It's another Holiday weekend and many of the new people that I've met here at school are out playing and having fun. I envy it. For the last 15 years of my life I've been working in the IT industry and there is ALWAYS one thing IT folk understand. Holiday's tend to be our most worked schedules. That's when we can bring down the Servers and make overhauls. I've learned over the years not to expect much from Holiday's because of this. If I do get away, it's such a pleasure and yet hard to see that it's a time to relax because I'm always on the phone or e-mail trying to help someone resolve an issue or re-allocate my team to adjust for surprises.
This is probably one of my most hated aspects of having grown my career through IT. It's incredibly hard to plan vacations and make plans for Holiday's because of the push to get certain projects done and IT folk are always the ones around late at night. It's normal for me to see my car all alone in the dark parking lot as I walk out of the building to go home.
Since I've been married, my Wife has been the one to instigate many of our excursions. Because of her, we've been all across Europe, on Alaskan Cruises, been to the wine country numerous times and gone to a variety of events. I think God that I have a Wife who helps me to do things that haven't been easy to plan for. I have such a dedicated passion for my work and to do the best that I can do and taking a planned break is not always on my mind.
This weekend, I was invited to go fishing by some students and bungi jumping with another group. It was so natural to thank them and turn them down. In a way, it was like old IT ingrained mentality of thinking that the holiday weekend is a time to get a lot done. I had specific reasons this time though. For example, I know that I have a final in a week and a 1/2 and I see the vacation as a time to really go through my notes ravenously. The test is cumulative so there's a lot to review. My Sister and Mother are flying into town this evening from Seattle so I wanted to spend some time with them. We are going to be seeing my Grandmother in Los Angeles. She's 97 now and although she walks around and is as feisty as ever my Mother wanted to take the time to bring us together to spend some time with her.
Sadly, I don't spend enough time with her. Although, I'm the one who has probably spend 4x as much time with her as my other relatives because I'm in the area. The hard part is that my primary language is English and since I was born in LA, I don't have much of my mother tongue fluency to communicate with her. My Grandmother doesn't know any English. What makes it worse is that she wears a strong hearing aide. So our conversations our rather awkward. I'm trying to speak our mother tongue about as well as a 3 year old and I'm yelling across the table as every 5th word from her is "what?". It's very frustrating. I like taking my wife because she has the ability to speak the language fluently with my Grandmother.
My Grandfather passed away 5 years ago when he was 97. So we all think that she may not be around much longer. The saddest thing I hear from her though is that she's so lonely. To have lived that long, she tells me that every one of her friends have passed on. The only ones still around are the ones who are 20 years younger than she and they weren't that close. And they're not exactly very mobile. She sits alone at home most days reading her Bible and praying. Mostly just lost in thought and thinking of years gone by. We've recently moved her to an elderly care center because she no longer has the energy to keep up the apartment and cook for herself very well. How my grandparents got to be that old and still be so active is a miracle to me.
My Sister and I often talk about whether we'd like to live that long and have concluded that we would, but only if we had signficant friends and family around.
So now, I sit here studying and spend my time trying to get all this information into my head while my Grandmother sit's at home alone. Time is such a valuable thing and yet I'm not doing the things to maintain great friends because of my studies these day's. It's really quite sad in a way. But I know this is temporary as the B-school app process is temporary.
I realy look forward to getting some of my life back. I want to get back and reconnect with friends and family. My Grandmother reminds me of just how important that really is.