Seeking balance in a double edged life

A long time ago, in a life that seems far, far away (BK—before kids), I was a tech geek. I loved computers, and loved making broken ones work again. Mostly I was a private help desk. I had a few clients for whom I took care of all their computer needs. It was something I did on the side, but something I enjoyed enough that I figured when the time ever came to look for work, that was what I wanted to do.

Then m came, and my world changed. We left New York, and my job, behind, and I became a stay-at-home father. It was a role I cherished. Being home with my daughter was a time I’ll always look back on fondly. I got to watch her grow and guide her maturation in a way not many people get to do these days.

I still did some odd tech jobs. I found out that there were companies out there looking to hire freelance technicians. Hands in the field, as it were. Someone to show up at a client’s site and plug in a device, or trouble shoot a network issue, or install some new piece of hardware. It was fun work, and brought me back to the days BK when I did that kind of stuff on the side. Now I was doing it on the side again, only this time my full-time gig was father.

Writing had always been my life goal, though. And at some point I decided I needed to stop putzing around with other stuff and just write. So I did. I finished a book, and then I wrote another. (The second one sits in limbo with a publisher, but that’s for another blog.) I talked a lot about writing, and finished the first draft of the second Mesabi book. Then, nothing. I hit a wall. A dry spell. The words were stuck. I was stuck. I did some acting, and that was a great creative outlet for me, something I sorely needed.

And then an opportunity arose. Something not of the creative field, but back to that tech stuff that I have always enjoyed. An opportunity to do what I did before, be my own help desk, but do it on a larger scale, and actually earn a living at it. I started freelance tech work again both to bring in some extra cash (we need a new roof on the house, and j will start at a private Montessori school in the fall that won’t pay for itself) and to start building up experience and a reputation in the area. To learn while I earn. In my spare time I’m studying to get some certifications.

Working has made me feel creative again. Forcing myself to step away from the words has brought me back the desire to see them flow again. But it also means that I haven’t had much time for writing. For which I’m torn. Writing, and running, calm me, center me, soothe me, and help me feel whole. This other work I’ve been doing is necessary, and fun, and exciting. I wake up at night thinking of ways to make the business work. I’m animated, and feel it. In part that’s because the tech stuff comes fairly easy to me. It satisfies the logic side of my brain. It’s a puzzle, and the pieces fit together with little effort. But it is, for the moment, time consuming.

I’m working on making all this temporary. Not the tech work, but the stress of it. The overwhelming busy-ness of it. The feeling that I’m off in multiple directions at once. Finding time to stand still for twenty minutes even just to pen this little post feels so monumentally important, and monstrously difficult.

But do it I must. The tech work and the words. I’m off to a kids’ birthday party. I’ll raise a beer to the words. And to all the broken computers and phones out there that will keep them funded.