Refocus

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I want to credit this photo, but can't remember where I found it, which was on the interwebs somewhere a few years ago. This is how I've been feeling. That's a miserable little Robin.

It’s time to refocus. Why are we doing this again? This job is hard. It’s a lot of work, a lot of hours and we don’t get much time off. And even though we’re in this truck together, “together time” is actually pretty hard to come by. The majority of the time, one of us is driving while the other sleeps. Then we switch. Switch again. Repeat.

We work until we burnout, cry, feel angry and want to blame the world for our poor luck. We make plans to restart ourselves over our “weekend,” which rarely works. These “weekends” have been consisting of a Monday afternoon and a Tuesday morning, and that’s it. Our plans are made with just enough time to fit in laundry, grocery shopping, sleep, and if we’re really lucky, a movie and ice cream.

God forbid we make “real” plans. “This weekend, let’s just get a hotel for two nights and relax.” Or “this weekend, let’s hang out with friends.” Or, “this weekend, lets tell our family to drive three hours for a visit.” Then the truck breaks down. Or our back haul is a late pick-up with a Monday delivery in Milwaukee shortening our already short weekend. Our “real” plans are cancelled and we’re back to the basics – scramble to get laundry done. Shopping. Shower. Sleep – maybe. And back to work.

It might seem like we’re lucky because we get this special “home time” every week, but I’m not so sure. Normal over-the-road truckers usually get their 34-hour resets on the road somewhere. They park the truck at a truck stop, wash laundry, shop, relax in the truck with a movie, go for a walk, shower… in a place where that’s all they can do. Being home every “weekend” for us means do all that and try to see our family and friends on top of it all. Because we love them and miss them and we really, really want to. And then we just pray they all understand when we can’t. Or just don’t have the energy. Or choose to hibernate in an expensive hotel room by ourselves instead. And appear to be anti-social hermits.

Yeah, it’s a really tough job. Again I ask myself, “why are we doing this?”

Refocus, Robin. There are reasons.

• First of all, we are no longer living paycheck to paycheck. For the first time in our lives. This feels good.

• We are paying off our large amounts of credit card and student loan debt the responsible way. By working our butts off to pay back what we spent before we had the money to spend what we spent. (We take a lot of pride in this and have learned a huge lesson in all of it… which is a whole other subject.)

• It’s an adventure. (I think this is my favorite reason.)

• We might not be “together” every moment, feet on the dash singing road-trip songs in unison while flying down the road in the sunshine blaring the air horn at all the passing kids pumping their arm at us (although, we will pull the air horn when it’s safe to do so). But we are together. We’re working as a team, and we make a damn fine team, might I add.

• The scenery. I love this scenery. This “office” window is pretty much the coolest and beats out a cubicle wall every day of the week.

• We’re mobile. We’re moving. Literally – and more importantly, figuratively – forward.

• We’re going somewhere. Besides to California to deliver palettes of paper. We’ve got a million plans. Fun plans. Some we’ll do, some we won’t, but we’re working towards bigger things. (Maybe this is my favorite reason.)

It’s so incredibly hard. I constantly try to stay positive and focus on the good times and fun parts, and usually I succeed. But sometimes, like now, I fail and wallow in comfortable negativity. To be honest – damn. It’s difficult to keep doing this some days. Weeks. I like to think that I’m a pretty mentally-tough chick, and I guess that’s a good thing, because I have to be out here.

So, as burnout chases us down the road, gains on us at light speed, we run. We trip. We fall. We slowly get back up with tears in our eyes, scraped knees, bruises and a splitting headache, then brush ourselves off, find a way to take a damned vacation more than a half day, and hit the road again until we can do it all over again.

Refocus.

We’re going somewhere.

Enjoy the good parts, no matter how insignificant they seem, or how short-lived they are, and keep brushing off the crap and moving foward.

Sigh. Right now we could just use a couple of weeks to run smoothly to keep us from going insane.

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Or I could find a cheap teddy bear and rip its fuzzy little head off. That might work, too.


Tonight I love humor. ‘Cause sometimes that’s all ya’ got. Onward.

Thanks for reading and being a part of my journey!

With love,
Toots Magoots
(Robin Grapa)

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10 thoughts on “Refocus

  1. Hey Kid, Refocus!! Keep your chin up, we are all very proud of you two for your dedication to work and life itself. We all try to find those little ways to enjoy the little time we do have to ourselves, even with the sometimes crazy schedule you carry, hopefully you can squeeze in a little Robin time, hey the Robin on the branch, always two sides to every story, looks to me like it just kicked the shit out of a crow for trying to steal it’s eggs and is saying ” take that you S.O.B.” Love You see ya soon. — Pappy —

  2. This is a perfect post for life. You’ve got this just like on trail when you had a tough day. This is just a speed bump, time to analyze and evaluate. Much better than doing just because. Can you plan trips home monthly instead of weekly? When I traveled for work I found it much less stressful to take time where I was rather than spend my limited time trying to get home. Your family and friends will understand. Chin up and foot on the pedal!

    • Actually, last year we asked to just stay out for longer periods so we wouldn’t ways be making plans for the short “at home” time. But with the run we’re on right now that’s tough because they need us back there on Tuesday nights for a regular pick up. We could do little stuff in between but so many things could go wrong and make us late for our Tuesday pick up. I think we need to stop making plans for our “weekends” and just take them as they come. I think that will help.

  3. I know exactly what you’re going through. My husband and I went through some big upheaval a few years ago and are still dealing with some fallout. 6 years ago we decided that he needed to switch careers. We first endured three years of nursing school where he was completely unemployed. Now he’s working as a nurse but couldn’t find a job in our small town, so he drives 60 miles to work. He’s also working nights, so our schedules don’t jive. When he’s home, he’s sleeping while I’m up. It sucks. But we’re better off than ever before. Like you, we’re finally not living paycheck to paycheck. I have to have faith that with time things will only get better. Hang in there. My motto is “nothing lasts forever and it could always be worse. “

  4. Hang tough! No matter what you do for a living, the office grinds you down sometimes. Having a plan and working as a team gets you through one way or the other.

  5. Pingback: The mini mental breakdown | So Many Miles

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