From the blog.

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Squishy In Between

365 Words. Plan about 2 minute(s) to read this.

It snowed here today. That’s saying something. When I started preparing for CCIE back in January 2007, there was snow on the ground. Seeing snow again reminds me that four seasons have come and gone, and I didn’t really notice any of them. I like to be outside, walking, hiking once in a while, riding my mountain bike, all that stuff. This year? This year those activities were things OTHER people did. Not me.

Looking towards the CCIE lab is like being in the Total Perspective Vortex, only I’m not Zaphod. It’s messing with my head. From where I’m sitting, time has stopped. My life has been either my job or CCIE prep, and little else. I’ve had to make room I didn’t have to spend more time with the family, but overall, I don’t even sense the passage of time anymore. A calendar only signifies milestones I’m supposed to have achieved in my prep. I’ve invented my own, simplified mental calendar: BC, AC, and SIB. “Before CCIE”, “After CCIE”, and “Squishy In Between”.

BC was when time was normal; there was sunshine and flowers. People spoke to me, and I answered them in a friendly way. I ate at restaurants with friends. I laughed freely. I think I remember a cat. But that was long ago. AC lies ahead of me, and AC can’t come fast enough. They tell me the air is clear, and you can see for miles from the top of the mountain. But right now I’m stuck in SIB, and SIB is a lousy place to be. In SIB, I can’t ever go back to BC, because I’d never forgive myself for quitting. In SIB, I feel like I’m moving in slow-motion, reading, practicing, studying, going through waves of “I CAN DO THIS!” to “No matter how hard I study I’ll get a lab I can’t score 80 points on.” Giddy exhilaration and crushing defeat can be within hours of one another. I start feeling cocky, then find out 6 other things about a topic I was confident about before.

But they tell me it’s worth it in the end. Who are “they”? When I figure that out, I’ll get back to you…

Ethan Banks writes & podcasts about IT, new media, and personal tech.
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