The Fatigue of Ordinary Gentlemen

Jacket Blurb: In this not-really-anticipated new tale from author ordinaire Owen Servant, a motley group of “heroes” from unknown parts of history assemble to exchange vague platitudes and argue over where to eat lunch.

Note to self: when and if you ever write a book, do not attempt to craft your own marketing.

For well over a decade, I had this dream of living in a camper, traveling all over North America, seeing the sights, reading books. I’m not quite sure where the money was supposed to come from to support that existence; my dreams have always been light on practical details. In my dream, I lived alone, of course, because that was the life I always imagined.

My actual life is nothing like that. I am a married grandfather with four or five children (depending on how you count) and four or five grandchildren (depending on the same counting convention) who is a mathematician at a large Fortune 500 company, where I am also what might be called an executive.

My typical work day is from 6 in the morning until 5 in the afternoon, Monday through Friday, with sporadic night meetings. I also work most Saturday mornings. I have roughly 50 or so employees I am directly or indirectly responsible for.

In becoming a mathematician, I assumed I would be able to lead a thoughtful and secluded life, so I’m batting 0-for-2 there, as well. I do attempt with some regularity to think, but am not as successful as would be ideal. Maybe if I had a camper.

When I do get home, I’m typically doing things with the three oldest of the aforementioned grandchildren:

This photo was taken in my backyard, 2 days before Halloween, 2022.

Since the time change, I get up almost every morning at 3:30. I get up, do a devotional/meditation, roll out a yoga mat and stretch for maybe 20 minutes, sit down in my study to read Nano Poblano posts, then write as much as time allows before I have to get ready and head to work.

I go to sleep around 9:30 at night.

I write at speed and rarely do much, if any, editing. As such, I routinely make mistakes, which is fairly representative of my life as a whole. I have a lot to do, and I do most of it, although more-and-more in a kind of waking haze, never getting enough sleep, but slogging on, nonetheless.

Sometimes, on a Sunday, I go out for drives in the countryside, listening to books or podcasts. In days like we’ve been having here recently, cold and clear, I can feel from the hills and trees and farms I pass the beauty and magnificence I longed to be seeing as young man, when I dreamed of a camper life.

I am lucky to have the life I do have, and I treasure it. But I am becoming aware of how life, and age, prepare us through tiredness for eventually letting go. I have so much to be thankful for, and only so much time to experience it, so I’d best get back to it.

Is your real life different than people might get from reading your blog? What dreams did you have that you never realized?

3 thoughts on “The Fatigue of Ordinary Gentlemen

  1. I loved this ponder Owen. Perhaps the time to travel far and wide, as the fancy takes you, is when you retire. Seems to be a big thing in Australia and they seem to follow the warmer weather and return home every now and then, having clocked up several thousand miles. You’ve got a big old country 1.3 times the size of Oz. I hope I’m still around to read of your adventures!

    What a delightful photo of your grandchildren. They look so happy and content with life. I hope they all have healthy, successful lives, filled with love.

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