Goals // Week 05

This week is the last of the month and the last of this crazy work schedule I’ve been struggling through since mid-January. I expect things to die down by mid-week but it won’t last long, I hear. There is another new class of employee lined up and ready to to start training come the start of the new week so I’m determined to make the most of this lull in work while I can. It’ll be another two weeks or more before I can claim any real time for myself again.

This week I will:

 Eat regular meals, on time, and take all of my medication. In order to avoid nausea I have to spread my medication and supplements out throughout the day. That means more frequent meals, which are hard to remember let alone make time for during the chaotic workday, but I can’t make such excuses anymore. My health comes first! Bonus: No candy or sugary snacks!

 Work out every other evening after work. As someone who suffers from anxiety, who struggles to get a good night’s sleep, and who it trying to lose a few pounds put on by this last round of steroids, exercise is very important. I may not feel much like it after a long day but that is the magic of moving your body it creates more motivation than it takes. All I have to do is start.

Finish writing the last few book reviews I started. Of course the reviews are only for me but writing anything is good for honing your craft and good for developing a habit. It’s been a long time since I’ve written a real blog post and sharing what I learned, what I liked, and what I loathed might help boost my confidence and enthusiasm.

Make and share a new “found poem” on Instagram. I miss the peace and the satisfaction that come from creating things that exist outside of screens and the internet. I miss working with other people’s words and reworking them into new meaning, and, anyway, if I don’t something soon it’s going to get harder to justify the stacks of old magazines piling up to my wife.

Read 100 pages of Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. I’ll have a whole lot more time to read this week than I have over the last two and if I don’t want to fall behind in my reading goal for the year than I need to take full advantage of it. Bonus finish another book from the Penguin Little Black Classics box set.

Take a break. I take pride in being a good employee. I take pride in a job well done. I like knowing others can count on me. I like getting things done before anyone has to ask. I like being a team player, going above and beyond, and coming up with solutions, but all that pride can’t come at the expense of my peace of mind. I have to practice balance and I have to learn to step away, for just a moment, to breathe and be reminded of who I am outside of work.

This week I will not let anyone make me feel bad for taking the time I need for me. At the same time, if I am going to set those boundaries I have to respect myself enough to keep the promises I make. I will not accept what I know is less than my best. This week is the start of showing my intentions with actions and not just words. I deserve better from, and for, me.


P.S. For a look at how I fared last week check out my updated post for Week 04.

Photo by Brad Fickeisen on Unsplash

If We Were Having Coffee // Overworked and Unsatisfied

Hello, happy Sunday, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up.

Wake up every morning just before 5:00 AM like clockwork but after a late night of binge-watching The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina over a couple of drinks and too much dessert I found it hard to leave the bed and lost another 3 hours to sleep so fitful it wasn’t even worth it. Thank God for the invention of coffee, a drink that con correct for all those sleep probelms plaguing the modern world, right?

So, please, pull up a chair and grab yourself a cup. I’ve got the usual blond roast beans ground course for the french press and I’ve started addding a generous pour of sweet and silky vanilla oat milk over top. Don’t knock it ’til you try it! Let’s talk about last week.

“Often whole days pass without my speaking to anyone, except to ask for dinner or coffee. And it has been like that from the beginning.”

― Vincent Van Gogh, Van Gogh in Arles


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that this past week was only slightly less stressful than the week before. I’m working in different departments and hardly getting a break let alone a lunch in between. To make matters worse I don’t feel like anyone sees or appreciates my efforts but I’ve realized the only one I have to blame for being so overworked and unsatisfied is myself.

I enjoy the challenge but I don’t know when to stop. I like being useful, respected, important, but I forget that I am not, in fact, being compensated to do more than one person’s job. I enjoy being a part of the action but I forget that I need time away. I forget that I can take time away, that I need to take time away. So, I will.

I am still training the new class of employees but this coming week the ones who made it through will be released and I will, hopefully, finally get a little break from the chaos and settled back into my regular, boring schedule. I plan to make myself scarce and to work no more than the hours I have to and do only the tasks assigned to me. Once I feel a little more like myself, a little more stable and strong, I can try ambition and initiative again.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that I am taking it easy this weekend.

Friday night I decided to unplug and get out of the house for a change. I took my wife out for a date night of dinner, drinks, and a movie. She’d been wanting to see Jojo Rabbit for months now and there was one showing at our favorite movie theater. I had just enough time after work to rush home, change, and head back out. The movie was amazing and I highly recommend you see if you haven’t yet.

Saturday was spent much like today will be, doing nothing at all. I had planned to help some friends move to their new house but it turns out they were too excited to wait and did all the moving on their own. I had thought about going hiking but I didn’t have enough time to clean my gear and buy snacks. I thought I might do some shopping or head downtown, but my body protested and the bed beckoned and the opportunity to rest felt too good to pass up.

So, I’ve been home and though part of me is lamenting the wasted hours part of me knows this is just what I needed.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you I’m still not feeling 100% health-wise though compared to just a month ago I have improved beyond recognition.

I’m nearly off of the steroids which feels great emotionally but physically it’s causing me so many problems. The withdrawal is causing terrible headaches, fatigue, and continued mood swings. I’m out of patience and snapping at coworkers. I’m irritable at home and struggling to give my best self to my loved ones.

I got a call from the doctor’s office informing me that my medication would be changed and I would need to set up my next four appointments for infusion. My doctor and I had discussed the changes but I hadn’t realized that we’d moved from discussion to decision. It’s what I wanted though so I’m moving ahead and in just over two weeks I’ll be back at the infusion center again trying something new.

I’m super nervous about it. Not the infusion itself since I was on another infusion medication before and know how the process goes, but with a new medication comes the threat of new side effects, new complications, new worries and new fears. My wife has promised to stay with me the whole time (just like the medication before) to make sure I’m okay and that helps but I’m still freaking out a little.


If we were having coffee I would tell you that with the busy work schedule, my fatigue, and general bad mood I made very little progress through my reading and had no time or motivation for writing.

I did manage finish two more Penguin Little Black Classics, As Kingfishers Catch Fire by Gerard Manley Hopkins, a collection of poems celebrating nature, the human condition, and God, and The Saga of Gunnlaug Serpent-tongue by Anonymous, an Icelandic tale of two high-born poets competing for love.

Both were surprising and rewarding reads. That’s what I love about this set, each book is something I probably never would have chosen to read on my own but each so far has proven worth the time. I’m reminded there is good work outside of what I am typically drawn to and encouraged to continue branching out even after I work my way through these 80 short works.

Now I’m reading the intriguingly titled On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts by Thomas de Quincey, a satirical essay on exploring murder in an aesthetic light. I’m still slogging through Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez but I’m just not enjoying it as much as I thought I would. This week I’m going to try to make as much progress as I can. The best way out is through, right?


If we were having coffee I would tell you that I’m actually looking forward to next week. The chaos should finally start dying down again and I’ve already said I’m going to do my best to take at least a half-step back from optional job duties but more than that I’m looking forward to using that time for personal pursuits and passions again.

I’ve been missing my old split shift schedule with hours and hours between in which I could pop my ear buds in and type away about nothing at all. I miss my long lunches spent lost in my books. I miss having time to learn something new. I miss having time to think. I miss having time that belonged to me.

Next week is that last one before February begins and I would like to end it on a more fulfilling note that I spent it. I have post drafts I’d love to make progress on, more books to finish, a newsletter I’d like to send out, and collages and found poems I want to make and share. I’m looking forward to time and space to spread out in.


If we were having coffee, I would tell you that the sun has moved on to the west windows and it’s time for me to start looking toward the coming work week. It’s time for chores and preparations. It’s time to go enjoy what’s left of the weekend too.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you haven’t been feeling too stressed or depressed. I hope you’ve had successes and if you haven’t I hope you aren’t too hard on yourself. I hope you’re ready to say goodbye to the first month of 2020 and that February will find you rested and ready to begin again.

Until next time.

Sunday Blues // Julianna Townsend

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Photo by Dmytro Davydenko on Unsplash

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This has been the longest short week ever and even though I’m so happy to have made it through to Friday and even though I can see the light at the end of the tunnel growing brighter by the minute, I know that this day is going to be a hard one to get through. All my favorite coworkers are out, the ones who make me laugh, the ones who have my back and I’m left feeling a little lost and overwhelmed.


Today was just as hard as I knew it would be. I feel overworked and worn thin. I feel empty and on the verge of tears and I feel angry at myself for being so weak. It shouldn’t be so hard to just work the same as everyone else. Of course, I have to remember I’m working at a deficit in body and in mind, and in addition, I’ve had to give up what little energy and focus I have to things I don’t love with my whole heart. Doing that, day after day eats at the soul.


It’s date night tonight! I finally made it out of work and I’m rushing home now so I can quickly change my clothes and head right back out the door. I need a night of good food, a stiff drink, and some time away with my wife. We’re heading to our favorite movie theater for a showing of Jojo Rabbit, a film she’s been pressing to see but I one have doubts about, but it doesn’t matter because I’ll just be happy to be anywhere at all with her.

Update: She was right, Jojo Rabbit is an amazing film and we should have seen it months ago!

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As predicted, another poor night’s sleep has me dragging my feet and snapping at everyone around me. I wish I could do us all a favor and isolate myself but with all the work I have on my plate through next Monday at least I have no choice but to subject all of us to my unpredictable moods.

Coffee is helping and there have been moments of peace I can lose myself into and come out again like the Lisa they all no and love, it’s just that she can’t stay very long.

I have to get back on track with my workout. I really think that will solve so much of my problems with sleep and energy. I’m like a dog wound up too tight with nervous energy. I need to exhaust myself every day to keep those little worries from getting stuck in my head. They get stuck in my head like bits of songs and play on a loop for hours growing louder and louder until my alarm goes off and it’s time to start another day.

Thankfully, the weather is already beginning to warm and this feeling of being cooped up, of boredom and restlessness will pass. Every once in a while I swear I catch the scent of spring in the air. Early yesterday morning it was rain. This afternoon I smelled flowers. Soon nature will return and, in turn, welcome us back to the world with promises of breathtaking beauty and adventure. I cannot wait to be rid of this winter and of who I am in it.

Baruch Spinoza on Free Will

So experience itself, no less clearly than reason, teaches that men [sic] believe themselves free because they are conscious of their own actions, and ignorant of the cause by which they are determined, that the decisions of the mind are nothing but the appetites themselves which therefore vary as the disposition of the body varies.”

Baruch Spinoza, Ethics

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A decent night’s sleep had turned everything around. Now I just need a few more nights in a row like it and I should be back to my old self. My hopes aren’t that high though. I never sleep well more than a night or two at once. I suspect tonight my mind will be back up to it’s old tricks and by tomorrow I’ll be my old lethargic self.

But for now, I feel good. I’m in the mood for work, for people, for trying hard and making progress. Unfortunately, my return to sociability has made painfully clear that my poor mood and lack of patience over the course of the last couple of weeks has burned a few bridges, but that’s okay, they weren’t ones I was eager to cross back over any way. What I care to repair I will and to be honest I only care to repair relationships with people who understand and need no explanations or apology, anyway.

And maybe the time for making up and making things right isn’t while I’m still in the middle of trying to get well, to get off my medication, and to just make it through each day with my self worth and enthusiasm for life intact.