Archives for posts with tag: choose wisely

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…

Here it is. Did you vote? Did you vote for a world we can all thrive in? (Was that even possible, from your perspective?) I guess we all watch it unfold now… all the things: the greed, the lies, the grandstanding, the finger-pointing, the temper tantrums, the speeches, the media coverage… What is there to say about any (or all) of that – that hasn’t been said more skillfully, elsewhere? I got nothing.

Here’s this.

Fingers crossed that we’re a calmer, more reasonable, more considerate nation when this is over. If not? Well… I guess we begin again.

Sipping coffee between housework tasks. It’s a rather ordinary sunny, chilly, autumn Sunday. I hear my Traveling Partner working on a project in his woodshop. Lovely day. I mean… lovely day right here. Your results, based on a quick look at this morning’s news headlines, may vary.

It’s a beautiful day to make good choices, and to be that person we most want to be.

…What a mess we’ve made… I mean… as a nation, a society… a species. Just saying. We could do better.

So… the U.S. election is in progress. “Election Day” is just a couple days away. I hope you are not imagining any great ease in national tension based on some particular outcome…? It’s unfortunate that we’ve allowed our political discourse to degrade to false dichotomies and ad hominem attacks. Growing and maintaining a society built on equality, rights, and freedoms shared by all requires a more subtle understanding than that, it would seem. We have, by that measure, failed entirely. It’s sad to observe the increasing racial tensions in so many cities, and hate-filled rhetoric becoming so commonplace, everywhere.

Full disclosure? I’m neither a republican nor a democrat. Nope, not “green party” or libertarian, either. (Nor communist, socialist, fascist, or other organized party affiliation of any brand.) I’ve still got a stake in how things turn out; I’m American. I live here. I shop here. I work here. I earn here. I invest here. I hike and camp here. I enjoy the local roads and infrastructure here. I vote here. This particular election season I voted as early as I could. I think our method of voting is fairly horrible, and doesn’t have much potential for any outcome other than degrading into a two-party system (or system in which only two parties have a legitimate chance at a win). Our government is implicitly institutionally racist – it’s also implicitly and institutionally sexist, and extremely so. I dislike both those things. I vote specifically against those conditions, and I look for opportunities to do so.

Feeling down about the election this year? I encourage you to (re)watch South Park season 8, episode 8, “Douche and Turd”. Definitely. If you’re looking for something more… hopeful… I recommend CGP Gray (on YouTude) episodes from his Politics in the Animal Kingdom work. There are better ways available to us. We’d only have to decide to do differently.

…Honestly, I don’t understand why we have not yet embraced – fully embraced, for real – direct democracy. Legitimate actual democracy. We certainly have the technology to build a secure system for online voting, already. (Do you doubt that is true? I direct your attention to the various online banks and similar systems, as well as your basic banking ATM. Also… the NSA. We don’t lack adequate encryption methods for secure online voting. That’s one challenge we don’t face at this point in time.) We already know the electoral college has nothing whatsoever to do with a democratic election, and is an artifact of another time. (I sound like I am on the edge of ranting. My apologies. You don’t need that from me, of all people. I’m simply continue to be astonished at the lengths parties will seem to go to, in order to restrict people from being able to vote at all. It rather undermines the very concept of democracy.) That’s what sours me most on “this great nation”, I think, we call ourselves a democracy, but we don’t actually mean it “for real”. We very much prefer that our democracy return only results that we personally favor, however harmful or distasteful to the majority. 😦

Please at least just fucking vote, okay? Not a joke vote. Not a “protest vote”. Really vote. Maybe it “doesn’t matter” to you in any way you acknowledge – but it matters to the lives, the literal lives, of so many other people… please? Vote. And… just saying… if you’re going to vote at all, why not also make your choices based on outcomes that will truly serve the largest number of Americans in the best possible ways? All Americans. Even the ones you don’t like, personally. 🙂 Instead of focusing on an assortment of party platforms that were chosen to serve those in power (or the special interests they have obligated themselves to), just put your vote on what will serve Americans – all Americans – the best possible way, resulting in the best possible quality of life for every one of us – and not at the expense of other Americans, or even other nations. It’s not a zero sum game. It’s not a fucking pie. It’s time we all changed our thinking to get better results for the survival of humankind. It’s not about the money.

It’s time to begin again. Let’s start with what we’re voting for.

I’m starting to feel genuinely settled in here at home. It’s lovely. 🙂

I woke this morning to darkness. That’s not really a surprise; the sun has been rising later in the morning, every morning, since the Summer Solstice. lol This morning I really noticed. Chilly, too. Chilly. Dark. It felt earlier than it was. I started the work day early, too. It’s Friday; I’ll enjoy being done earlier.

Fun fact; I started drinking coffee when I joined the Army, right out of high school. Not apropos of anything much, just happened to think about it, over my coffee, standing in the rain, on an autumn morning.

Life. Love. Work. Art. Coffee. It’s a Friday, and I’m fairly convinced that what I have in front of me, as a human, is “enough”. Feels good. I’m not bragging, by the way, I’m simply making a point of taking notice of my contentment, the way it has built over time, and the details that have turned out to truly “matter most” to me, individually, as a human being living this mortal life. I mean… I could want more… there’s more out there to be had, for sure…

…It can not be easy for my Traveling Partner, as we approach a major gifting holiday, that I feel such a deep and abiding sense of general contentment in life, right now… I mean… what do you give someone who literally “wants for nothing”? It’s not “a wealth thing”. I could want more expensive things, I suppose. I could seek more… of something.

…Books. Never too many books…

I catch myself wondering if years of my life characterized by striving, struggling, wanting, and envying what I did not have, were more about other things lacking in my life? That seems worth thinking over, and really reflecting on the nature of discontent, greed, seeking, and yearning. What makes us “want more”? Is it a universal given that it is about having less? Are the things we want and yearn for deeply truly connected to the things we’re missing in our lives, or are they proxies or substitutes that seem more easily within reach?

Thoughts over coffee. A morning that feels like enough.

I’m sipping my second coffee on a proper day off. I highly recommend taking the occasional actual day off from work (and yes, even from non-work routines). Real down time. Don’t check that email. Don’t answer those calls. Don’t participate in “just one meeting”. Be available for you, once in a while.

…There are very few things that feel reliably more luxurious, satisfying, and nurturing than having my own undivided attention for a few hours, a day, or a weekend… Just saying. Totally worth doing, even during a pandemic. Even if social distancing. Even staying right here at home. I like the woman in the mirror, rather a lot these days, and I enjoy her company greatly. (If you don’t feel well-disposed toward that human being you face in your mirror each day, well… it’s a great place to begin again, on better terms!)

It is a lovely autumn morning, well-suited to all sorts of things I might like to do with my time.

Autumn is already more than just hints of color, or occasional leaves found on the deck.

It is a chilly morning. Yesterday, there was even ice on the windshield of my car, well past sunrise. I enjoyed my morning coffee with my Traveling Partner. I took time to soak in the hot tub, watching the morning sunshine warm the dewy rooftops, steamy vapor rising into the air. I listened to the birds in the neighbor’s pear tree arguing over the not-yet-ripe pears, hoping they’d leave a few unmarred by pecking, but not particularly concerned about it. My mind wandered briefly to chores and housekeeping, and weekend meals, and I made some “mental notes” (promptly forgotten) about things I could add to my list. No pressure.

Today is definitely about “no pressure”, and that feels good.

The holiday season crossed my mind. Gifts to think about. Meals to consider. Guests to invite. No guests; there’s a pandemic going on. No, seriously – and it is serious – we’re okay here at home, and fortunate to enjoy each other in close quarters over a long period of time. (I sometimes suspect our military experience gives us an advantage; we “work as a unit”, even when we are aggravated with each other.) I know there are people who are frustrated with the constraints placed upon them by pandemic life. I get it. I just think it’s worth making the effort to be generally safe, generally respectful of the wellness of others, and generally fully compliant with the requirement to practice social distancing, to wear a mask, to avoid crowds. Yes, even close family crowds at important family events; those people will go home (and so will you), having shared whatever they’ve been exposed to, and to share what they were exposed to at the event. It’s not an acceptable risk, from my perspective. We see it play out in the news every week; a big gathering, a spike in new cases of COVID-19. It honestly just seems like an easy choice to me… so, since March, my partner and I stay home, except for a handful of difficult to avoid errands. It complicated house hunting. It complicated the closing. It complicated the move.

…Both of us remain well. Worth the complications.

We relaxed enough to allow my partner’s son (my step-son) to visit after we finished moving in. I regretted that more than a little bit, as much I enjoyed seeing him, particularly after he admitted to attending gatherings of friends, more recently than two weeks prior to traveling to see us… and… he did have to travel. He was here less than two weeks. Yes, it caused me stress to consider that with greater care – too late to change the planning. I am unlikely to make another exception as we head into flu season. I’d rather not even get the flu, or a head cold, and social distancing and mask wearing has definitely reduced my exposure to those risks! Win.

…But… Thanksgiving…!?! Giftmas??

Yeah. Thanksgiving. Giftmas, too. Fuck your Thanksgiving feast and holiday parties if they send half your family home to far away places with new exposure to COVID-19, and with increased potential of losing loved ones to it. I mean, seriously? Weddings too. Baby showers. Parties of all kinds. Music festivals. Worship. Celebrations. All of it. Fuck every minute of every “important life event” any one of us chooses to attend that results in the loss of someone else’s life. What right do we have, as individuals, to be callous with someone else’s risk of death?

So. Holidays will be simple this year, here at home. Cards. Letters. Calls. Merriment. A comfy holiday at home – intimate, joyful, and low-stress. Healthy, too, maybe…? (I am one of those folks who nearly always has a head cold, or is “just getting over” – or just catching – the flu, right around Thanksgiving or Giftmas – maybe not this year?)

I sip my coffee and smile. We’ve already figured out where the Giftmas tree will go… and there’s so much room for it… 🙂 Right now, that’s enough. I look at the time. The lovely day stretches out ahead of me. It looks like a good one to take a walk on an untraveled trail… or simply to begin again. 🙂