My blogging seems to have trailed off significantly at late.
Blame it on spending so much time working and dealing with family and other issues.
Work is an interesting contradiction at times. It can be so busy and stressful that I get anxious and stressed out. While at other times I seem to immerse myself and enjoy the concentration. I am striving to find a balance in work where the time I enjoy my business outweighs the times I want to throw the towel in and walk away.
One of my largest stresses is my search for a new staff member which just seems to be going nowhere.
I took the plunge about 6 weeks ago and enlisted the help of a recruiter to find me the new junior sales person.
After four weeks of nothing finally a candidate came along who ticked almost all the boxes, ambitious, smart and eager to work.
We made the offer, he accepted and then the day before he was supposed to start he rang and declined the offer, because in his words he wanted a larger company with far more long term promotion opportunities.
So we are back waiting for more candidates to interview.
It is tough running your own business, you don't worry about the now you always worry about three months time. I have always had a business philosophy that I should have about 3 months of cash in the bank to actually pay all the staff and bills.
The last year has been tough trying to get that balance, sometimes I walk into the office and I dread the day, not because things are bad, more I have this burning desire to grow the business and get far more security.
But I have to learn that in small business security is what you make of it and it's all perception anyway.
The other big thing that is taking both my time and giving me an emotional roller coaster ride is my parents.
Last year mum had a minor stroke and was diagnosed with advanced dementia. It's an insidious disease and we know the long term outcome we just don't know the time frame.
Her mental ability is significantly reduced these days and the progression of the illness is starting to take it's toll not just on her but my father, sister and myself.
It's obvious that she is unable to comprehend rational thought and her much of her memory is shot.
My father who is her defacto carer is also going through his own battles with dementia just not as pronounced as my mother's. I can see the same lack of rational reasoning in my father that my mother was displaying last year. You can't reason with him (I totally gave up on trying to reason with my mother because all it did was frustrate me).
They live alone and help look after each other, but this can't go on forever (or much longer). We need to get them into care situation, at the moment they could live in assisted care (own apartment in a retirement village) but they are absolutely adamant that they will not go.
And I know that if we push them it could cause a serious mental decline that could hasten their deaths.
At some stage soon and the problem is we don't really know when, my mother will need dementia care in nursing home. She can do simple things when prompted and reminded but the simple tasks like getting dressed or setting a table still get messed up and confused.
Because of the dementia we can't reason with them or even explain to them the gravity of the situation and why they need to go into care.
It's frustrating and scary for us because we want them to be safe, but it's a catch 22 situation. If we push them into care now it could cause another serious breakdown, while if we do nothing they could have a serious accident (think burning the place down while getting confused making dinner).
So we are looking at the retirement village options where there are three levels of care, assisted living, hostel care and nursing home care. But if we bring it up with them they dig there heals in and maintain that everything is fine, even though it's patently not.
It's all very stressful and difficult really.
With all of this stress I have not been able to do the thing which I know will help me manage my stress the most and that's give up smoking and get back to the gym.
It's a vicious cycle for me really, I am acutely aware that smoking and lack of exercise makes me tired and more stressed, but I just can't seem to actually bring myself to make the plunge and stop the evil weed.
Can you see the total hypocrisy here and mirror between my parents inability to accept they need care and my inability to stop smoking and do something about my own stress levels?
It's absurdly obvious to me!
I had a minor epiphany a few weeks back when I was talking to my sister who has a similar vicious cycle to me, not with smoking but her own fitness and eating habits.
The stress of my parents has led her to put on some weight and this has made her unhappy, she knows that if she loses some weight and gets some exercise she will be better able to manage her stress levels.
I was busy giving her advice on what to do and then I stopped, stepped back a moment and realized I have no right to tell her how to do this when it's again like a mirror of my own situation.
Minor epiphany indeed!
Maybe this is just fundamental human nature in that we do self destructive things that cause us stress. We instinctively know that these things add to our stress and if we fix them we are much better able to cope, but we lack that strength of character or willpower or whatever it is to actually change things.
Years ago when I worked in consulting I used to work in large scale public incident management and one of the most experienced people in the field told me some key words of wisdom about managing a major incident.
Manage the incident, don't let it manage you.
I think this concept is really apt right now. I am letting the 'incident' manage me and I am not managing it.
It's doesn't matter that you can't actually manage things that are out of control, but what you can do is manage the response to the incident and mitigate the things you can change.
Quite a few of our friends are in one form of twelve step program or another and I was reminded the other day of their serenity mantra:
Give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,
courage to change the things
which should be changed,
and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.
Regardless of whether you have an addiction or just need to refocus your self it's an excellent mantra don't you think?
Interestingly I used to use my blog as a way for me to help focus myself, write my thoughts out and un-scamble them. I do find writing things down cathartic and helpful so maybe I should start again.