Archives for category: The Big 5

Are you rushing to get to work? Rushing through waking up, showering, dressing? Rushing to be out the door “on time”? Breathless with anxiety before you even start the car? Already thinking about the day ahead in such specific detail that you’ve “borrowed trouble” to fret about before you even have any in the moment?

I used to do that. I don’t now. It was a good change to make, to slow down in the mornings. 🙂 Maybe not life-saving, but certainly life-changing. I went from a fairly tightly timed morning routine that took 17 minutes from the alarm clock to the click of the front door closing behind me, and reliably got me on the bus heading into town 3 minutes later (the stop was just across the street from my apartment). Any deviation from my routine put me at risk of being late to work, and I had huge issues with time, timeliness, and time management, at that time in my life (I wasn’t bad at it, just really tense and weird about it on this whole unnecessary level). Being late – or thinking I might be – was a fast track to temper tantrums and treating people poorly (myself included). It was a shitty way to live, and it didn’t make me more efficient, or even on time more often.

What do I do now? It’s pretty low tech, honestly; I get up earlier. Like, I get up a lot earlier. I get up “earlier than I need to” by quite a bit. Most variations in desired arrival time at work don’t require me to change when I get up in the morning, that’s how much earlier I get up. Right now, it’s easily 90 minutes after my alarm goes off before I need to leave, and I could as easily leave the house fully 3 hours after I wake up and still be “on time” from the perspective of a salaried employee, and I sometimes do. It’s lovely, really, to be genuinely awake when I leave for work, to be able to write at leisure even on work days, to have adequate time to dress, shower, do some yoga, and even meditate before work – and still have time to write. It puts me on the path to being my best self each day.

I got home last night tired and frustrated by feeling the cold I thought I was over trying to make a comeback. I really don’t need the hassle or inconvenience, and I sat quietly frustrated, tears of exhausted aggravation coursing down my face for some minutes. Just… tired. I skipped the company summer block party over it, too. Came directly home. No chores. No video entertainment. No music. Hell, I didn’t even pick up a book. Just sat, staring rather blankly, sipping chicken broth or tea, until I was “sleepy enough” to just go lay the fuck down and rest. I was asleep early. I slept hard. Deeply. Uninterrupted. I was irritated by the weird repetitive noise that woke me – my alarm. It took nearly a full minute to figure that out and shut it off. I turned the lamp on and off a couple times, puzzled why the noise was not stopping. lol Usually I am awakened by the subtle “click” sound that immediately precedes the alarm actually going off. lol

I definitely needed the restful night. I woke feeling more myself. Still cross about this cold trying to come back – and of course, immediately as the fucking weekend begins. That’s becoming a source of real frustration for me, lately; the weekend is my one real opportunity each week to get some legit downtime, and it’s so rare any more to just enjoy one. I’m sick. Or traveling. Or moving. Or I’m sick. Or I have tons of shit that just must get done, non-negotiable. Or I’m doing something for someone. Or I’m sick again. Or I’ve gotten injured. Or I’m traveling. Or… I need to slow down. Again. And maybe not just in the mornings. Mornings? I’ve got those down at this point. 🙂

It’s a journey. No single change, no one practice, solves for X in every one of life’s equations. There are more verbs. More opportunity to do more/better, while also practicing skillful self-care, and figuring out what is actually worth doing well and more often. Being and becoming are a massively challenging jigsaw puzzle, and the pieces not yet fit into the puzzle are all jumbled up together in an untidy pile; sometimes it isn’t clear which pieces are most valuable in any particular moment. I’m still such a beginner at this being human thing!

I finish my coffee. Take a deep breath, look at the clock, and exhale slowly. It’s time to begin again. 🙂

I am sitting here with my coffee, grateful to be out of the office today. My coffee is still untouched, though I’ve been sitting here with it for half an hour. I have a cold and feel fairly listless and awful. It could be worse, of course, it’s really just a cold.

Having a head cold was not in my plan for today. I am volunteering some of my time… and I am so glad that’s a little later. I take a sip of my insipid, possibly terrible, coffee (is this head cold why it tasted “off” yesterday morning, too?). It was my plan to spend the remainder of my weekend shopping for a car. It’s time. I don’t much feel at all interested in that, at the moment, and I suspect it would be a colossal dick move to go car shopping while contagious. I’m definitely certain it would be grossly inconsiderate to spread this shit around knowing I am ill.

It’s weird to me that many businesses strike a pose of actively discouraging employees from calling out when they are sick, in some cases even penalizing actual sick people for not getting over being sick fast enough. Many do, though, and the effort is leveraged primarily at entry-level workers, and lower paying middle management jobs; humans involved in the day-to-day work of keeping business going. You know, “the working class” folks. I’ve not ever seen anyone in the executive class actively discouraged from being out of the office… at all. Ever. I have reached an understanding that the amount of energy put into “attendance policies” (again, those are rarely applied to senior managers or executives at all) and convincing sick people to show up for work (in spite of potential risk of contagion, or delaying a person’s recovery) says a lot about the high value of their labor – and if those employees cave to that pressure, and work while sick or develop a tolerant acceptance of their exploitation, it says a lot about how poorly they value themselves. There’s definitely profit to be made in human beings undervaluing themselves – they cost so much less! It’s an understanding that, over time, moved me further and further left on the political spectrum as a human being, as a worker, and as a manager. “Who actually benefits from this policy?” became a question I learned to ask – a lot. It is heartbreaking how rarely, in most places, the answer is ever “everyone who works here benefits equally”.

Enough about things to do with working. Bleh. Actually, “bleh” is a good descriptor of where I am with my whole experience, just at the moment. I’m not quite sick enough to give up on everything and just go back to bed (although my coffee is really not the experience I’ve grown to love, and I feel fairly crappy, generally)… and I’m definitely not well enough to pull on my hiking boots and get a couple of miles in before I head to the VA.

…Just thinking about going back to bed, and looking at the clock… I don’t know… bed sounds okay… even if I didn’t sleep… I could just lay there being miserable so gently…

…I can begin again… later…

Whatever it is, this, too, will also pass. Good or bad. Fortune, or misfortune. Enjoyable. Regrettable. Memorable. Forgettable. The clock ticks. The wheel turns. Time and moments pass.

It’s been a bit more than a year here in this duplex. A bit more than a year living quite a bit of distance from my Traveling Partner. A bit more than a year driving his car, because he observed I needed it a bit more than he did at that time, and didn’t yet have my own. It’s been helpful having it, for sure. It’s been evident, over the year, that I need a car, myself, more than I realized. I’ll shop around a bit and take care of that soon. No rush. I’m pretty self-sufficient on public transit, and the bit more walking and exercise that takes will be good for me right now. 🙂 It was an important eye-opener to recognize that the driving commute was robbing me of some much-needed exercise that a walking (or part riding, part walking) commute provided, and how important that really is.

Today I return to the part riding, part walking commute I had planned to make part of my daily routine when I first moved in here, before I had the car to rely on. Hell, I may stick with that even after I buy a car. I’m not expecting it to be a hardship, just time-consuming, and with music, books, and my camera along for the journey each day, it’s not even likely to be “wasted time”. 🙂 I’ve “been here” before. The wheel keeps turning.

I’m grimly amused that my back hurts so fiercely this morning. It’s not my arthritis. Feels like I “slept on it wrong” and now have the back equivalent of a kink in my neck, as though my ribs were weirdly cramped together on one side for too long, and now hurt peculiarly in one spot, on the opposite side from which I usually feel most of my pain. Fucking craptacular meat sack – always breaking down or going wrong in some fashion. Being human can be so messy, and uncomfortable. Of course it would be the case today, in advance of a change in routine that requires more exertion, that I’ll also be more uncomfortable. So human. No doubt it’ll ease over time. I breathe, relax, and get a second coffee.

…No coffee along my commute route, now… Well. Shit. That’s a change…

I check the weather with more care than usual; it’ll matter what the weather is later in the day, and will be too late to second guess what I will need to have along in my day back by then. Sunscreen gets added to my day pack. The forecast says sunny, and peak heat at 90 degrees. I add a bottle of water, too. I set my cane by the door; I’m jumping right into a bit more walking than I’ve grown used to, and it will serve me well to be prepared for that to fatigue my ankle. No sandals today; hiking boots instead. Sure, circumstances change, and the wheel keeps turning, there’s nothing about that which suggests I must also be taken by surprise, or wholly unprepared for what life may drop in my path. 🙂 Planning is a thing I can do. (You too, if you choose to.)

Well, there’s a new day about to unfold ahead of me. A new journey to take. A new path to follow. I wonder where this moment leads? To find out, I only have to take another step. I only need to begin again. 🙂

I’ve got things to do, busy Saturday ahead, and I expected to rush out without a word. I dislike rushing. Chose to go ahead and enjoy my morning coffee. I don’t have much to say, though. It’s just me, a coffee, some thoughts. 🙂

Today begins with a plan. Beginning again? Today I’ve already begun. 😉

A moment, a flower. Taking time for what matters most.

There’s always tomorrow… 😀

Sipping my coffee and thinking about all the many things I’ve tried out over the years, qualities I have explored, places I have seen, styles enjoyed, projects undertaken, seems like a lot of variety – whole lifetimes of change. A lot of what I have been, I am not now. A lot of what I have done, I no longer do today. I’ve picked up skills, and built practice, that have since fallen into disuse… I give a moment of thought to the things that have mattered most (not all of which I pursued beyond the past moment in which they existed). I think of how all of this contributes to who I am, now.

…Hell of an interesting and varied journey… certainly worth giving a moment of thought to. I put on some music. I get a second coffee. I look around the studio, half-finished canvases… just everywhere. lol This back and forth stuff between here and there every weekend takes a creative toll. For the moment I satisfy myself thinking about the not-too-distant future that is (hopefully) retirement. My life is, I am hopeful, barely half over. 🙂

Try things. It’s okay if you don’t “stick with it” endlessly forever. Learn new things, try new stuff, make things, do things, learn things – there isn’t anything “wrong” with taking something up, learning a bit about it, moving on to the next interesting thing. Oh, I know, there’s a ferocious culture of “don’t quit” and “you never finish anything” lingering about to discourage shallow interest, and changes of heart – and that literally does not have to matter at all. Interested in the sound of Mandarin Chinese as a language? Start learning it. Lose interest in things that are hard? It’s okay; languages can be quite difficult, and maybe you give up on that – you are still changed by what you have learned. Expose yourself to the world of options and opportunities that exists. Become more than you are.

Become more than you are. Be the person you most want to be – whoever that is. 🙂

It’s not too late.

Begin again. 🙂