It’s a frigid and snowy day today, the exact kind of day I hate. Of course the one day of the week winter decides to show up is the one where I have the busiest schedule and, of course, the very people who where supposed to help me stayed home. It might be a good thing though. I’ve always preferred the solo projects.

I’m just being crabby because I haven’t been able to do anything much for me and I know that this weekend will be busy too and now that I think about it next Monday feels awfully close already. The days are growing drab and mundane and nothing feels all that important or worth the effort. Everything is exhausting. Everything is at best an irritation and at worst a waste.

Let the seasonal depression begin.

Today is another easy day, and my mood is much improved from yesterday. It’s definitely a better day than yesterday. Time is moving along a lot faster and I’m much more inclined to speak to and even hold conversations with my coworkers. I’m not being as productive as I would like though.

But, there is a tradeoff between interacting with other people and working toward my goals. I can’t do both at once, but both are essential to my well being so how do I choose? I swing wildly between wanting to do one or the other and often regret whichever I end up doing. Perhaps that’s because I don’t know how to end one and switch to the other. I spend all day with others or alone, never half-and-half, never even a 90/10 split. It’s always all or the other.

Balance, boundaries, and having the courage to say no are all skills I have to strengthen.

I’m doing good this morning. I slept well and very little is being asked of me which means I can get a lot of small personal tasks out of the way and spend the afternoon on my larger goals. I’m feeling disciplined.

I’ve been practicing doing the “hard things” and it’s getting easier and easier. I’m getting better at focusing, writing, reading, and learning when all I want to do is nothing at all—in the mornings when I’m tired, when I’m hungry, when I wish things were different and that I was better.

As happy as I am with myself right now, my patience with other people is at an all-time low. Small talk is exhausting, irritating, wasteful. I have things to do and I resent others for diverting my attention or suggesting that there are other things I should be doing.

The day has been downhill since the morning. I’m home now and I’m so tired. I’m so I barely feel like myself. I’m empty, on the verge of tears, maybe. An unshakeable melancholy sits in my chest though I don’t know why. But I’m home now, thank god. Things are easier here with my wife, the dog, and the cat all willing to comfort and distract me from the day I have had.

Tomorrow I’ll be halfway there, thank god.

Monday’s are hard, this one was no exception. I went to bed far too late, took a long time to fall asleep, and woke up many times during the night. I woke up exhausted and stayed that way all day. There was not enough coffee in the world so i didn’t try. I stuck to myself and took it as easy as I could.

I read a lot, and caught up on old journal posts here. I plugged away at a few drafts and made a little bit of progress on Coursera. The day felt long but there still weren’t enough hours.

I’m home now and feeling a lot more present and motivated. I’m more like myself again. I took care of a few things I have been avoiding lately and cleared some mental space in preparation for tomorrow. I’m looking forward and trying like hell not to dwell on my shortcomings.

Little by little. Anything is better than nothing. Making progress, any progress, that is all that matters. That is what I am choosing to focus on.

Goals // Week 43

Prepare for National Blog Posting Month. I wasn’t sure NaBloPoMo was still a thing until I saw this post from Ra Avis inviting bloggers to join her team of “Cheer Peppers“. I signed up and fully intend to complete the challenge but I need a plan of action or I’ll never make it. This week I want to settle on a theme and fill in an editorial calendar with post titles. Next week I’ll start the drafts.

Update: I now have a beautiful Google sheet filled in with 30 topics and almost all of them have corresponding drafts set up in WordPress.

Make a couple of cut up and black out collages and poems. I’ve mentioned it before but creating these simple and shareable pieces feels akin to meditation—it’s calming, grounding, centering, it brings me into the present and allows me to let go of my emotions for a time. This is the only activity I do where it feels more about the process than the product and while I think they are dumb things to make I feel like they are more important than anything I create in any other realm of my life.

Update: This week was exhausting, and the weekend was filled up with social events, cooking, and house projects. There was simply nothing left for creativity.

Finish reading Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky. I have just over 100 pages left to go if I read just 20-30 pages a day I can finally move on to something a little more mindless and fun. This book is amazing but I’m desperate for something that is stimulates my emotions and not just my mind, you know?

Update: Normally I spend my lunches at work reading but this week I, quite strangely, felt up to socializing instead. I should have picked a day or two to seclude myself but I was easily distracted.

Finish week 4 of International Women’s Health and Human Rights and week 8 of Modern & Contemporary American Poetry. This one might be hard. I’ve had trouble concentrating on the reading (reading from a screen makes my comprehension levels plummet) and following the videos is exhausting (I’m too easily distracted), with such limited time and willpower I have doubts about my ability to finish either.

Update: Plain and simple, I needed a break. These courses have grown tedious for me and while I know that once I’m done I’ll feel better, and while I also know the only way to get done is to do the work, I couldn’t make myself do even a little bit.

Take care of myself. I had a bad cold a couple of weeks ago and even though I’m about 99% over it (and the resulting ear infection) some symptoms continue to linger. I have to remember that for someone with a chronic illness a simple cold can be very difficult to recover from. I have to drink lots of water, take all of my medication. go to bed on time, and relax as much as I can.

Update: I did okay but I have not been keeping on time of my diet changes or my medication schedule. Sometimes I get angry about all the work I have to put into myself and sometimes I just give up…

This week I’m keeping my expectations low. If I can’t get through all of my goals, that’s ok. The reality is I have a packed schedule at work and social events to prepare for over the weekend that will severely limit the time I have for myself and the things I love. The point is just to try, to be happy, and to appreciate any effort.

Photo by Jake Blucker on Unsplash

So, we started watching Mindhunter on Netflix again and somehow, this time I am completely taken in by the show. The last time I tried it I felt it was not only slow but pointless too. This time I can’t stop watching. It’s well past my bedtime now and even with the knowledge that even if I went to bed right now I’d be miserable I have opted for another 50 minute episode.

It’s strange how you hard it is to resist cravings and impulses, how alluring the pull of instant gratification, and how, even with the certainty that the choice you are making is the worst one for you, you can happily do the exact wrong thing.

Tomorrow is going to be tough.

The weekend is already too short and I still have a whole day and a half left of it. Hell, I had three days of weekend leading up to it, and it’s still not enough. I’m convinced that rime away from work is no way to reset and return with renewed energy and motivation. No, the more time you have off the harder it is to return to work and the harder it is to find fulfillment in what you have no passion for.

Knowing this, I have decided to make time today for what I do have a passion for. I’m writing, some, I’m making progress on Coursera readings and videos, and reading, a lot. I’m doing it all from the couch, which probably isn’t the best idea, but I have directed my brain not to consider the TV a priority. Wish me luck.

Today is like an empty vessel that needs filling but nothing seems to fit or feel right. I don’t know what to spend my time on. Rest sounds nice but I don’t want to give it too many hours but doing anything else feels like asking too much.

It turned out to be a rather productive day. I cleaned out the car, cleaned up the kitchen, made a cut out poem, submitted my assignment for week 3 of International Women’s Health and Human Rights, and read nearly 100 pages of Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky.

I wish I could have done more. I could have, but I chose to lose hours watching T.V. with my wife. I don’t wish I had spent fewer hours doing that in exchange…I just wish I could have done more of both. I wish I could have more hours, more energy, more of all the things I love. I suppose I should just be grateful for what I have. It was a rather productive day after all, and it was a loving one too.

That is so much more than most people get in 24 hours.

I accidentally took a 3 hour nap and now it feels like the whole day is gone. I know it isn’t really but my disappointment and depression are working closely together to keep me from seizing what is left. I just want to keep on sleeping and to be honest I’m already dreading work next Monday. Why am I like this?

The evening turned out better. I’m always shocked by how romantic browsing the labyrinth of IKEA can feel. Their showrooms and carefully laid out furniture sections make it easy to plan your home together without feeling enclosed by aisles and the reality of other people. We didn’t walk away with the bookshelves we came for but only because I found something better and have to measure the rooms to make sure they will fit.

After shopping it was burgers and beers, fried pickles and banana pudding for dinner at my favorite casual dining place. I normally hate beer but I tried a Station 26 Tangerine Cream Pale Ale, and it was amazing! It actually tasted like tangerine, but it also tasted like beer. Perhaps is hope for me yet that I might join the world of beer lovers and learn to drink this golden brew without wanting to puke.

And now we’re home and staying up late to scare ourselves watching In The Tall Grass on Netflix, a horror film apparently based on a Stephen King and Joe Hill novella. I can’t wait for the nightmares.

Starting fall break a little earlier than I originally planned to and though I regret the lower paycheck already, it was rather nice.

Most of the morning was for tweaking little blog things and setting up some drafts. I joined up with the Cheer Peppers for National Blog Posting Month in November on impulse and I am scrambling to figure out what exactly that means now. I pretty much post here everyday anyway so the challenge should be something more than what I am already doing, right?

In the afternoon I accompanied a loved one on their first therapy appointment for moral and emotional support. That means I spent over an hour and a half sitting in a waiting room alone watching the videos and doing the reading for week 8 of Modern & Contemporary American Poetry. It was a good use of my time. I got some personal goals accomplished, and I got to be a good friend/loved one to someone who I care about and who needed me.

I’ll admit that much of much of my self-worth comes from what I can give to others and who knows that I can be counted on, but I’m ok with that. There are worse things to hinge your sense of self on I suppose.

I spent most of the evening I’ve been playing with collage things and working on little blackout/cut out poems and before I head to bed, I plan to make progress with Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert M. Sapolsky.

It was a fulfilling day.