’ll get you their numbers…

    SkyBlueStateOfMind – Darn universe, forcing me to take a break and all… 😉

  13. […] this article: Crying Uncle Posted in General Tags: appetite, california, christmas, knowledge, life, mind, random thoughts, […]

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