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Not just marking time...

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Revenant

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I posted on 1/12/2019 about winning the 2018 Journal award and mentioned that, pretty much at the same time as I found out about that, that I'd gotten a paper accepted for publication. I didn't really go into this at the time but it was a paper co-authored with my graduate advisor - who passed away on September 11, 2018. He's the person I decided to name Sam after. I didn't know it at the time but I posted that entry exactly 1 month before Sam's surprise early birth - the "first published" date on the paper is 1 Feb 2019, just 11 days before his birthday.

I found out last week that the paper is going to win a "Best In-Practice Paper" award. I'll be getting a plaque for it in the mail in about a month to a month and a half. Normally these would be given at a dinner meeting but that can't happen this year - all the meetings are canceled because of COVID-19. So I'll be getting dressed up for a suit for one of the very few times this year and taking a picture with it. I'm also going to be taking a picture with it and Sam and a picture of Sam holding it much like I did the 2019 Journal Award plaque this year - I expect Sam to try to eat the plaque again.

Finding out that I won it and that this is going to be happening in the near future is necessarily a little bittersweet, thinking about the passing of my teacher 2 years ago, every thing that was going on with Shandy's health at the time I wrote that January 2019 entry and all the things that would later follow and it has me thinking about things this week.

There will also be a plaque provided for him and I've reached out to his wife about mailing it to her but I can't help but acknowledge that it would mean a very different thing to her than to me and she honestly might not want another award for the man to keep in a box somewhere to eventually be tossed out by the grandkids.

My advisor was a bit of a workaholic, as great men sometimes tend to be - and he had a wall / office full of awards to show for it. But I think that had some negative impacts on his marriage based on things I've heard and observed. I've often thought that I don't think I could or that I'd want to ever really be like him or achieve the kinds of things that he achieved in his professional life because it would require me to put in so much time and effort into my career that it would kill my relationship with my wife and make me miss too much of my sons' childhoods. I don't want to be that guy that's in the office at 8 AM on a Saturday every weekend. There's a joke in the oil and gas industry about being on your 3rd marriage or being divorced mostly because you're pulling 60+ hour weeks all the time and you're never home. I'd rather not be an especially high-achiever and not be a VP somewhere if it means I have something resembling a work-life balance. I always want to still be that person that works to live and doesn't live to work.

While I don't want to be a workaholic and I don't want to "die at my desk" - certainly not at 63, I want to achieve, and I want my sons to see me achieve - both professionally and personally in my hobbies. I want them to see me be more than just be a parent and I want to keep that part of myself that is for me. I want my sons to see me still working for and doing things that I want that I want for me. I want to still be collecting and going to coin shows. I want to still have my cameras and be shooting. I want neither my work nor my role as a parent to become the whole of my identify and sense of self.

I will grant, collecting and researching coins and currency isn't everyone's cup of tea and coin shows don't sound fun at all to a great many - you can count my wife among these - but it's interesting, fun, and mentally stimulating, and I enjoy writing about it too, if my Zimbabwe note collection and this journal are any indication.

Sam is becoming increasingly verbal and he's starting to say things like "All Done" when he's done eating and "bye bye." He still isn't walking but we think it might be more of a courage issue than one of ability. He's standing while using his hands and grabbing things with increasing confidence. We're just having trouble convincing him to let go and take steps away from things he's cruising on. He feels more aggressive in his exploration than Ben though - he doesn't just try to mess with electrical outlets; he tries to rip the entire wall plate out of the wall, outlets and all.

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You can't go back and undo or redo things in your life, so make decisions about the really important things, family especially, with lots of careful thought. "Work" will always be there. Your children will not.

Edited by Just Bob

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That was a very moving journal you wrote and there was many things that I can relate to from having papers published to being a workaholic as well as spending a great deal of time on my collections. I always wonder ,,like the plaque you mentioned in your journal will my collections of things and awards be dumbed in some dumpster or disregarded as anything of any value or worth to anyone....and I don't mean monetary worth but a value that is based upon me as a individual,,,, a person of worthiness?       

Edited by Iceman

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10 hours ago, Just Bob said:

 "Work" will always be there. Your children will not.

The current situation with work from home has changed the dynamics of things quite a bit. I watch Ben most days for a couple of hours in the afternoon while Shandy and the baby nap. Ben actually will come up and close my laptop sometimes when he wants to play and tell me "work is done. No more work." If I don't have a pressing deadline I'll let him get away with it. It was harder at the start of the lockdown because I had just recently started a 2 month long, $84,000 project that had me grinding away during working hours.

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6 hours ago, Iceman said:

That was a very moving journal you wrote and there was many things that I can relate to from having papers published to being a workaholic as well as spending a great deal of time on my collections. I always wonder ,,like the plaque you mentioned in your journal will my collections of things and awards be dumbed in some dumpster or disregarded as anything of any value or worth to anyone....and I don't mean monetary worth but a value that is based upon me as a individual,,,, a person of worthiness?       

I think you're looking at, at most, 1 generation of relevance unless its something big. If your ancestor won the Nobel prize or the medal of honor then there will be interest in keeping that in a lot of cases as significant family history. I would have been interested in getting my grandfather's diploma and Tau Beta Pi certificate because 1) I was named for him, 2) he was an engineer like me, and 3) we were both in that honor society. With other things? Your children or grand children might want it if they had a connection with you relevant to that thing, but I don't see it going past that. For example, if you worked closely with a child or grandchild to build a set and that set won an award here, I would expect that award to have interest to that grandchild, but i wouldn't expect that plaque to have meaning or value to a grandchild that had no connection to your coin collecting or that set, and I would expect that plaque to get passed down to the trashcan in the fullness of time.

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Many congratulations on a "Best In-Practice Paper" award as this means people in the field believe and trust what you have done - you can rightly be very proud of this and it is also testament to your graduate supervisor.

One interesting outcome of lockdown has been that some colleagues have realised that their whole life has been work - even if they are married with children. As a result some have embraced new hobbies (no new coin collectors though) whereas others seem to have an increased focus on more awards, committee roles and so on, personally I am trying to work out how to retire in 10 years and not 20!xD

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