Thursday, March 24, 2016


No, not just triathlon transition.

This is more general, about the change from any state to another state. Awake/asleep. Working/not working. One yoga pose to another. Swim to bike to run. Non-geezer to geezer. Fat to fit. Skiing to shooting. Incomplete to complete. Green veggies on the plate to a clean plate. Whatever. Some of these the change alternates whether we like it or not, and some of them could go either way and some are one way.

There is the transition itself, and then the conditions it happens in. Forced or not, as in suddenly being told you don't work there any more. Time pressure in the sense of the clock ticking like in a triathlon transition, or a deadline. Is there an audience? Are you solo, or part of a team?

Change can be hard, but sometimes people seem to make it harder on themselves. Take something simple, or what should be. Get out of bed and out the door to whatever activity is first on your list. Maybe that's a workout and you don't need a big breakfast or a shower. Maybe it's getting ready for a big meeting first thing at work, and you take extra care how you dress.

I listen to people, and you'd think getting out of bed was the 7 labours of Hercules all together. I don't get it. As an adult you should know how long it takes to get done whatever needs to happen for you in the morning. Allow that much time plus a little extra for recreational cat vomiting cleanup, and subtract that from the time you have to leave the house. Set the clock for that time. When it goes off, and this seems to be the hard part, turn it off, get up, and get on with it. This hitting the snooze button is madness. That 9 minutes "sleep" isn't going to do you any good, and could well mess up your day.

Much the same rule applies to almost all transitions. Just get on with it. The more you think about it, usually, the worse it gets. If the consequence of getting the transition wrong are catastrophic, then you might need to take some time to think it through first.

If you don't know how to do it, the best way is to learn by doing. The first time is always the hardest, and you'll know better for the second time. If you get a chance, practice first.

Lots of people here in Alberta are going through a working to not working transition, of the forced variety, and for all too many of them it's a surprise. This baffles me. So many people seemed to think the good times were going to go on forever, in spite of recent evidence of busts. Alberta's economy is a roller coaster, and anyone that doesn't understand that and plan accordingly deserves what they have coming. That's not to say I like the roller coaster. Not at all. It's a stupid way to run a province.

Some people don't seem to grasp that a job exists only as long as the company wants it to. They only care about their bottom line, and will spit you onto the sidewalk like used chewing gum when it suits them. The only course of action is to be prepared. More on that here. Once it happens, and it will, you  need to get on with whatever is next. For many people that's finding another job. Sooner started, sooner found. For some it's retirement, desired or not. Suck it up and get on with it.

Transitions can be exciting. All that change! Try to enjoy them for what they are, a break between two other activities. You might not like it, but focussing on what you don't like just makes it worse.

Some transitions are less clear cut, and all but irreversible. From young to old, for example. That one has been preying on my mind lately. I don't think of myself as old, not at all. But it's creeping up on me. Every now and then I see it in the corner of my eye, skulking in the undergrowth. When I look, it disappears, or seems to. But it doesn't go away.

Working on being fit helps stave it off. I look at other people my age, and some of them look old. Some of them act old regardless of their age. It's like geezers. Not all of them are old, and not all the elderly are geezers or old. Yes, I'm dealing with sore and tired muscles, and creaky joints some days, but I keep telling myself it would only be worse if I stopped moving as much.

I'm not one of those people that think things have gone all to pot, and youth have no manners, though looking at American politicians one can be forgiven for thinking so. Yes there are problems, climate change being one of the biggest. I'm mostly excited by all the changes. 20 years ago cell phones were rare, expensive, and stupid. Now almost everyone has one, and they are amazing! I'm still learning things that it will do. 30 or 40 years ago cars were death traps. Now they've learned to drive themselves better than humans, and the sooner we can remove the nut behind the wheel the better off we'll be.

That word, learning, is a big one. I think when you stop learning you start dying. I've already begun to think about what my next project is when I have more time, and I'm thinking photography. I've really enjoyed taking pictures with the iPhone, and sometimes tinkering with them in Snapseed. I think it would be fun to get a good camera and learn to actually use it properly. Right now I look at camera specs and I'm baffled. But that will change. I have a buddy who says if I take him to lunch and ask nice, he'll walk me through the camera purchase process.

That more time thing. I'm beginning to suspect the Penn West contract will not be renewed at the end of June. That will give me more lots more time. I've got one buddy that wants me to take surfing lessons on a beach near Tofino. Another buddy keeps telling her team, "I know a really good data guy." Guess which is tempting me more?

Today is one of the rare days when I'm not working, but Linda is. I dropped her off, had a weak, cranky, creaky swim followed up by a long soak in the hot tub. It would have been a nice day for a long swim since I was the only person in the pool, but I wasn't feeling the swim love today.

One of my buddies is running some stairs to the pre-puke stage later today. I scoped them out, since I hadn't known there were stairs there. OMG. I was invited, but won't be joining. This is the half-way point.

A little shopping on the way home, and now I'm beset by cats while trying to write this blog. Maybe I'll have a nap. There are novel ideas gelling.

I tried resting the laptop on Curtis as he snoozed, and got this look. Anyone have any doubts what he thinks? He is not a fan of the laptop. Or the phone. Or the iPad.

And the AMA, Ask Me Anything. Feel free to put your ask in the comments. I promise to use my imagination.


  1. Some Q's:

    What's your next race(s)?
    What did you think of the federal budget?
    What's currently your biggest challenge in life?
    What's your next travelling holiday?

    1. Thanks for the questions. But now I'm going to have to find out what's in the federal budget. I had avoided that so far.

  2. Keith, where are those stairs? Those look like fun!
    Ah yes, transitions. Something I've been thinking a lot about lately (as you no doubt well know). Someone recommended a book to me recently. Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career by Herminia Ibarra. That sounds interesting...

    Hmm, AMA questions...
    If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
    If you could splurge on any new piece of triathlon gear what would it be and why?

    Happy Friday!

    1. The stairs are just behind the Glencoe club in Mt Royal. Yeah, I know, I had to drive there to find them. If you look really carefully at the NE corner of the building on google maps, you'll see the stairs going off to the top right. Before Thursday I had no idea they were there. Thanks for the AMA!

  3. You make getting up sound so easy. You must be a lark! I've been awake for over an hour and still haven't made it out of bed. LOL! Of course, part of the trouble is Luke delivers my morning coffee.

    Loved your reflections on transitions - esp on agency. I flip back and forth between feeling quite zen and totally panicked about it all. Thinking about it as an adventure may be helpful.

    Questions: Have you any interest in running an ultra? How do you ignore bandaids and whoknowswhatelse in the pool? When are you and Linda coming back to NS?

    1. Lark isn't the word I'd use. Some days I drag myself out of bed feeling like partially thawed (let's not get into that) and shamble along till it comes together. I think of it sort of like running. I've now had lots of runs that ended up really good, where I felt like not running beforehand. You start, and once you're moving most of the time your body comes around and says this isn't so bad. Getting up and out of bed is sort of like that.


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