One of my dad’s favorite catch-phrases: Life is short. I can’t tell you how many times I rolled my eyes when he said that, mostly because he also used to warn me about “burning the candle at both ends.” Well, life is short, isn’t it? Better to burn the candle now, while it’s in front of me.
Life is short. And it all depends on what candle you’re burning.
I’ve spent the last two months working two jobs, as part of some brokerage between former and current employers. It sounded like a happy compromise at the time: 5 hours here, 3 hours there. This quickly turned into 10 hours here, 4 hours there, though most of it (gratefully) was spent working at home. My head is spinning with grantspeak, words like extend, expand, focus, innovative, enrich, enhance, program, project, objective, foundation, feature, design, create, build, intend, extend, expand. We intend to enhance the program’s foundation with an expanded project designed to build on focused objectives.
Words I want to say: joy, righteous, resilient, covet, brave, salacious, weasel, contempt, hover, piquant, meadow, fire, cranberry, gallant, salamander, taciturn, complicit, boggy, wordless. I won’t attempt to build a sentence out of them. They are words I’m unlikely to use in a proposal; therefore, sacred.
None of this is to say I don’t like grant-writing. I just don’t like doing it while I’m trying to do a dozen other things, burning candle ends and wondering if I told my husband that I love him, or if I unintentionally ignored a co-worker. I did brush my teeth this morning, didn’t I? I did feed the dog five minutes ago, right? And, god damn, isn’t there another word for enhance?
I still have a few more tasks on my former employer’s watch. All related to money, which I will gladly never have to do again. No more warding colleagues off the dessert. No more frowning, eyebrow furrowing, tsk-tsking.
Time to move on. Life is short.
Reblogged this on Pigspittle, Ohio and commented:
I wrote this seven years ago. Hard to believe so much time has past since my transition from managing editor to grants writer. I’m reblogging it because I kinda like it…and I’m still looking for a new word for “enhance.”
Many reasons to “like” this! The message of “life is too short” is timeless and never goes out of style. Thank you for the Sunday reminder, Meg. xo
Thanks so much, Michelle. I’m glad you liked it. Big hugs to you this Tuesday morning.
This is an awesome post! I’m coming up blank with help for “enhance.”
I know — it’s hard, isn’t it?! Thanks for reading and commenting, Melanie!
Nice piece! So seven years ago but it reads like real writing to me. I just read another piece on a blog and it was quite well written but v sterile and unreal, then I read this and it seems like proper writing to me. Little bits in this like ‘i did brush my teeth this morning, didn’t I?’ make all the difference. What about ’embiggen’ for ‘enhance’, was that not the awesome fake word in The Simpsons? ‘Embiggen’.
Good to see you, Stephen! Glad you liked this. And I almost spit out my coffee upon reading “embiggen.” I think it was a Simpsons word. And, oh, how I would love to put that into a grant proposal. LOL.
haha, ‘a noble spirit embiggens the meekest soul’ It’s a perfectly cromulant word…