So, you might ask, “What the hell happened to you?” It’s a fair question. Yes, I know. Disappearing for 28 days is not something friends do to friends. Not even a peep. Honestly, I could have said, “Damn those extra shifts at the office.” Or, “Hey, I tripped down a set of stairs and wrecked my knee while attempting to avoid the leopard sleeping on the first floor.” Great story. Not true. I could have stated that I volunteered in some exotic land, assisting clinicians battling COVID. Another great story. All fiction. Instead, my excuse comes down to something easily stated but damn hard to combat: Brain Fog.

I’ve written about brain fog in earlier posts (On The Road to Kingdom Come: Brain Fog and in 2021’s Auld Lang Syne). After midnight on March 8th, I awoke in severe neck pain, stumbled for medication, tried relaxing in a recliner, and finally returned to bed. By morning, I couldn’t think straight. At best, I was 75% effective. And I remained 75% effective for several weeks after that. For a while, I thought I either acquired COVID or long-COVID. However, my physician nipped that in the bud. “It’s brain fog,” she stated. “A fairly common symptom in Parkinson’s patients. It’s the accumulation of exhaustion and a lack of energy. Brain fog isn’t improved through rest, and you wander like a zombie having no energy and difficulty thinking, focusing, or concentrating. In essence, you’re wearing out.”

I returned to the December 30th blog entry to accurately describe it, “Like my father suffered during his 5-year slow death spiral; I can’t seem to get the fuzzy fog from my brain. I cannot put my finger on it. I first experienced this while driving, barely missing cars and fighting lane shifts (from lack of concentration). Thought processing doesn’t seem significantly longer, but nearly everything takes longer to process. Yet, just as everything is impermanent, I must adapt.” And I did. I adapted during December 2021, and I adapted these past twenty days. However, it wasn’t easy.

I told Barbara (my case manager) yesterday that I was considering full-time employment a thing of the past. “When Ashleigh Barty announced her retirement, she stated, ‘I just don’t have that in me anymore. I don’t have the physical drive, the emotional want, and everything it takes to challenge yourself at the very top of the level anymore. I am spent.’”

“Are you thinking of retiring,” Barbara asked?

“Honestly,” looking away, “I feel spent.” A long silence engulfed the room. “I am not sure I have it in me anymore.”

“So,” she started before being interrupted.

“I feel,” biting my lip, “exhausted. Today I feel exhausted.”

“Maybe you won’t retire. Maybe you’ll find something else to energize you.”

Making a career change is nothing new. It’s been done throughout the centuries. Before Christ called them, The 12 apostles came from various backgrounds and professions. Some had humble occupations, including being fishermen. One was a tax collector. Judas was a thief, and the Apostle Paul supported himself as a tentmaker. More importantly, during the great recession, there is a growing number in their late twenties and early thirties experiencing a “quarter-life crisis.” (That’s a fancy way of saying they are/were rethinking priorities.)

I told Barbara that I had intended to stay in this position until retirement. However, I forgot that fulfillment and enjoyment along the journey are even more important than simply getting to retirement. Just because you’re great at something doesn’t mean God wants you to keep doing it. Maybe something else should propel your life. Still, something deeper struck me during our conversation: It is important to recognize that every opportunity costs something. Theoretically, you get one shot in this life, and no matter how much money you make, you can’t buy back time.