Archives for posts with tag: experience

Yesterday was lovely. I had a decently long list of things I had determined “needed” to get done, and after a leisurely coffee in the morning, some time lingering on the deck in the morning chill, and gently catching up on world events, I got off my ass to work the list.

I gave up after about 2 decently productive hours. The crisp sparkling autumn sunshine kept catching my attention and tempting me into the outdoors, and I quickly “re-evaluated my life” on a small scale and decided to go hiking instead of doing housework. πŸ˜€ Yep. That’s a thing I sometimes do.

I’m glad I did. The two hours I spent walking in the sunshine felt amazing, and I guess I really needed that time, out there in the trees. The local trail I chose is nearby, rather steep, and “doesn’t really go anywhere” in the sense that one must either commit to a very long hike, or do one of several out-and-back hikes possible on a combination of shorter trails. I hear it is a popular area to hike. I had the trails to myself on a beautiful mild autumn day.

Well, I had the trail to myself, except for these guys, and lizards, birds, squirrels, chipmunks, raccoons… I was never alone.

It was quite a lovely hike. I returned home feeling properly recharged and refreshed, and although it had not been my intention, quickly worked off a few more items from my list of things to do.

The busy week ahead may blow me off course in a number of ways, and I contemplate how to best take care of myself this week, as I sip my coffee. In anticipation of my sleep routine being thrown off by my odd work hours ahead (long late shift Monday, very early shift Tuesday, concert night out Thursday…) my brain “helped me out” by getting an early start on that, and I slept like crap last night, waking often, rather pointlessly, and struggling to return to sleep. Anticipatory sleep disturbances are entirely annoying. I’m still smiling. I still feel pretty good. I sip my coffee and put my attention on those positive details; they have more value for building implicit memory that will tend most to support good emotional wellness. It’s a practical thing. It requires practice. πŸ™‚

Figuring out how best to maximize my opportunities to spend time with my Traveling Partner is high on my list of things to do to take care of me. I’m excited that he’ll be in town. Our planning includes a visit to my new residence, and perhaps even an overnight visit, or at least something more than a few minutes to walk through the place. I include in my planning – and in my daydreaming – regular reminders that “things don’t always turn out as planned”; my Traveling Partner lives his life with “spontaneity settings” turned all the way up. lol The way I see it, I may not do any writing tomorrow, and may not write on Friday, depending on time, timing, and how many spoons I really have left.Β  Busy weeks are hard sometimes. Fuck I am eager to see my Traveling Partner, though, and the fact that this is a busy week for other reasons, while inconvenient, isn’t going to prevent me doing it. πŸ˜€

Okay. I’ve got plans. I’ve got a flexible mindset. I’ve got verbs. I’ve made choices. I’m ready for the week… The journey is the destination.

I’m walking my own path. I am my own cartographer.

I’m ready to begin again. πŸ™‚

 

My coffee this morning is exceptional. No idea why, exactly, but it’s a damned good cup of coffee, and I am enjoying it. I’m tired, even groggy. (I didn’t sleep well.) It doesn’t matter; this cup of coffee is just that good. The espresso shots were quite lovely when I pulled them, with rich even crema. The steamed almond milk was dense, smooth, and even, and quite perfectly lovely as it swirled into the espresso, as if poured directly from my state of contentment into my coffee mug. Yep. Damned good cup of coffee. It’s a delicious moment on a pleasant morning.

It’s enough. One pleasant moment of leisure, enjoyed on my own terms, something pleasant over which to linger, to savor in the moment and in later recollection…definitely enough; I get a lot of mileage out of moments. I get a lot of enjoyment out of a simple cup of coffee.

Although a great many other mornings led to this one, and a great many other cups of coffee were involved in how well this particular one turned out, it’s not obvious how large the investment over time has been, in creating this one moment. It’s just a moment.Β Only a moment over coffee on a work day, early in the morning. It’s not fancier than that. I didn’t bring any special equipment or gain any particular epiphany. I didn’t work overly hard at this moment; I showed up. I made coffee. I am enjoying it.

There’s a point to pointing this out. I’ll leave that to you. I’m just going to enjoy this cup of coffee right here, now. πŸ™‚

…If your coffee isn’t exactly as you’d like it… Begin again. Practice. πŸ˜‰

 

What a week. Glad it’s behind me. Relieved to feel satisfied, pleased, and accomplished, instead of terrified, anxious and regretful. It could have gone differently. I am content with the outcome.

Stress is a weird thing, though, right? I mean… once I’m stressed about A, then it’s far more likely that unrelated experiences B, C, or D may also feel more stressful, or seem to be cause for concern. I crashed out last night feeling terribly blue, struggling in a sticky web of anxiety-lies and insecurities being launched at me from within, by an anxious, stressed, fatigued brain. I wept. For the world? It seemed so at moments. Other moments, I just felt “cracked open” and unable to hold anything back however small, however simple – even some lovely tender moments felt like pure heartbreak, and I cried, merely because there was too much emotion to hold back any longer. My executive function limitations hit me in my emotional life pretty hard. This week that was more obvious than most weeks in recent months. It’s been a peculiarly emotionally stable year.

I went to bed worried, even, about my relationship with my Traveling Partner. No reason for it, really. At least, nothing I could easily identify. I woke this morning without that insecurity or doubt, feeling rested, anxiety gone; I’m excited about the road trip ahead of me. 3 day weekend with my lover? Yes, please! Sign me up. πŸ™‚Β 

Fuck, I am so glad my “default setting” is no longer despair. I feel fortunate to have survived the first 50 years of my lifetime. Emotions come and go. Like weather. “Who we are” is less volatile, less mutable, and sometimes feels rather… permanent. It isn’t. It’s more like climate; tends to be what it is, but still changeable over time. We become what we practice. No kidding. It’s a slow thing to change the climate – but it can be done. Choose wisely. πŸ™‚

Are you unhappy? Make changes. There’s no map on this journey… it’s rather like setting off on a road trip to see someone you love, unclear of specifically where they are, but with a direction in mind… generally. lol This may help. πŸ™‚ It’s a favorite of mine for reinforcing healthy basics; do the opposite of everything it suggests. lol (Here’s a follow-up on that…)

Maybe something simple this morning? One thing that could be easily improved by one little change in your decision-making, habits, or actions? Start small – committing to a marathon, while breathless from walking across the street may be a bit unmanageable. It’s so easy to become discouraged. I’ve been there…

After years of frustration, despair, and inactivity, I decided to go to the Farmer’s Market, one year. My feet hurt all the time, stupefying medication and unmanaged pain had pretty much nailed me to my couch between work shifts. Doing so would mean a two block walk uphill (barely) from the light rail station. I look back astonished (because I regularly go to the Farmer’s Market quite easily and comfortably, now, and often walk miles, not just blocks) – it seemed hard then. It required effort. Commitment. Patience with myself.

I don’t look at it the same way now, at all. My perspective has changed with my experience over time. Incremental change over time; it wasn’t easy the first time, the second or third times, the fourth time… but eventually, it sure didn’t seem hard, and then… at some point… almost unnoticed, it became quite the natural thing to easily and comfortably do. (For my less physically able readers out there, I’m using an example familiar to me, only, and part of my personal experience, no intention of falling short of being inclusive, but I see where my example could be. I regret any aggravation, or sense of being left out of my consideration that this may cause. Start small, is all I’m saying. πŸ™‚ )

It’s a good reminder for me, too. There is further to go. There is more to do. I still struggle with my weight, health, and fitness. There are changes to make. There is future progress out there on the horizon to be experienced. Incremental change over time takes both time – and verbs. A lot of fucking verbs.

Oh hey, look at the time! It’s definitely time to begin again. This journey won’t make itself. πŸ˜‰

I was musing about the future, near term, specifically a concert I plan to see, which my Traveling Partner also has tickets for, but now lives quite far away and likely won’t drive 5 hours to attend it. It’s a poignant realization, to reflect on how unlikely it is that he’ll make the trip up this way casually, just to see a concert, go to dinner, or hang out. He’s never even seen this new place…

…My eyes begin to fill with tears. I take a funny little moment to “mentally hold my own hand” in a comforting sort of way (actually visualizing an adult-me, holding the hand of a tearful child-me); I need my sympathy, compassion, and support in such a moment. It’s only a moment, and without compounding it by additional needless self-inflicted suffering to force it to grow and linger, it quickly dissipates. We’re each having our own experience. Our most reasonable, rational, choices do not reliably also represent the most emotionally comfortable or satisfying choices for those dear to us. That’s something I’m glad I’ve come to understand, because I am also prone to rational, reasonable, choices, and also have loved ones dear to me who may be discomfited by them.

I had been, I admit, daydreaming about making a home here in this new place, in which my Traveling Partner would feel welcome and comfortable, and in which we would enjoy our lives together any time he blew through town. It doesn’t look likely at this point. His job down south quickly resulted in a permanent move. His other partner, having the means to do so, simply packed up her household, and moved also. I definitely feel more disconnected from my partner than I generally have; living alone wasn’t enough to cause that, it required a sense of greater distance and a sense of being less… something. The very fact this lessening is so very nameless, when I have so many words for so many emotions, suggests it is an illusion. My recollection of our conversations, and our time spent together recently, seems to confirm that my sense of our connection being somehow diminished is indeed an illusion.

…Daydreams don’t make much room for change. Daydreams can feel very threatened by change, by variance from the ideal, by realities that don’t match expectations, and by unspoken assumptions. Plans work differently. I smile when I think about planning my retirement. My Traveling Partner and I had discussed our plan for my retirement in detail. That planning touches nearly everything about our shared experience. I can look around this space, and see things that are “not yet according to plan”, that could be, and I find myself moved to action; it’s the action that gets me to my planned goal. Reflecting on that shared planning is less emotional, and less uncomfortable. Funny how my planning is not negatively affected by my emotions, the way my daydreams can be.

I have literally gone to pieces, and wept openly, when a vacant lot I daydreamed about building a home on for many years was sold to a developer and a condo was built there. Wasn’t my land. I didn’t have a plan. There was nothing real or solid there, just a daydream that lingered over years. It was unkind to treat myself so poorly, but I didn’t have any sort of understanding that my daydreams could do me any harm. I’m a big fan of daydreaming. It’s becoming attached to a daydream that gets me into emotional trouble. I don’t know that being attached to a plan would be any different… but I think generally, becoming committed to a plan usually resulted in achieving a goal! (I mean, so long as I am also flexible about rolling with the changes, prepared with a plan B, and willing to also not be attached to the outcome!)

Yes, and I’ve written more than 600 words this morning on the difference between daydreams and plans. lol I’m not sure this was necessary. I’m not even certain it can be fully understood by anyone who is not me, because our personal dictionaries matter so much here. It matters how you define “daydream” and “plan”, for me to be understood clearly. (How much does it matter that you understand my own specific point here, though, so long as you understand something and find some value in that for yourself that makes the time spent reading these words worthwhile?)

This morning I plan the visit down to see my Traveling Partner, while also daydreaming about it. I’ll get to see his new place! πŸ™‚ That matters to me. I enjoy having a good mental map of his physical experience when I think about him. I like knowing, first hand, that he is safe, comfortable, and living well. I am eager to get as many visits down as I can before icy weather sets in; I won’t want to drive when the roads are icy. (Note to self, be sure to verify your VPN connection to your work tools before winter weather sets in! You’ll want to work from home on snowy or icy days.)

My brain sneak attacks me once more, and I find myself wondering a bit sadly if he will still come for the holidays… Seriously? I sigh out loud, and let that go. We can talk about our holiday plans together in person this weekend. That makes more sense. πŸ™‚

I sip my coffee, review my to do list, and consider my plans. There are verbs involved. I’m the only one here right now, so all that is up to me. It’s time to begin again. πŸ˜€

 

I hadn’t read the news, yesterday, when I sat down to write in the morning. Of course, at this point, it isn’t new news that a shooter in Las Vegas killed a bunch of people. I don’t intend to minimize by saying so little, so briefly. Now news feeds are filled with noise. Repeats of the same talking points. Refutations of arguments for gun control. Reminders that we ought not overlook the atrocities perpetrated against our native forebearers. The push-pull of cries for attention by marginalized groups, all of us, of every sort, struggling to sort out what this heinous act of violence against strangers means for us, as individuals and groups. The resentment and fears of firearm owners who don’t want this to be about them. The anger, sorrow, and outrage, of folks who stand entirely against any form of gun ownership who just can’t believe that we’re all allowing this bullshit to happen yet again.

Change is a verb. Until we take actual action there will be no actual change.

Stop talking – well, stop just talking. Do something. Words pouring onto pages, whether paper or digital, is not enough. Blog posts. News articles. Social media posts. Research. Data analysis. Passionate oratory. Conversation. Argument. There’s really only one sort of words left that have legitimate value here; legislation. There is one group of people to whom we should be talking, loudly – and using firm clear demanding language, and not shutting up about it, ever; our elected representatives at all levels.

(Make a list. Start phoning them.)

It’s time the grown ups in the room sat down and drafted clear, reasonable, prohibitive legislation that secures the freedom of Americans to own firearms, while also securing the safety of Americans who do not own firearms. (If the representatives we currently have won’t enact change, vote them out.) It’s time we acknowledged that we don’t want “everyone” to be able to buy or own a firearm – and also decided who those folks very specifically are – without being afraid to say out loud that indeed we do think some people are a poor fit for gun ownership. It’s time we made it necessary to take safety and knowledge tests for gun ownership – just like we do with getting a driver’s license. It’s time we required gun owners to carry specific insurance to protect themselves and others from the cost of violence. It’s time we set clear boundaries that prevent people convicted of domestic violence crimes from owning fire arms in the future, ever. We have all the data we need. We know where the risks are. It’s time to grow the fuck up and do the verbs.

We’ve talked about this one long enough. Too many innocent lives have already been lost. It’s time we phoned our representatives – all of them, local, state, and federal, and demanded that they do their jobs, by legislating change.

Change is a verb.