Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Life, Work, and JuJitsu

Once again, I suck at blogging. But hey.. This is more for me than for you. So a snippet into my brain... it can be a scary place!!

Life. I'm approaching 41 and I still don't know what I want to  be when I grow up. Why do we even have to grow up at all?! But there has to be more to life than punching a time-card in an unfulfilling job, just to make money to buy gas to get to said get home too tired to do anything but eat, sleep and go back to work.

Which brings me to work.. I am a couple months into my year-long career break (sabbatical) from "The Day Job" to try to make a go at something that makes me happy - private tutoring. The state of public education is a bit depressing, and the stress they put on teachers soon bleeds many dry of any joy they had for their subject. The one to one stuff, however, actually agrees with me. Every kid is different, they all learn differently, and they all need different approaches. It's totally awesome to sit there and see the light come on! It was a HUGE decision to make, and I'm eating thanks to my savings account. I figure at the end of the 12-months I'll either have made it work as a full-time job, or I'll go back to "The Day Job"  broke. Life is for living!

The cool thing about starting a private tutoring business from scratch is that I have a LOT of free time.  Sure I have to do my marketing... keep an eye on Facebook, and get ads ready for print... and the dreaded flyering... but while school is in session I don't have to "go to work", and with limited students my prep time isn't too bad.  I've been doing some form of martial arts, mostly JuJitsu, for over 20 years (eek!).  I've seen different styles, different formats, and the structure of different organizations.  For a while now the question "when are you grading?" has been more and more prevalent in my Traditional JuJitsu club. It's been a while. I've been plagued with injuries, health issues, and other crap. The evening classes have recently presented a problem with work... I have been trying to NOT schedule students that would interfere with training. It hasn't been an issue yet, but I have to keep my evenings free... and that means no training.

I stopped to think.. is that a bad thing? I don't like the "grading" pressure, and the thought of paying a lot of money, plus doing an exhausting mock-grading as well as the real one is daunting.  I'm too old for some young git on a power trip to not pay attention to my size/weight/injuries and pummel me. And I really don't gel with the idea of putting on boxing gloves to JuJitsu.  Ha! How do I do a wrist lock with those buggers on?!

On the plus-side, I have recently started a Brazilian JiuJitsu club that has AFTERNOON CLASSES!  I can go work out, train, and have a lunchtime. Before I need to be presentable for students, and after morning prep work.  Bonus!

I don't like stopping my trad jujitsu for now, but I'm happy to be in a "no pressure" situation. The professor of my BJJ club was talking about belts. It rang true with what one of my favorite senseis from the US said... belts are meaningless. They represent time and effort. They tell your coach/sensei what you should know, and what you need to work on. Although I understand the concept, I don't like formalized belt tests..either I am there or I am not. My performance on ONE day shouldn't matter. We screw up, we make mistakes..we are human! And I do this for FUN. My BJJ club doesn't have formal gradings..when you are ready, you are promoted. Done. Taking too much pride in a black belt defeats the purpose. It's not about the color, it's about what you have learned.

What the heck does this all mean? Other than the random ramblings of my mind... Do what you like. If you aren't having fun, don't do it. Take risks, take chances... you only have one life. It's okay to move on from something you've done for years...onto something else. We change and grow. And, if you put in time and effort, you'll get rewarded for it.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Feelin' Groovy

Perhaps not exactly groovy, but an enforced slow-down has given me time to think. After 7 days filming as an extra on The Fall, I ended up with a cold on top of a cold. After a few days it was getting worse.. off to the doctor.. 10 more days off work, rest, meds... Great! Except I wasn't getting better. The fatigue was starting to annoy me. I wasn't house-bound, but I needed a nap to get through JuJitsu. Trying to do a "normal" day of activity had me exhausted for 2 days. Back to the doc.. more sinus meds, more antibiotics, blood pressure meds... and more time off work! And time to think.

I don't mind my job, really. But it isn't what inspires me. I enjoy my little sideline job... tutoring. Before "the divorce", it is what I wanted to do.. make it a business. So, I got to thinking..why not? There are companies out there that offer free advice and help to start-ups. I have a savings account. I ENJOY private tutoring... it's challenging, mentally engaging, and nothing beats the feeling of a kid actually understanding something and saying "thank you!"

A business plan is in the works, as well as all the other stuff... insurance quotes and tax information, websites and advertising plans. The scary part? Taking the leap. Can I do it? I was hesitant...

But I had all the time in the world to think. I talked to people, went to jujitsu to clear my head, and got a lot of sleep. And then a few things happened. I ended up losing a good friend over a very dumb, and very solvable problem. No room for discussion. It left me baffled. Shortly thereafter I watched another friend go through some nasty stuff... and saw him keep his head high and carry on.  Did I want to be the person who was somehow meaningless, or did I want to go out on a limb and try to make something of my life, eventhough it may not work?

So I am going to go for it. I can ask for a career break/sabbatical at work... one of the justifiable reasons is to start a business. I hope they say yes. Is it scary? Damned straight. But I'd regret not trying..not giving my all to make it work.

I called the doctor today. My blood tests are clear, and I have a referral in to the ENT. I've been moving too fast, doing too much. I need to make the morning last and focus on what is important. And if it all goes tits-up? I start again. I did it before, and I can do it again. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Risks, happiness, and money!

After a very busy few months, I finally have some (enforced) spare time! I was moved *again* at work back in November, and had to readjust to new commute times, new people, and more training! Not bad, but takes time. Then there has been a bit of extras work (love it!), and JuJitsu, and working on costumes... BUSY!

Lingering cough and sinus congestion for 4 months finally got me into the doctor. It seems as if my old surgery may need to be redone, but in the meantime I stay congested enough to pick up every virus going. So I never get better! New meds, and the rest of the month off work to see if I can shake it and get my blood pressure down. I'm fast approaching needing drugs for that, too! Yuck!

So.. I have had a little time to think. For years I have wanted to start a private tutoring business properly. However, I have not yet been able to figure out the balance between that and a full time job, and a bit of time to *live* life. Do I try to cram in tutoring in the evenings, and hope I have enough time for preparation and all the needed marketing? Do I try to ask for reduced hours at work to get the ball rolling? Or.. do I jump and "go for it" 100%?

Tough questions. Money is a necessary evil. I have bills to pay! Is it better to stay in a job simply to pay the bills? Is it worth the risk to get out there and try to do something you enjoy that has potential to also pay the bills? Where IS that balance between work and happiness?

A lot to think about!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Giving Back

First off.. it's Paddy, not Patty.  Now that this is out of the way..

I belong to several clubs and organization. Each one has fees and costs associated with membership. JuJitsu, for example: I pay insurance every year, buy my own uniforms, weapons, and pay a mat fee each night. Not to mention the grading fees.

There is one private club that has no fees, yet we reap serious benefits from the club. Sure, we buy all our cool tees, and we spend a lot of our own money on stuff we use in the club. However, we do not pay for our public liability insurance, or anything the club provides us at events. And this stuff costs LOADS. So.. how to help? We can pay a membership fee! And the one suggessted was less than any other club I belong to. It would basically pay for insurance and the member website.

And I am utterly disappointed and disgusted by the people who are claiming that this fee is too expensive (£2 per month), and even have hinted that the money is being pocketed by the club staff! This isn't a public organization, it is a voluntary private members club. Every time a member goes to a club event, they are covered by insurance. They find out about the events on the website, yet they think that they shouldn't have to help the club function, that their own personal time is plenty, and the staff should continue to foot the bill. Staff who invest more time and money than the members.

This attitude makes me sick. If the bills aren't paid, there is no club. The cires of "oh... people may not join now, or people may quit!" cry of some twisted concept of entitlement. Want to join a club, pay the fees. Simple. Can't afford them? Talk to the staff about it... they are there to help! Don't *want* to pay? Don't join!

People always want something for nothing. And even in a club set up to do chairty, people want others to pay. Is that giving back, or being greedy?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Working for "The Man"

And by that I mean the g-man. Government. Now, officially I am a "public servant" as my place of business is only funded by the government in part. A big part. So we follow all the civil service rules and stuff.. same union, pay, holidays... yadda yadda yadda. It also means the recent cutbacks have totally screwed us over.

Back story : part of my job requires I work outside. Most of the areas aren't very sheltered. We are required to wear steel-toed boots, which are supplied in the format of wellies and ankle-high leather work boots. We can get waterproofs, fluffy padded vests, and cozy fleece-lined jackets.  But pretty much, that's it. So in winter you throw on thermals, and loads of warm socks. Gloves.. that's tough as I have to write and handle blood vials. A thin pair of knit gloves will fit under the latex gloves...

Now, normally wearing 3 pairs of socks and a pair of gloves would be okay. I mean, it doesn't get THAT much below freezing here. Unless you have Reynaud's. It's never really bothered me before.. a few white toes, and some mildly itchy chilblains. Until 2 weeks ago. After working outside for half an hour my hands were in agony... my toes were sore.. But my job is stationary mostly.. I can't really write well while jumping up and down to get some much-needed circulation in my toes.  But I carried on, as there was nothing else to be done.

I got home to find some really bad chilblains on my toes... it hurt to wear shoes! Last week My putside work lasted less than 2 hours, and I figured keeping my boots warm would help. Nope.. after an hour my toes were in agony, along with my hands. But there are no insulated work boots on offer at work.. no warm gloves.

Off to the doctor.. got some medication (calcium channel blockers) and a note to get suitable gear from work.  I expected to get sent to Occupational Health for them to decide what I needed. Nope.. I was told the money was too tight, but there may be some in petty cash and to submit quotes myself for what *I* thought suitable! Hell.. I grew up in Florida. My time spent in the freezing cold was always active.. not standing around taking notes. Whaaaa?!  So I got some quotes for some socks and gloves reccommended for Reynaud's.. and the only pair of lined winter safety boots in the catalogues that could be gotten in my size...

Now as much as i don't mind buying the socks and gloves and getting reimbursed.. I'm not shelling out for boots.. And now work is wondering how long all this will take as there is a lot of work to be done outside?! How the hell do I know how long it will take THEM to order boots? Or how long shipping will take for the other stuff.

And to make it worse, I was made to feel like I was trying to avoid outdoor work when I brought in my note. I asked for proper gear. I could have demanded to not go out at all. I suppose it is to be expected from folks who have never heard of the syndrome, and wonder if it's a permanent thing... Why should it be such a hassle getting a pair of boots?  People don't understand that my hands HURT outside. That I won't risk serious damage to my feet... that one day I might be fine, and the next I can't feel my toes.

But that's working for the man.. gotta fight for everything. maybe I should have said I can no longer work outside in cold weather... and see how they would have reacted..

rant over! peace out!