I didn’t sit down to write until nearly 9:30 am, after a leisurely shower, and close to 12 hours of sleep. Rare for me. (I didn’t sleep continuously through the night; I woke up twice to pee. lol) When I woke, I was unsure of the day, and considered just going back to bed…

…but, there’s an entire day, and a long weekend, ahead of me to enjoy this brief solitary time, a few days with the house to myself, and a lot of quiet (some of it quite lonely). So, I stayed up, showered, put on clean clothes, and finally started hot water for coffee. Oh, hey, I hear the click of the electric kettle just now… be right back!

A ‘coffee flower’ – each as unique as any other flower. I enjoy their brief existence, blossoming as I make my coffee, gone in an instant.

The heat comes on just as I return with my coffee. The 72 degrees that felt so chilly at the end of the evening, last night, feels almost stifling this morning. I turn the temperature down to 60; I won’t yearn for the comfort and warmth of a warmer room until later in the day. Hell… how much of the day will I even spend right here? It’s a chilly autumn morning, fiercely windy, and it might be nice to get a decently long walk in today. The thought puts a smile on my face at the same time that a tear streaks down my cheek. I think of my Granny, and walks we took together on autumn days. South Mountain, Pennsylvania… Cambridge, Maryland… Grants Pass, Oregon… thoughts and places roll past like a slide show. The tears fall softly. Honest tears of sorrow or regret, tears of heartfelt loss, these don’t trouble me at all, they are only more love than my heart can contain – and no one to share it with (right now). I’m okay. She was a splendid strong woman of great character, flawed, human, and of tremendous heart, and I miss her in this autumn moment, considering a walk that, once upon a time, we could have taken together. 🙂

I sip my coffee, comforted by the ordinary routine. I listen to the traffic beyond the studio window. Last night I felt very motivated to paint through the weekend. Just now, though? I am filled with eagerness to tidy up, to create order from chaos, to check off tasks from my list, and to do those things while keeping half an eye on the autumn leaves falling to the deck beyond the glass door, watching for squirrels. It’s that time again; the colder weather, the autumn breezes, I’ll begin putting nuts out for the squirrels and chipmunks, and suet for the birds. 🙂

My thoughts drift to my Traveling Partner and his adventures, and I hope he is doing well. I’m eager to see him when he returns home. I miss him greatly.

I had also definitely missed this solitude, and I had failed hard at the self-care skills needed to ensure I managed to get the quiet time I routinely need, or to seek, or create, the stillness I need to maintain my most chill and contented self. I smile, and forgive myself for my obvious limitations. lol I will continue to practice. Keep working at it. Keep learning and growing. Keep speaking up when the need becomes too great. Keep communicating my needs in an open, honest, and gentle way. All the things. There’s a lot. If I try to write down all the tiny very fine details of “how to” care for oneself very skillfully, from the perspective of what I understand, myself, it would be such a long detailed list that it would almost certainly appear ludicrous to even contemplate! In practice, though, it’s just practice. Do a thing. It worked? Repeat that. It worked again? Pretty reliable. Try it a few times more. Still working? Awesome; now practice until it is quite natural, almost effortless, and it has become part of “who you are”. 🙂 Add another thing. Repeat the process. Simple enough. Stop doing what doesn’t support your emotional well-being and general good health and contentment. (That’s surprisingly a bit harder, and may take more practice.)

I sit sipping my coffee, barefooted, in my studio, with four lovely relaxed days ahead, suitable for my leisure needs. I have not decided what, specifically, to do with them (besides sleeping, showering, and sipping coffee – those I guess I can count on). I listen to the traffic, loud beyond the window. There are dishes to do. Things to put away. A container garden on the deck to “winterize”. There is this heart full of paintings with which to shout what I don’t have the words to whisper. I am hovering in that place of indecision, without urgency. There are no “wrong answers”, only an opportunity to begin again. 🙂

It feels like a winter morning. Not like an icy cold late winter morning, with everything frozen, or blanketed with snow, more like a winter-feeling late fall morning, on the edge of winter, with cold temperatures and lingering reminders how recent summer really was, piled up with soggy leaves, clinging to the pavement – more like that: cold, damp, rainy, fairly dismal, weather-wise. My coffee is hot. I woke peculiarly thirsty, and the cold glass of water next to my coffee is very refreshing. My clothes were chosen for comfort – a soft t-shirt, under a baggy saggy comfy sweater, a favorite pair of jeans, my hiking boots. It’s that kind of day, I think, with the weekend closing in, and some difficulty really waking up.

…At least I got some sleep, though. I pause to appreciate getting some rest. My sleep has been pretty shitty, generally, for some days (weeks?). Groggy mornings, busy days, relaxed evenings… all leading, day after day, to the same challenge with falling deeply asleep; I’m just not doing that. I linger for, apparently, hours in a light sleep, half-waking, half sleeping, occasionally dreaming, occasionally waking. With my Traveling Partner out of town for a few days, I think we both sort of expected my sleep would improve. It hasn’t. Not in any noteworthy way. I’m back to getting enough rest, at least, I think. Small improvement, but it matters.

I go over my “everyday carry” inventory with considerable care; I’m not particularly sharp early in the morning, these days. I think that’s when my lack of adequate sleep is most obvious, honestly, these first couple hours after waking… and the last couple before I finally crash in the evenings. Busy hours between end up a blur too often.

I wonder eagerly how things are going for my Traveling Partner. He is traveling for work. It’s an exciting time for him, professionally. We miss each other, chatting each evening without drama, stress, or contentious words. The reciprocal professional consideration, and supportive kind words, are a truly lovely feature of this partnership. I’m proud of him, excited for him, and feeling positive about the future. It’s a nice experience.

I yawn and drink more coffee, then more water, and back to more coffee. So tired. I could easily go right back to bed, right now. lol I look ahead to the weekend, and “sleeping in” at least once. I check the time. Yeah. Already. You know it. For a moment, it stalls me with my reluctance to face the moment, before yielding to it, and inevitably embracing the need; it’s time to begin again. 😉

I had reached literal weeks of short nights, busy days, crowded thoughts… waking too groggy to write, crashing out at the end of each day hoping to sleep through to morning… but… not. Every conversation was seeming to interrupt a thought, or cause me to feel as if I had just then forgotten something I needed to remember. My “brain buffer” was full to over-flowing, but I wasn’t getting the rest I needed to properly push new information into long-term memory. I felt chronically foggy, and perpetually frustrated, unable to “hear my own thoughts”. Days slipped by, and I wasn’t even thinking about writing… I definitely wasn’t sitting down to do it, regularly. Even personal correspondence stalled.

The morning my Traveling Partner got ready to go to the airport (was that yesterday?), he observed with a questioning tone, “you haven’t been writing in your blog…?” I had an awareness he was correct, but a lack of perspective on how long it had been… nearly a week. Wow. Rare. I mumbled something to myself about fatigue and made an empty promise about doing…something. I grabbed another hour of sleep after he left… after I stood in the kitchen window, bare feet cold on the kitchen floor, watching as the car service pulled out of the driveway. I woke still so groggy. Unrested. I careened around the house for some minutes, getting dressed, getting my backpack ready for the day, finding my car keys (mysteriously on the hook next to the hook I usually put them on, a search that should not have required 10 minutes of my time). I went to work.

I was so stupid with exhaustion that I was not particularly effective. I got done what urgently had to be done, and I went home. To sleep? I hoped… to rest, at least.

…The house was so… empty. I’ve grown quite accustomed to the delight of my Love being present every day. Hugs, kisses, jokes… things getting done, even when I’m not at home. Sex. Warmth. Intimacy. Shared joy. Shared effort. A shared journey. I looked around, disoriented by fatigue. I already didn’t recall the drive home, at all. So tired. I “sat down for a minute” on the couch and answered a text from my Traveling Partner. I took a breath, exhaled, relaxed… and flipped on YouTube, and put on a sort of random video playlist of favorite content creators’ latest stuff…

…I woke to the sound of my partner’s voice, and tried earnestly to reply – I was unable to do so, which is what woke me, that and the recognition that I was hearing, not his voice, just the phone ringing – but he was calling, and I smiled as I answered the phone. A few minutes of conversation, and connection, and then… no idea. I may have watched a couple more videos. I woke later, from napping, and went to bed. So many hours later, and finally I wake to the alarm (which I’m doubly glad I set, yesterday), although I woke from dreaming that I had already awakened ahead of the alarm. lol.

I shower, dress, and make coffee, smiling. I feel rested. I feel as though I can assemble thoughts into sentences and possibly communicate with others clearly and sound, you know, fairly rational. 🙂 I glance around the room and beyond the open studio door – plenty to do. I feel rested enough to tackle it. I didn’t stumble or wander into the wall even once this morning, and my eye-balls don’t feel like I’ve recently tried to splash sand into them. I feel rested. Pleasant. 😀

Sooo…. yeah. I’m fine. I am regretful of any worry I may have caused you. I’m not “gone”, or suddenly silenced by some grim pit of despair. I was only unable to overcome the ennui of being deeply fatigued, and needed to yield to the necessity of taking care of this fragile vessel. 🙂

…Now it’s time to begin again. 😉

…Home…work…home…work… Back and forth, pretty much continuously, distractingly interspersed with a couple days off, not quite convincing me that I have ample leisure. lol Omg – fuck this. I sigh and sip my coffee. I breathe, exhale, relax… And remind myself that the bills are paid, and this home is comfortably warm on a chilly morning. I had hot water – and indoor plumbing – and sweet smelling shower gel in my morning shower. This cup of coffee? Work was involved in that, too; coffee beans aren’t free. The electricity that ran the burr grinder? Paid for that, too, with money I worked for. So…okay. Work is thing, I guess I’m stuck with that for now.

…I’m so ready to get off this treadmill. Have been for a long time. It aggravates me to see articles about the need to “raise the retirement age” – let that shit be optional, voluntary, and self-determined! Damn – you think I want to be “gainfully employed”? Um… no. It’s just that our society is built on the exchanges of goods and services made possible by the additional exchange of currency. Currency that represents our labor (and in a most bitter and unfortunate additional bit of truth, the “exchange rate” of life force for currency is neither “fair” nor “equal” and some human beings are most definitely paid too little for their time, whereas others are paid far far more than any real value that could be assessed based their life or humanity). So… work. Home to enjoy. Work to pay for it. Back and forth.

It really does bug me when “retirement ages” are set such that they only account for those who wish to work longer. Of course, it would also bug me if the agency of adult human beings was undermined such that people who are capable and eager are forced out of the workforce solely due to their age. Either way, it’s the lack of agency I’m actually objecting to; we are not machines, we’re not all identical in appearance – or intention. Some people earnestly want to work in their later years – I’ve met a few. (Keeping things real, I’ve met far more who felt they had to continue working because they needed the money and were not financially prepared to retire.) I’ve also met people who are looking ahead to retirement before they were 30. (I’m one of those, but I’m also likely going to be someone who has to keep working due to not being financially prepared to retire.)

Sipping coffee thinking about the work-life treadmill on a Thursday. Of course, I have choices, and I mull them over now and then, fully aware I could, perhaps, paint full time (and be creatively contented and probably below the poverty line), or go into business in my working profession as an independent consultant, or do some other work I’d never considered but is incredibly lucrative – people who have freed themselves from the treadmill do exist. I just don’t happen to be one of them. lol This morning I’m tired, and I woke with a headache from a dream that I was commuting to work driving my car backwards. lol Too many late-ish nights, not enough sleep? Another sip of coffee, and an internal commitment to going to bed “on time” tonight, is the only result of my fatigue-y cynicism.

The truth is, I’m good at my profession. I’ve chosen to continue it a couple times after attempting to escape it. I’m pretty skillful at the “going to work every day” thing, in a way that quite a few people I know are not. I support myself, loved ones, and creative endeavors through these skills, and I feel satisfied with all of that. I’m just tired this morning and yearning for a freedom from routine that I not only don’t have – I’m neither comfortable with, in fact, nor skilled at managing well. lol It is what it is. (This sort of thing is specifically why I don’t make major decisions while deeply fatigued or stressed out; my thinking changes when I am relaxed, and able to face challenges from an emotionally neutral, practical perspective, and I make very different decisions.)

Choices. Verbs. The things that are. The things that are not – or are not, yet. The wheel keeps turning. If I don’t like my circumstances, there are alternatives. If I don’t like the person I see myself becoming, I can make changes. If I don’t like the conversation going on around me, I can walk on. Hell, even when the conversation I’m not enjoying is the internal “conversation” going on with myself, I can definitely “fix that” – I can begin again. 😉

I’m barely awake. I didn’t sleep particularly well, and woke in the middle of the dream when the alarm went off. The work day is ahead of me. My coffee tastes… flat. The morning feels… “too early”. S’ok. It’s another new day, entirely, and I’m pretty glad yesterday is over – no fault of the day. Yesterday was fine. Lovely, actually, right up until my guts betrayed me entirely, later in the day, and I had to go home, because I just didn’t have a change of clothes, and unexpectedly needed one. 0_o Being human has some gross moments.

…Still…aside from that? Yesterday was a great day. Pleasant, productive, and generally comfortable.

The evening was spent in quiet intimacy. I wasn’t up to anything more strenuous than television, and we relaxed in each other’s good company, being entertained by streaming content. Doesn’t matter at all what we were watching, really, the point of the shared good time had nothing much to do with that. 🙂

It’s a whole new day stretching ahead of me. I find myself wondering if I should keep a spare set of clothes in the office for “inconveniences”. It would not be out of character to at least have clean dry socks tucked into a desk drawer. lol Wet feet suck, and the solution (clean dry socks) is way too easy and compact to be unprepared – I walk a lot… although, writing those words reminds me I walk less lately than I would enjoy. Even there, the solution is obvious – and easy. It’s just a choice. 🙂

Hmm… choices. I sit sipping coffee, contemplating choices… and the nature of decision-making. We’re such complicated creatures in some ways. I yawn, interrupting my own thought, and check the time… damn it. Already time to begin again. 😉