What seems like eons ago, I decided to learn HTML and make myself some webpages. One of the pages I created, was called Staats Place. I had a cute little Adobe Flash animation that I had made as a header, and it featured posts about my family, dogs, and other such things. At one point now lost to me in the mists of time, I opted to switch the site over to WordPress-based, and start blogging. Most of my posts were about genealogy, so when I started Staats Genealogical Services a few years later, it only made sense to use the site as not just a blog, but my as business site. What’s kind of funny to me, is that the rhyme scheme of “Staats Place” and the tongue-in-cheek name of “Staats of Ohio” was completely lost on those who don’t personally know me. Those that do know me, know my name is pronounced “States,” not “Stats,” as most everyone else who shares my surname pronounces it. The site ambled along as “Staats Genealogical Services” for the past 10+ years or so. However, It fell into relative disuse the past several years, much of what I used to post on it being posted in shorter form on social media. Then two years ago, my site was hacked and I ended up losing a lot of the content that had been posted over all those years.
As my job consumed more and more of my available energy, I started dropping many of the activities I used to enjoy. As a friend once reflected on my employment situation (over beers), “It seems like a good option for you, even though your soul is slowly dying.” Then the pandemic happened. In fact, I think the meetup in which the “soul” comment was first uttered was about two weeks before everything shut down. Like many people, the pandemic gave me – nay, forced me- to take a look at what I’ve done in my career, what I was doing in my career, and what I might want to do. And almost exactly one year ago today, I informed my employer that after my contract was up at the end of June, I would not be returning and set about trying to figure out what was next.
As the Dead would say, “what a long, strange trip it’s been since then.” Skip ahead to last week. I felt like I had fallen into a bit of a rut as of late, and I wasn’t making the best use of my time that I could. I opted to get off social media for awhile and plan a new schedule that would hopefully make more productive, eventually employed, and ultimately- happier. The first day was a planning day, I made some lists, I analyzed the lists, I made decisions about what activities were most likely to achieve my short-term goals. And then I made a schedule. When you’ve been at home for awhile, the routine of the regular work day can get a little lost after awhile, and it’s easy to be distracted and unfocused. So I recreated a routine with my schedule. I scheduled when I would eat breakfast, when I would take the dog out, when I would read, when I would practice guitar, when I would eat lunch, when I would work on the job search, and even when I would work on revamping the website before you now.
It’s been a whirlwind of a week! I’m not really a believer in signs, but sometimes I have to scratch my head and wonder. The second day went off without a hitch, and I was amazed how a small adjustment like eliminating social media and email checks during the day made such a big difference. I can in no way attribute all of the advances of the week on my new approach but certainly some of them. I’ll leave you with a summary of the week:
- I finished the website redesign, re-wrote the “About” section, edited several other sections, and wrote this post.
- I got call from a job I’d previously interviewed for last year, but was not hired. It was unfortunate, as I was really interested. To get this call had nothing to do with my new routine, but was exciting nonetheless. We’ll see what this holds the second time around.
- I deleted the Facebook app from my phone, and was amazed how much easier and enjoyable it was to be in the moment without the nervous tic of checking my phone every few minutes.
- Ziggy, our dog, got to go for a walk every day, since thankfully the Cleveland winter has largely broken…although I’m 100% sure it’s not entirely done yet.
- For the first time in forever (cue the Frozen theme) read an entire book rather than starting it only to abandon it a few days later.
- In that book (Mohawk by Richard Russo), I think I finally identified the structure of the memoir-style book I’ve been threatening to write for years. I’d struggled as I tried to move from idea phase to writing phase, exactly how to organize it. I won’t spill my secret publicly just yet, but it was an astounding revelation that really has me excited to get started!
And that was just last week. Stay tuned for more here, as the site returns to its beginnings as “Staats Place.” There will still be some genealogy, certainly. And as I potentially re-enter the pro genealogy world, that will be here as well. But the blog portion is expanding in scope. Much of the longer thoughts…possibly ramblings…that I used to post on Facebook will now appear here. I’ll link on social, but the bulk of anything that’s actually “writing” will appear here. I hope you’ll join me on this old new journey.