I am home from work. In the background, a documentary video shares information I wasn’t seeking about some of the shady practices going on in the food chain. Every now and then, I “tune in” and find myself shaking my head sadly, and mentally contemplating “not having that anymore…” as the show progresses down the grocery aisles.

Disillusionment is a thing. Humans have been human a long time; disillusionment is part of that experience for many (most?).

I’m okay. I’m not even blue. Tired. A little numb (from the neck up) and in a lot of pain. It is evening. I thought I had something in mind that I wanted to do…but tonight I am too tired for… whatever that was. Anything. So tired. Maybe an early night? (I said that last night but had apparently continued to sip on actual (cold, stale) coffee well past 3 pm, so… no. I slept poorly, and very little.)

I think about disillusionment, and not for any specific reason I could name. The documentary still droning on in the background in an appropriate tone of quiet informed outrage may have seeded my mood and my thinking in some way. It irks me anytime it is pointed out that people will cheat people – on purpose – and even seek to justify that in some way that is intended to seem acceptable, or at least excusable. The narrator on this video just keeps pointing it out. Yeah. I get it. People are frighteningly willing to do each other wrong.

I take a deep breath and let that go. Disillusionment tends not to be a problem if I am not attached to some expectation or another. 🙂

I think about the new year ahead.

Crazy busy week last week lead into a vibrant and busy weekend that finished with a long trying drive and a quick and unexpected, thoroughly predictable, bout of stress, anxiety, and a few tears. I totally had a tantrum. Like an exhausted, overstimulated, toddler. My funk didn’t last, and by the end of the evening, last night, I was feeling relaxed and mostly merry, even though I rather carelessly (literally carelessly) left my badge to get into the office behind when I quietly crept out of my Traveling Partner’s residence to avoid waking sleeping party guests, as I prepared for the return trip to my place. I smile thinking about it; best party I’ve been to in a long time. 🙂 I’m not even irked that my morning (and departure) was anything but leisurely – and entirely coffee-free. Well. Not now. lol

Beautiful momentum.

I woke up this morning feeling busy already, the week ahead landed on my consciousness before I got out of bed. Unfortunate. I considered writing. It would have been a choice moment for writing, as a practice. I chose meditation, and housekeeping, instead, and felt decently mild-mannered and appropriately focused when I arrived at work. It didn’t really last… my head is filled buugeng patterns. lol I want to go home and practice more. 😀 Then, about half way through my morning, a quick blast of stress, and the resurrection of a personal demon. Even that didn’t last long. I got past it sufficiently to wrap up a productive workday in the usual fashion. The day began and ended rather well. The commute home was neither nauseating nor enraging (win!).

I got home still carrying some stress from earlier. Nothing weird or major (for me)(these days); money. Money damage. Money baggage. Money triggers. Money symptoms. I’d have done anything to numb those sensations and emotions, even 3-4 years ago, to ignore them, shut them out, to turn away. I don’t know exactly when my thinking changed on this, but really, it wasn’t worth fighting myself over it. I sat down and planned my 2018 budget, looked for (and found a couple) opportunities to be more efficient, more accurate, and therefore more realistic (and successful?). It felt good to finish that, to have a good plan… to be on my own side. 🙂

The stress that had lingered in the background is gone. So is most of the evening – and I don’t feel at all cheated by that. I may even feel… entertained? Satisfied, at least. That’s often the resulting emotion (for me) when I am skillful on some self-care task, satisfaction. Comfort? A certain settled safe feeling that seems to accompany being able to count on me to take care of myself. 🙂

I chuckle when I realize “plan 2018 budget” was never on my to do list… so… I add it, then I check it off. A nice finish to the day. Tomorrow, I can begin again.

I love this holiday season. I love giving gifts. Before I understood the challenges my TBI can sometimes present me, I regularly spent myself into negative numbers every year; I didn’t really care about that as much as I wanted to give, just a little more. Small gifts. Big gifts. Unexpected gifts. Handcrafted gifts. Funny thing… I didn’t at all recognize the importance (to me) of giving, at that time. I didn’t recognize the annual yearning to shop – in order to give. It’s fairly specific to gifts. I don’t consider myself charitable in a noteworthy way. I really really like giving a moment of delight to someone dear to me, most of all.

Tonight, I had a couple such moments, myself. I’m still smiling.

First, I arrived home to a rather large package on the stoop. Like… can’t get the door open large. Push it off the stoop to get the door open, because it’s both large and also too heavy to properly lift with ease, large. Large. It’s not for me. It’s for someone else. I laughed and laughed as I struggled with it in the blustery cold autumn evening. I don’t know why it tickled me so much that the physical size of the packaging was so much larger than I expected it to be. Expectations. Man. Damn. Avoid those if you can. lol They can be so misleading.

Then, I remembered to grab the mail on the way in. So much to do this evening… I almost forgot to check the mail. There was just one large-ish plain white envelope in the mailbox. I opened absent-mindedly as I returned to the house, thinking it to be something from the VA, or something of that sort. It turns out instead to be a sweet and wholly unexpected gift – even a tad exotic. I’m still smiling.

So, laundry, dishes, chores generally – and a smile in every direction. I’ll see my Traveling Partner this weekend, and celebrate holidays, birthdays, and friendships under a starring winter sky. The thought reminds me to add a couple things to the morning to do list. There are gifts for birthdays going with me, and I am too excited to give them (although they are wee and of no great consequence) to let myself forget them. 😀 I smile again, thinking of giving a friend a ride to the party. That verb. Give. 🙂 There’s a feeling to it.

The evening begins to wind down. Evenings seem more about finishing things, don’t they, and less about beginnings. I’m okay with that. Things end. It’s not an idea worth fighting. lol

Home. It’s quiet here. I’ve got my hot cup of surprisingly delicious off brand decaf right here. Did I mention the quiet? I definitely need the quiet. lol

I get home many evenings incredibly aggravated, somewhat stressed, sometimes even to the point of being angry; it’s fairly reliably shitty commute. I use it to practice Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. Sometimes that helps. Each time that it does help, I’m taken just a bit less by surprise, and it’s just a tiny tiny bit more effective. I guess I keep practicing.

Tonight prescription strength pain relief is needed. I take it, like a proper grown up, aware of the risks, the rewards, the need to be cautious, and the need, even, to be aware. It’s the sort of thing I even keep track of, understanding that leaving it to memory is foolhardy, with my issues in the memory department. But, after a time, I begin to feel less pain. The relief is welcome; it’s been a difficult painful (pain filled) day.

…but the view was lovely…

I make a meal, healthy calories, and sit down with it undistracted for a few minutes. Self-care. Weight and fitness goals in mind. I enjoy the meal.

It is a simple evening, composed of simple pleasures, and as much mindful awareness moment to moment as I can comfortably manage. It’s easier now that I’m not pre-occupied with discomfort. I’ve no need or inclination to make it any more complicated, or fancy, or elaborate – or evening “meaningful”. Just this simple “now” is quite enough.

Packages come. Giftmas is approaching pretty quickly, and the thought of it restarts my smile, which was knocked off my face some time ago after foolishly dipping into the news of the day. Don’t. Just… yeah. Don’t read the feed. Damn. Sometimes, it’s more important to take a step back and care for ourselves, and nurture our spirits, than to be “informed”. Well… that’s an opinion, obviously. Mine. Works for me. Your results may vary.

The rest of the evening looks wonderful for some long while meditating. Later, some strength training. A shower. A book. It’s a quiet evening. I definitely need this quiet evening, tonight. 🙂 Then, tomorrow? Yes, of course – tomorrow I’ll save the world. Well…or… I can at least be the tiniest bit better, generally, as a human being, than I have been today. It’s at least a start.

I like a good beginning. 🙂

Today wasn’t hard. The morning commute was unusually easy, and there seemed less traffic for no obvious reason. I got to the office and got to work, and it was, in most regards, an utterly ordinary work day. A bit busy.

I managed to be fairly pre-occupied with internal matters, my own agenda, my continued dogged consideration of my health and fitness. I returned to SuperBetter; it has worked so well for me before. It’s not an “issue-specific” tool customized to address matters of weight or fitness or health, generally, but… it is (for me) a fantastic general purpose tool for managing cognitive change – and like it or not, treating my weight issues (as in: I’m fat) and health concerns (as in: I’m not 100% well, and I’m aging) as solely physical matters has not served me well; my brain keeps getting in the way. So. Brain first then, is it? Apparently, it is.

There are a couple “cheats” – “life hacks”, if you will – that I find reliably helpful. One of those is so old school I feel a little hesitant to bring it up – you might laugh. Accountability. Yep. Visibility. The awareness of a goal even existing – but not just any awareness. I mean, mentioning my intention, say, to the very pleasant woman living next door with whom I share only a very limited association, coming and going as we do, would not be likely to increase my own ongoing moment-to-moment awareness of my goals, or make me self-conscious about my choices. That’s what accountability does; it increases my awareness, and makes me more (self)conscious – it pushes choices that might have been made on auto-pilot back into the bright light of conscious will. My conscious will. Friends, though? That works sometimes – depends on the friend. Depends on the trust and the intimacy and the honesty. It depends on how authentically I choose to live – and how authentically my friend chooses to live. For me, respect and vulnerability, a shared journey – those things help, too. “We’re in this together”, on positive terms – even with different goals – really “lightens the load”, emotionally. So, I reached out to a friend. It’s hard to do that, too. It’s hard to deal with the baggage on life’s journey, right up until it becomes apparent that setting it down is also an option. This particular bit of baggage has gotten way to heavy. (lol lol lol lol lol lol omg. I’m sorry, sort of. 🙂 )

It’s evening. It’s not as quiet as one my expect, particularly reading my work for any while. lol South Park episodes are playing on the TV in the living room, but I’m not there. I’m in the studio, at my desk, with you… and I have headphones on, because I meant to listen to music…but I’m not listening to music, just my tinnitus. Sipping coffee, writing, and ignoring the random video on autoplay on another browser tab. Fucking weird creatures, we human primates, aren’t we? When I realize the distracting buzz of noises may have been intended in some way to drown out the emotional intensity of facing the big bad scary issue of losing some weight, no spin, no filters, no safe space, I get annoyed/amused with myself, and turn off all of the noise and listen. Just that. Just… take a moment to be here. Be okay. Be okay with being here. Be okay with being here, still fat. lol All of that. More. There is work to do. The “heavy lifting” isn’t in pounds – it’s all in my head, or in my chemistry, but – probably manageable? Changeable over time with practice? No miracles. No games. I expect to get angry, sad, frustrated, blue – but I’ve felt those emotions before, and they’re part of my experience, too. That’s not so scary, looked at that way. I look my fears in the face and laugh (bravely?) – my fears gently stare me down with the confidence of years of kicking my ass without effort. Still. Change is a thing.

I finish my coffee.