Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Year of Being Agile -- Jet-lag Update

I was in recently in the Far East for a week and the jet-lag has been pretty brutal. Some people get directional jet-lag (moving East worse than moving West or the reverse), but I always get hit with the jet-lag much worse on my return home.

This is because I can't afford to be jet-lagged when I get there. First, because I'm in a different country and want to enjoy every damn minute of it that I'm not working. Second, because I'm, hello, working.

And that is why this advertisement bugs the hell out of me:

I mean girl, you are in Tokyo! With the top of the Skytree outside your window! Turn off the TV, and get yourself up and moving! Keep that sun on your face (you're lucky to have it, jet-lag is much worse when it's cloudy). You're in one of the most amazing cities on the planet, and one that's safe and easy to navigate without a word of Japanese. OMG, don't waste it.

Also, don't look with skepticism upon the Japanese toilet until you've tried it.

The day I land and think "Yawn, Tokyo again, how about a nap?" is the day that I give up my job and move to a farm. This trip alone involved an entire day of shrines and temples, real and fresh Kobe beef, bullet trains, Chinese dumplings, too much sake (always!), restocking my stationary and writing ink supply, and generally running fast and furious every minute. It's not always pleasant -- my dress shoes need to be resoled immediately and I learned the hard way to avoid unfamiliar train station food -- but it's interesting.

Of course, that means you get hit with the jet-lag on the way home. Mine with a bonus dose of respiratory illness. Don't worry, I caught it from the Budding Psychonaut after being home for a couple of days -- this is a God-given, red-blooded, American illness, not one o' them commie-socialist ones.

Being agile doesn't just mean keeping options open, it means grabbing them when you have them and dealing with the snotty and exhausted consequences later. It means building yourself up during the calm times so you can respond with grace and vigor (or at least not fall asleep during your presentation) during the crazy, busy -- and often wonderful -- ones.

Chaos and change are often seen as a priori negative, but that's far from the case. When life is changing is also when life is the most interesting and the most malleable. Stuff's in play and the odds are the most open to manipulation. You really don't have a choice but to act -- physically, magically, all in. Otherwise you're just groggy in a hotel room while the world keeps spinning.

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