I will soon be measuring self-care in miles kilometers… or maybe pounds kilograms. I’m looking forward to my camping trip. Excited about the location. Excited about the downtime. Giving my gear a little side-eye. There is real effort involved in packing my gear to the site, and then packing it back out. I’m not even bitching – a lot of things require a handful of verbs and some real effort. Sweat.

The forecast is for some sunny summer weather. Not horrifically hot (or I’d cancel and stay home), and definitely summer. There is a small chance of rain showers about mid-way through my trip. My Traveling Partner teases me about the potential I may give up on it and come home early. I often do. About 40% of my camping plans face some sort of significant change between plan and execution. I don’t take that personally about myself – it’s not a lack of commitment to the adventure. It’s more a firm commitment to skillfully taking care of myself. I’m okay with that. 😀

I still haven’t found my Kindle. My Traveling Partner gently suggests, perhaps, maybe, there is some limited potential that I may have, inadvertently, tossed it out in some careless or absent-minded moment? I can’t eliminate that possibility. I’ll no doubt have to replace it at some point. In the meantime, it’s not a high priority, and I’ve got plenty of bound books. I pick a couple for the trip. My partner buys me a book he thinks I’d enjoy and I add that to my items to be packed.

Looks like an interesting selection. Where to begin? Feynman.

I am looking forward to this handful of hot days with a light heart. A few miles on the trail and a couple days in the trees with my camera sounds really good, and I am ready to go. 🙂 One more night of good sleep here at home, and coffee with this human being I hold so dear, and then… some time listening to myself think. 😀

It’s time to begin again.

Life is filled with mysteries and unanswered questions. This is my own experience, if nothing else. These mysteries come in all sizes, from the petty to the cosmic in scale, varying in philosophical and existential significance.

“Where did we come from?”

“How do I work this?”

“Where is the matching sock to this one?”

“Where did I leave my keys?”

“How do I say this?”

“How do I get there?”

“Friend or foe?”

“Have I forgotten to pack something I definitely need?”

“What is my favorite color/food/book/movie…?”

“What are the steps to making a perfect cup of coffee?”

“Where the hell did I put my Kindle?”

It’s that last wee mystery that’s been on my mind for a couple days now. I have a clear recollection of where was before it seemed to completely disappear. 🤔 I have, so far, avoided creating chaos by tearing apart every room in the house… but I haven’t yet found it. Honestly, it can’t have gone far. Fucking thing has a bright pink cover autographed in black sharpie by several nerdcore rappers; hard to miss. Definitely doesn’t look like anything else.

Where is it??

I have a potentially misleading memory of knocking it to the floor carelessly as I dozed off one evening… I have looked everywhere that could have occurred, and even moved furniture to look under things. It’s so very much not any of those places I’ve been gaslighting myself wondering if I only dreamt that detail. I am overly certain that it is not packed in any of my camping gear… and I am second-guessing that now, too.

Where is it??

Again and again I refrain from getting stuck in an anxiety loop; it’s just a Kindle after all, and quite an old one. My Traveling Partner gave it to me for Giftmas about 10 years ago. It’s replaceable, although the cover is not (it’s autographed). Still, it’s just a thing. It isn’t even my only access to the ebooks in my library.

Where is it??

It’s the mystery vexing me, more than the potential loss. Misplacing things is not particularly uncommon for me. I have a pretty exceptional built in “finder”, so these sorts of really challenging mysteries are fairly rare, but I do have a couple lasting memories of weird losses, found much (much) later in the oddest place… This is looking to be one of those.

Strangely, I am less anxious about losing my Kindle than I am deeply curious about where the hell it will turn out to be. 😆

…In the meantime, I’ll be camping for a few days without being easily able to take along almost infinite reading material; I’ll have to actually choose a book I want to read such that I am willing to carry it. Choices.

It’s time to let this go and begin again.

Sometimes we choose change. Sometimes change is simply part of the flow of events around us and we see it coming. Sometimes change is dropped on us unexpectedly, rocking us off our center and creating chaos.

This week I got laid off from a job I really enjoyed. Good culture. Great colleagues. Good pay and benefits. I’ll miss all of that. Change is.

Getting the news in the moment was hard. It was unexpected, and it was an intensely emotional personal experience in a professional setting. Uncomfortable. I feel fortunate to have experience practicing non-attachment. I feel fortunate to have a romantic partnership built on shared values and mutual respect that supports and encourages me through change. I feel fortunate that we are relatively well-prepared for something like this, and that the job market looks very promising, in spite of so much news about companies doing lay-offs. (There are just as many articles about companies hiring, and no shortage of opportunities in my feeds.) So, it becomes a matter of practices (like meditation, like non-attachment, like good self-care) suddenly becoming relevant (…”this is not a drill!”), and supremely helpful.

I woke yesterday to the relative luxury of my time being wholly my own. I took time to get a sunrise walk in, camera in hand. Spent some hours in the co-work space I favor, focused on various job search tasks. Got my unemployment claim started. Kicked off a variety of queries of job postings of various sorts. Applied for a couple that look like a decent fit for my skills, mostly to get comfortable with the process again. In due time, the interviews will begin to dictate my time, and eventually it’ll be back to work. 🙂

This morning, after my morning camera hike, I went back to the house for a leisurely morning coffee with my Traveling Partner. It was a relaxed morning of this-n-that, and then back to the co-work space. Later I’ll do some leg-work for my partner’s business. Life feels pretty good.

Change is. I don’t expect this will “always” feel easy, but I sure am enjoying that it feels easy right now.

I look at the clock and grin; it doesn’t dictate my experience right now. It’s still time to begin again.

Omg, just… fuck this entire day, already. I’d laugh but I’m still working through pulling myself back from the brink of this absolutely pointless and unproductive tantrum. Honestly, I suspect I’m just thoroughly “peopled out” and then some; I really really really earnestly and most definitely just need a real break and some time (days) alone. It feels like one thing after another, right now, and I’m at grave risk moment-to-moment of losing perspective. I mean – it could be worse. I could be living a life that puts me at real risk of actual harm. This is not that. I could be struggling to survive at all, and this is not that, either. I’m just fussy, and over having to attend to the demands of others around me (without regard to whether those are reasonable, or whether I’m paid to deal with those). Over. It. I need some me time, and I’ve let this need go unmet too long, most recently simply because I was too sick to enjoy the plans I had made to meet this need – the postponement was necessary. Now I’ve just got to get through this week…

…One new beginning at a time.

So, yeah. I’m cross. My morning hike was okay. The sunrise was lovely. It was fine. Hard to find real satisfaction in it; my Traveling Partner woke while I was out on the trail. Our first (digital) interaction was complicated by my involvement with other things and his pre-coffee state. Misunderstanding and miscommunication – sorted out before I returned home, but before any of that, it distracted me from my own experience and what I was doing (for myself) in the moment. Later I got to be talked-down-to by a stranger helping my neighbor next door. He could not have known I am an artist and I work in color – a lot – or that I’m knowledgeable about such matters. A discussion between my partner and I about the color the house next door is being painted opened the door for this other person to “helpfully” interject his opinions. I managed not to bite his head off, but I was on the edge of being rude when I firmly dismissed his opinion and turned my back. Two or three more such moments, in the context of the work day, stacked up on each other and I’m just fucking done. I have shit to do, and prefer to be quietly productive and not interrupted. So far, even that isn’t working out ideally well.

I end up starting my Monday cross with the world, and daydreaming about my upcoming camping trip intently. I keep pulling myself back to the work in front of me – which reminds me how irritable I am, all over again. Not my best bit of adulting, today. I let my irritability keep driving me to follow-up on the details. Power bricks all charged? No? Do that. Hey, how about that Kindle? Am I taking it? Maybe? Is it charged? No? Do that, too. Camera batteries all fully charged? They get their turn on the charger, too. Are my toiletries packed for camping? I make a note to tackle that on a break, later. Little details that matter out on the trail; I just keep at it. The thoughts come. I put them to use. It’s one way to burn off some of this irritation through useful activity. My results vary, but I figure if I just keep at it, eventually I’ll be over my bullshit.

No idea what the noise outside is… sounds like someone cranking an engine that will not start. Could be something to do with the painting going on next door. A construction project in my partner’s shop? I just want to work. I just want to stop hearing things. My tinnitus is so loud… how is there still all this annoying noise?? I breathe. Exhale. Relax. Remind myself to let it go; none of this, not any of it, is at all personal – even my irritability is likely more symptomatic than “about” anything happening right now. I put on noise canceling ear-covering heavily padded headphones. No music. Just… quiet. It’s that day. At least right now. Now I’ve simply got to nudge myself in the direction of beginning again…

What a fucked up mess this moment is. I mean, it could be worse. Really, I’m fine. I’m just… an emotional pile of shit. Chaos and damaged piled high, this morning. I didn’t see it coming. So often, on days when I yield to unexpected fortuitous happiness, joy, or profoundly good moods, I don’t see the twist that sends it spiraling off course equally unexpectedly (and with a whole fuck-ton more baggage, resentment, and disappointment … in the moment, in myself, and yeah, even with the entire fucking world).

Um… no, I don’t have any helpful suggestions for these sorts of trying moments. I suppose, besides being utterly human, they are also probably more commonplace than any one of us damaged fucked up little chaos primates would like them to be. Fuck my bullshit – and fuck yours too. Sorry. I mean… I hope you’re having a good day (legit). Right now, I’m not, and I’m still seething, and stuck on the edge of tears. It’s not “necessary”. It’s not even “rational”. (It’s definitely not “rational” – these are emotions, for fucks sake.) “Wait it out.” That’s a suggestion; these things pass. “Breathe” is another helpful-ish sort of suggestion. I mean… that one is sometimes like telling a hysterical person to “calm down”, though; it’s correct and useful for what it is, but who the hell wants to hear that shit in the moment?? Nope. Me either.

So…yeah. Fucked up moments are a thing in our human experiences. Sometimes our hysterics, tantrums, or blow-ups make sense for scale, urgency, or magnitude of our hurt… other times not so much. I can only point out that refraining from taking action in the heat of the moment, and ideally even mustering some self-restraint with regard to what we might choose to say out loud, makes a lot of fucking sense – but it won’t end the moment (or our hurt) any sooner. Just reduces the mess there is to clean up afterward.

Around here? Nothing damaged, nothing broken, no one injured, no violence occurs… it’s just sad and frustrating and disappointing and aggravating (and did I say sad?) when tempers flair, or feelings get hurt. My head aches from the stress, and from crying. My Traveling Partner has gone a long way toward soothing hurts and trying to heal the moment; he’s pretty good like that. I am less skilled at that sort of thing, and I’m a bit “stuck” right now. Nope, no advice to offer from the perspective of “in it” right now – only perspective. It’ll pass. I know that with certainty. Emotional weather, just a squall. The climate around here is exceptionally pleasant. Weather still happens. (It’s a metaphor.) It’s a bit of an endurance test, and I know I can pass.

…I’ve just got to begin again…

…Sometimes that isn’t easy.