132 // Meaningful to Me

I spent another night tossing and turning, waking in the night, and struggling to fall back asleep. I can’t even remember the last time I slept soundly through a night or didn’t wake up with dark circles and heavy limbs. Still, considering the chronic sleep deprivation, I’m feeling pretty good today.

I feel light, like a weight has been removed from my chest for a time. I wouldn’t quite call it happy, but something very near it or something very far from melancholy, anyway. It’s more of a lack of pain than a euphoria. Sometimes when you’ve been low for so long, just getting to neutral can be a major sense of hope and pride.

Perhaps it’s only that the sun has finally returned, and the workday is scheduled to be an easy one. I feel ready to focus, ready to work, ready for a few steps forward for a change.

I read a blog post today from someone lamenting that they had fallen short of their goal and only finished half of a draft for their next book. I am by no means invalidating the feelings of failure, but couldn’t help thinking how proud this person should be to have had the courage to start at all and to make it halfway! I’m still working on ideas and anxiety. I hope one day to have gathered half the resolve, focus, and determination this blogger has. I hope they know I’m in awe of them.

The most I can ask of myself is to get through a scheduled hour of real writing. Not reading or research, not image editing, not journaling, real writing, followed by some time spent actually editing. When I say real writing, I don’t mean profitable writing, though someday soon I’d love for that to be my pursuit. I mean, writing that is meaningful to me. Writing I hope holds some value for you.

It may only be a personal essay, a poem, or a book review, but it’s writing I take seriously. It’s practice for something bigger and it’s purifying for the psyche and, for now, that’s all I ask from myself and from writing. I suppose it’s all I can ever ask.

Follow Your Anxiety

The School of Anxiety is The School of Greatness // Academy of Ideas

“How each person self-realizes will differ in its particulars, but there is a general formula that can lead us in this direction—some have said follow your bliss, others have said find a passion, Kierkegaard would say follow your anxiety.

Each step on the path to self-realization is patterned the same—envision a possibility that could further our self-creation, experience the anxiety that accompanies the prospect of moving forward into an unpredictable and open-ended future, but move forward regardless. If the possibilities we are unfolding in our life are free of the intermediate determinant of anxiety, this is not a sign of mental health, but instead suggests that we are living in a manner that betrays our potential.”


The title to this video “The School of Anxiety is the School of Greatness” is one of the most encouraging and motivating phrases I have ever read in regards to general anxiety and fear. A shift happened while watching from wanting be rid of my fears, toward a desire to embrace it. For some, for many in fact, this may be the only way to finally move forward.

131 // Thinking About What I Think

Today proved a bit more productive than yesterday, or, perhaps not. Perhaps it was only productive in a different way. While yesterday I could find the time and focus for personal pursuits, today I had to return to work obligations and expectations. It was hard at first and I regret not allocating time for writing when I could but it felt good to make progress in other parts of my life too.

We’re hiring in my department and I’m thinking about what it means to have power and privilege over choosing people. I don’t hold much sway in my workplace but my opinions are at least heard if not always considered or heeded. It feels overwhelming to think you could play a role in someone’s employment. That you could help decide whether they have more work or less, more money or less, or are considered for more opportunities or not.

I’m thinking about what I think makes a good employee or coworker and by what criteria do I choose to recommend someone be brought on or let go. I think I lean too much on my gut and rate social or personal personality traits far too highly. I think too much about whether or not I will like a person and not enough about whether or not they can perform the work.

Whether or not I like them personally is a “me problem” just like if someone doesn’t like me I consider it a “them problem”. I come to my job to perform a function and receive a paycheck that’s all. It is a transaction and whether I enjoy the work or like my coworkers is besides the point, mostly. My point is being liked and making friends is not what I am being paid for and it is not essential to the role I play in my workplace. I should not expect more from others than I believe should be expected of me.

I should see people for their capabilities, their enthusiasm, their contribution to the goals we set as a team and leave the considerations at that. I also should use what little power I do have to further normalize this kind thinking when it comes to who should be offered advancement opportunities.

Be the change and all, you know?

130 // Barely Getting By

Well, this Spring is continuing to bring more clouds and cold than sun or shine, and with it I’m continuing my trend of reclusivity and introspection.

I’m over these clouds and I’m over these pensive swings but rather than wishing for other weather or lighter moods, I’m planning on taking advantage of the ease with which words have been coming to me and spend my time in quiet focus.

The office is empty, and expectations of productivity are low. I’m grateful for the peace but it still doesn’t compare to being at home, cozy in bed, listening to the rain wash down the windows while I read a good book and sip a cup of strong coffee.

There clearly wasn’t enough weekend for me to do all the nothing I wanted because all I can think about now is the nothing I want to do the first chance I get but I expect that freedom won’t come until at least this coming Saturday morning. I’m imposing no expectations of rising early, writing, or working on anything at all. As good as moving through the tasks and to-dos feels, I think a day of doing nothing at all is long, long, long, overdue.

Until then, I’m simply putting one foot in front of the other. I’m breathing and barely getting by with the bare minimum. I’m surviving. I’m warning all my coworkers and loved ones alike—expect a complete lack of enthusiasm and eruptions of fiercely anti-social behaviors through the end of the day with relapses probable through the end of the week.

Sorry, not sorry.

129 // Tomorrows After

It’s getting easier. I woke just after my alarm and though my body protested and made sweet promises, if only I stayed in bed cozy under the covers, I still managed to make my way to the kitchen table to write. The words flowed without needing to be forced. And though I wish I could stay here all day, I’m happy enough with my progress that I can get on with the rest of the day free from resentments and regrets.

Coffee, as always, is the catalyst, but I’m starting to appreciate the motivating effects of a good breakfast and proper hydration. The mind, it turns out, is easier to wrangle when it isn’t preoccupied with your most basic biological needs.


I think this year’s Mother’s Day celebrations were a success! My mom was happy with her nails and the Your Mother’s Story Lined Journal I got her. She’s lead a remarkable and tragic life and I think it’s time we start writing some of her memories down and organizing them into something that could be passed down. My mother-in-law loved her homemade quiche and the signpost my wife built with all her children’s names and the number of miles away they are in any direction.

Now the focus turns to Father’s day, and then a barrage of birthdays through the summer and fall before the end of the year holidays. Looking ahead, suddenly, the time between now and 2022 seems too short and far too filled with stress. Suddenly, looking forward through time, I can feel my chest tighten with the panic of time tick, tick, ticking by. Suddenly life itself is too short.

And just like that, my mind has run away with me. Just like that I can start to spiral. This is why practicing mindfulness has become such a priority in my life. I tell myself that’s why a year lasts as long as it does. You cannot take it all in at once, the way my mind keeps trying to. You have to live it day by day, or, preferably, moment by precious and surprising moment.

This day, this holiday, was a good one. Tomorrow belongs to tomorrow and all the tomorrows after.

128 // Faster Than I Can Cope

Some days are easier than others, this one is proving a lot harder than most. The starting came easier than expected, but the my mood and motivation deteriorated soon after.

It’s the first of our Mother’s Day celebrations. I bought my mom a nice bouquet of flowers and an adorable cactus (her favorite plant) vase to set them in. We went out to the nail salon and had a girls’ day of being papered for a bit. Afterward was a delicious lunch at a restaurant nearby. The outing was fun, but by afternoon fatigue was setting in and my anxiety was rising.

It’s evening now and dark storm clouds are rolling in making me melancholy and lethargic. Looking forward to the next few days of dreary weather, I can’t help feeling pretty low. It seems no one day can ever contain only itself. No matter how hard I try, the past and the future seep in through the cracks faster than I can cope.

127 // Today Counts

It’s been quite a long week, but knowing that this is the last consecutive day that I will have to rise before the sun and head off to work puts my mood miles ahead of where it’s been these past few days.

A good night’s sleep has eluded me since midweek at least, and last night was no different, though the morning headache that’s quickly become my new normal was either less intense, or has become easier to bear with time. Either way, today counts as a good day, or at least I’m choosing to fudge the criteria and to have it included.

The gorgeous weather we are having helps. Looking ahead, dreary downpours and thunderstorms are forecasted for the next four days. I’m not happy about that, but the clouds are not under my control and dwelling does no good. Instead, I made time during lunch for a walk and ate outside to soak up as much sunshine and warmth as I could to see me through.

In addition, the workload is light, all the bosses are out, and there are plenty of coworkers around to get the work done early. Stress levels are low and coping is coming easily. Worries and thoughts of impeding doom feel far away, and I am grateful.

May these kinds of days come more frequently, and may I learn to recognize them more easily when they do.

Be Water

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

― Bruce Lee