The problem with being Superman is that they never expect you to take off the cape.
I’ve had this problem for a long time. In moments of clarity, which seem fewer and further between these days, I do understand that I’m very good at what I do. But that leads to doing things that are borderline manic. When you prove that you can take on the toughest challenges and succeed, it’s natural for you to want to pursue greater challenges. It’s also natural for those who rely on you to ask for more and more, simply because they know you can handle it.
That’s all fine and good. That’s normal, in my opinion. I’m not the type to sit back and do what I’ve done before. I want to find my limits. I want to be pushing the envelopes. Maybe that’s the crux of my frustration with my career over the past disasterous few years: Because of the turnover and changes I’ve had, I’ve found myself having to start over far too many times.
The problem, however, is when you do need a break. Even the most ambitious person needs to take a deep breath and step back from the precipice of excellence every once in a while. But that surprises a lot of people. They’re not used to seeing Superman-as-Clark Kent. They’re used to seeing Superman as Superman, and Clark Kent as Clark Kent, and never making the connection between the two. So when they ask Superman to go save those people in that burning building, and he says, “No,” they’re all shocked and surprised. “Why aren’t you wearing your cape?”
That’s probably why I worked the day after Thanksgiving: I’d let them become accustomed to me wearing the cape, and it was assumed I’d wear that cape for the duration of the project. To not do so would have meant missing deadlines. And deadlines are not something I miss. But what I do miss is being able to spend a day with my (small) family. It’s been a bad year, emotionally, physically, and professionally, and having a sunny fall Friday to spend with them can not be measured in terms of money made and projects completed. But hey, there’s always next year. Until there’s not.
It’s also probably why I’ve been up late, to the tune of 2:00 a.m., after everyone else had gone to bed, to do this:
Even though I promised I’d fail, a last week effort ruined that. So I failed at failing, I suppose. But I kind of feel like I made the right choice, even if it meant being tired for a few days. Because there’s not always next year.