Archives for category: more than a little bit of bitching

I don’t mean the icy mornings of autumn in my titular reference to “chill” – I mean that fully relaxed state of being in which self-awareness leads observation to a well-spring of contentment in non-attachment to specific outcomes. 🙂 The chill chill. Calm. Still. At ease.

…My coffee is long gone. My most recent break was little more than an excuse to take an Rx pain reliever. Headache. Arthritis. Tennis elbow? (Well, or something unreasonably similar.) The afternoon sunshine sneaks into the studio on an angle, illuminating a tissue box on my desk, beneath and behind my monitor(s), giving it seeming significance of some kind. It has none. It’s a trick of the light. Like this blog post; it has no import, no real gravitas, no significance, just… words. A moment. A break from routine. A few swallows of water, and a mental “reset button” pressed, moving on to another task. I am here, now. I am okay. Nothing to see here. Nothing much to share. Still…

…And I do mean “still”… I think about a friend’s recent observation that she is struggling to “get a minute of peace”. I think about other similar remarks from friends (and readers – I see you!). Me, too. Sometimes busy is far too busy, chaos is too chaotic, and breaks are a challenge to take properly. Have you tried this…? It’s a good starting point on finding that quiet moment, when quiet moments are hard to come by.

…It helps to have a good pair of headphones, too… 🙂

I pause and take my own advice for two minutes. I end up feeling more refreshed than I expect to…but also already looking forward to the end of the actual day, hours from now, when I can flop down onto my bed and just give in to fatigue quite completely. Taking more breaks, more skillfully, would probably really help with the enduring fatigue that has chased me down since daylight savings time ended. Damn I wish we’d get smarter and stop doing that.

…Work interrupts me interrupting work to grab a break. Yeah… this is more complicated than it looks, sometimes. I breathe. Exhale. Relax. I push my mind firmly off the work topic, and back to writing for a couple minutes. I know taking proper breaks results in more efficient (and faster, and more skillful) work… so I also find myself, often, wondering where the hell I got the reluctance to do it…? Strange, isn’t it? It’s such an important self-care detail, too. I wonder, also, if this bit of weirdness is cultural (unique to American workers?) or regional, or universal, or… and then I find that I’ve descended into yet another work “rabbit hole” – my field of endeavor being to do with how people work, and how much time things take, and how many people a task or job will require to do well… LOL Fuuuuuuck. This is hard. Clearly I need more practice…

…Only now it’s already time to begin (work) again. 😉

I woke too early this morning, got up to pee, went back to bed to grab a few more minutes of precious sleep. So tired. Ready for it. I laid down, instantly comfortable, and started to drift off…

…The world seemed to spin madly off its axis unexpectedly. Vertigo. Fuck. How bad would it be this time? I held on to the edge of the bed (no idea why it reliably seems this should help, it doesn’t, really), hoping it might just clear up right quick and perhaps I’d still sleep… No such luck. I rolled ever-so-carefully onto my back, reminding myself continuously in my head that the spinning isn’t real. I reminded myself to remain calm. To breathe through it. To let things settle down, patiently. This makes about half a dozen serious vertigo “events” I’ve experienced since the first one, which was, as I recall, back in 2014? 2015? Before I moved into my own place. After menopause, but before the headache came. It doesn’t matter in the moment that I’m enduring the vertigo, just gives my mind something to play with while I wait it out… like a string, offered to a cat. I remind myself to follow up with my GP that the vertigo is still “a thing”.

Best I can figure, with what I know, I most likely slept in one posture for too long, that may have pressed my neck “too bent” in one specific direction (in this case, tilted away from my left side toward my right, as I slept) and when I laid back down (on the other side, head bent in the other direction)… vertigo. It remains sufficiently rare that I count and make note of every occurrence. It’s problematic mostly because, from my own perspective, it is scary as fuck. It passes, though.

I moved on with the morning. Greeted my Traveling Partner. Made coffee. Read the news, briefly (long enough to be certain I didn’t find anything word actually reading waiting for me). Then face getting on with the work day ahead of me.

When I sat down at my desk, I leaned left (and tilted my head, also left) to turn on my laptop – vertigo. Fucking hell. I sit upright. Posture very correct. Very still. Breathing. Waiting. Holding the edge of my desk. When it passes, I go back to sipping coffee and start the work day.

It’s worth noting that I’ve recently been trying to get back to working on fitness goals. I enjoy playing Beat Saber in VR for some of my exercise – super fun. I started getting back into that over the weekend after some months away from it (the move, then time just got away from me). It’s rather taxing on my neck, and seems the likely cause of this recurrence of my vertigo. I find myself bothered that it has become “my vertigo”… a thing I deal with often enough to consider it a thing I deal with. Fuck.

Well… damn. I guess it amounts to another opportunity to practice healthy practices. To take better care of the woman in the mirror. To take my fitness needs seriously, but also approach them with consideration and care. To be patient with myself. To be thorough about taking note of changes in my health generally. Adult shit.

The day has begun in earnest. The sky is gray, the day chilly. My arthritis pain is noteworthy, but I am distracted by my concern over the vertigo, and overlook it for now. I need more coffee. There is a long holiday weekend ahead, and it’s already time to begin again. 🙂

I hurt today. Soaking helped some. Medication helped some. Morning yoga helped some. I still hurt. I’m cross, and finding it hard to deal with people gently. Pain is not visible – still complicates my interactions. Everything from a partner’s heartfelt well-intentioned fitness reminders that seem to overlook how much pain I am in to a colleague’s pleasant inquiry whether I am “having a bad day” (nope, just pain) that lacks any context regarding the one thing truly amiss (pain). I am as frustrated with the lack of ability to really drive the message home in a way that sticks with loved ones (it’s almost always just pain) as I am with my lack of ability to do anything substantial to reduce my day-to-day pain in a reliable way. Neither bit of frustration is the slightest help for actually improving anything whatsoever.

I breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let go of the frustration. Let go of being annoyed by the fairly steady lack of any real helpfulness involved in asking me what can be done to help. Let go of being annoyed with being reminded to do things that are good for my physical wellness, but so very difficult to embrace because I just fucking hurt. Let go of the whining about any of it (while I whine about all of it, right here). Just… let it go. Feel the love instead of the futility. It’s a tall fucking ask, I grant you that. One more thing to do, it sometimes seems…and sometimes I just feel so… tired. I take a breath, and let that go, too. Even that. Let it go.

There are tears in my eyes. Less the pain than the frustration with the pain. Sometimes it’s hard. Challenging. “The struggle is real.” I try to stop struggling and just surrender to this moment, here, now. It’s not a bad moment. It’s got some nice points to it. The work day almost over. Nice. Warm cup of noodles next to me waiting for my attention – a satisfying small bite of lunch, once it’s ready. Nice. The rain has paused and it looks like a good day to walk – I even have a purposeful destination in mind that should be within my fitness “reach”. Nice. All of that is good stuff. None of that is specifically about the pain I am in. I sit with that perspective instead, for a while.

…These noodles are ready, and it’s already time to begin again. I put the work in front of me on pause, and take care of this fragile vessel. For now, that’s enough.

Rainy weather has returned to the Pacific northwest. I’m okay with it – I like the rain. It’s pure unfortunate coincidence that my arthritis pain flares up in wet weather. Also, right before wet weather. Also, when the weather isn’t entirely certain whether it wants to be wet or dry, or chilly, or cold… I mean, it’s not much of an exaggeration to admit that my pain subsides most notably in very hot, dry weather in hot, dry climates… and that’s not even “for sure”. I can’t count on it.

Rainy autumn days aren’t even rare or surprising around here.

I can at least count on change. Change is. I hurt right now, and I see the sun peaking out from behind morning rain clouds. Well, okay… so… this moment is painful, but the next one? It’s not a given, and I don’t know. Allowing room for uncertainty, in this instance, is supremely helpful. Rain or not, and whether or not I am in pain, I’ve got a life to live.

Perhaps a walk later?

I started out for a walk yesterday. The rain took a sudden turn for the worse and the tickle became a downpour that wasn’t well-suited to long walks. I shrugged it off and returned home. I glance at the time, and at the sunshine filling the studio, for now, with warmth and light. Maybe the sunshine will still be around later this afternoon?

I take a breath, and relax. I stretch, and get up from my chair and move around some. I take a moment to recall whether I’ve already taken anything for my pain today…? Maybe it’s time. The day continues, as days tend to do.

It’s time to begin again.

I slept poorly. I slept very little. I woke to the alarm, set for the latest acceptable time to wake before a work day. I made coffee…

…Pretty much all down hill from there, so far. “It is what it is.” I’m in pain. I’m slowed way down with fatigue. I’m cross… with pretty much the world, and everything in it. I’m easily frustrated. Easily angered.

…Did I mention the crossness?

I sat down to work with zero enthusiasm. It’s a very human experience. I’m glad the week is at its end; I’m over it, for sure.

Nothing much sounds any good right now. No solutions that I could consider seem worth considering. If it were solely my own choice, I’d log into a video game and kill monsters for a while, because honestly, that’s what I want to do more than anything else right now; kill monsters. Monster-slaying being generally discouraged “in real life” (most particularly considering by far the vast majority of the monsters most of us face will be in human form, and that would be murder, which is totally not allowed), video games are the near-at-hand proxy.

…I’ve got work…

Yeah. So. I’m in a shit mood, and I’m in pain, and I’d very much like to be left entirely alone right now. The world intrudes. Every minute I have to interact with another person, right now, is an irritant. I’d just fucking go back to bed, if that were an option. Hell, I don’t even want to be around me, right now. Not fun. Less than my ideal best self, for real, y’all.

Work is work. I remind myself I get paid for being a reasonable facsimile of my most professional “best self” for the purposes of completing the work day (and week). I eye my calendar with distaste. Meetings. With people. I look them over with care. Who am I having to meet with? Can it be rescheduled without consequences that ripple into the weeks ahead? Can the underlying need be met without having a meeting at all? Was I invited to meetings I don’t need to be part of? Are there optional meetings that I can simply opt out of without concern? I reschedule what I can. I opt out of those that I don’t need to be part of or have no obligations to. The day still looks unpleasantly full. I frown at my calendar. I frown at my coffee. I frown at the shade still drawn, obscuring the sky beyond the window.

I sip my cold coffee, and allow work to distract me from being pissed off about having to work “on such a completely shit day” (it isn’t, actually). I take a deep breath with each new interaction with a colleague, making a point of being “pleasantly neutral” as much as I can be, seeking to avoid reactions that become over-reactions. Bad moods can be “contagious”. I’d like to avoid sharing this around.

My head aches with fighting off tears; there is no room on my calendar for crying, today. My back aches from the general nuisances of aging, and my arthritis. My cold coffee is gone. Finished. Consumed. I’d like to have another, but don’t really want to interact with my Traveling Partner. (Yep, I’m in that shitty of a mood, this morning, and disinclined to “make shit worse”.) I’ve forgotten my water bottle, too. So… it’s just me and the work in front of me, in this quiet room, alone.

…Looks like I’ll just have to begin again…