Too much of anything is rarely a good thing. Consuming an excessive amount of chocolate can kill a person. Drinking an excessive amount of water can kill a person. Breathing an excessive amount of air can kill a person, too. These three things are absolute pleasures in the wintertime -- and two of which are pleasures all year 'round -- so long as a person enjoys them in moderation. Too much thought is an interesting form of excess, though, as it does not immediately affect our biology. That said, an overabundance of consideration for a specific topic -- or group of related topics -- can be just as detrimental to our well-being. This is certainly the situation I find myself in while thinking far too much about work while "on vacation".
Earlier this week I made the mistake of checking the work email to search for a personal piece of information that I thought was lost in a sea of corporate messages. Instead of finding what I was looking for, my eyes were inundated with a ridiculous number of messages from people expecting that two weeks of work on my part would be complete and ready for them come Monday January 6th, the first official working day of the new year. Four departments, each with their own set of priorities and expectations, wanted the same two week block of time as my holiday. The people who sent the message all knew that I would be unavailable as early as November, but they chose to wait until Monday morning -- the first day of my vacation -- to send an email with their wild expectations.
There are going to be some very disappointed people come Monday January 6th, 2020.
To add insult to injury, there is also a request to participate in a meeting on January 3rd at 9:00am. This is an important meeting for sure, but it's scheduled for a time when I'll be visiting the in-laws in rural Japan. Can I sneak away for an hour to attend a meeting on a subject that will require a minimum of 5 hours of prep beforehand? Only if I want to upset a whole lot of family members who argue that I work too much. Reiko says this to me several times a week already. I really do not want to have her parents or sister say the same thing to me.
Yet, despite not being in a position to easily do the things that people are asking of me, the mind is busy thinking about the tasks being asked. It's considering how to solve some of the challenges that will need to be overcome to meet objectives. It's looking at possible alternatives to decisions already made. It's working through UI challenges on a major project that will define my entire 2020 effort. The mental chatter is ceaseless.
Will it ever stop? Can it?
Meditation does help, as does reading, but a person cannot do these things all day long unless they are single or incredibly selfish. Ultimately what I would like to do is get my vacation back. I shouldn't have opened the mail application in a foolish gambit to find a home address. I should have done the smart thing and just message the person via Skype to their personal account.
Unfortunately, there is no "Undo" in real life. The work email has once again got me thinking too much.