I’ve been having a really hard time for the last month and a half (or more, if I’m honest, possibly back to early October). I’ve been trying to decide if it’s my own personal form of SAD (based on it being Death Memory Season1), or if it’s something else.
For example, I make decent to very good money currently. I still worry about bills, because I’m wired that way; but as long as I don’t splurge every single month on frivolous (read: unnecessary) items, I can pay my bills including extra on my credit cards. That means I’ve been paying down one large credit card, and trying to keep the others at minimum. I’ve been doing slightly odd (for me) things with multiple credit cards to keep my credit up, based on advice from bankers and loan advisors. My credit isn’t as trashed as it once was, when I was the victim of identity theft, but it’s still a little weird. I still get calls based on that thief’s name actually being very close to mine. She’s changed it since, as have I, but it doesn’t really force the credit bureaus to behave.
Why is this a problem? Well, even though I make a decent wage (more than fair, because of various perks), I feel sort of trapped. I’m not in a field that I consider “mine”. I actually work in a field that I don’t particularly enjoy, at the moment. I am not a numbers person, but I’m working with them. Sometimes, I can trick my brain into thinking I work in computers, or with databases, or with any number of adjacent fields – but I’m not really, and sometimes my hindbrain narrows its eyes at me as if to say, “Hey. Wait a minute… Is this what we wanted to do when we grew up? Because I don’t think it was even on the D list…” And my forebrain has to play Jedi mind tricks.
In general, I really like my co-workers. We go on cool trips together! We make each other laugh! I don’t really ever forget I’m older than all of them, but some of that is my own hangups more than anything they do intentionally. But there have been a non-zero number of times lately where I don’t feel listened to. I will report an item verbally and in writing, but somehow, sometimes even within the hour, the information is requested again. It’s most annoying when it happens within minutes.
And after the last week or so, I’m beginning to think that is the thing besides my personal SAD that is making me particularly grumpy. It was especially galling the other day to be told by my manager that she was listening, she just didn’t retain the information! It’s making me really question my usefulness, effectiveness, and importance. Because at this point, I’m concerned it truly is me! My communication skills have just deteriorated that badly!
On the other hand, I really don’t think they have. Usually, the people hearing but not actually listening and retaining that information are also dealing with a lot in their own lives, and are just very distracted. And I want to be empathetic and forgiving of those problems. Everyone is human and should have their own lives outside of work. I just find my patience is frayed to shredded about that. I’m not forgiving about it. And I’m therefore mad at myself for not living up to my own expectations.
I haven’t figured out a solution for this, other than to vent on twitter occasionally, and now on a blog. I would like a change to see if that would help, but I can’t (and really, don’t see the need other than this thing) job hunt. I wouldn’t be able to find another position of comparable level at this pay scale, really. Base salary? Sure. But not actual take home pay. So I am not sure how I’m going to fix it, in the long run, other than continue to take very deep breaths and try desperately to weave my patience back together every weekend so that there’s some semblance of it, no matter how patched, come Mondays.
1. Death Memory Season: September – lost my youngest maternal aunt at entirely too young of an age, also first marriage had a BIG ending step of actual physical separation; October – lost the first cat I raised personally from a kitten, basically my baby boy (I’ve got another baby boy, and I’ve had other cats, and this was the second cat I helped raise from kitten ever, but he was MINE); November – dad really took a downturn with his cancer; December – lost both mom and dad (in separate years) in mid and the end of the month. I adore the fall, I really, really do. And autumn through early winter means 3 of my favorite holidays, but damn it’s hard for my emotional memory.
So there’s this thing that happens with the current exercise fads, where you’re told, “oh, you’ll get addicted to it! Your body will start feeling so much more energized if you just set up a regular habit of exercise. And then, when you do skip a day in your schedule, you’ll feel all dragged out and horrible. You just have to be patient and keep it up!”
That does not happen for all humans. It especially does not happen for me. I loved fencing in college, even though I was never destined to be very good at it. (I’m too small. So while I can be limber and quick and get in under a longer-reached opponent’s guard; if the longer-reached opponent is better than me at defending, I will almost always lose.) But not once, in the entire semester, did I ever leave class feeling energized and better about life from the exercise itself.
I always hurt. I always, always was tired once I stopped babbling about hitting a mark I was excited about hitting. My brain might be energized about reaching a goal, but it’s not at all the same thing. My body doesn’t generate good chemicals from intense exercise. It generates lactic acid and all sorts of other very normal things that make my muscles hurt. And now that I’m older? My joints don’t appreciate repetitive motion particularly either.
I really loved archery too, but that wasn’t a particularly exerting sort of exercise, as we focused more on accuracy than pound weight, and I don’t think I ever got heavier in bow class than about 35 to 45 pounds. I’m small, and my upper body strength wasn’t (and isn’t) there. (Unlike my leg strength which gave me yet another advantage in fencing.)
I liked bowling okay, and I did all right with weight training and power walking (yeah, that was a weird combination class). But again, I never got to the point that all of these exercise gurus claim everyone reaches of the pain being overridden by the pleasurable hormones and other body chemicals. And that’s when I was in top shape as a young person.
Part of me will always believe they’re outright lying, and some people are just more susceptible to believing it, or don’t want to admit that they feel like crap still. But being older, I’m more inclined to suspect it just doesn’t work that way for me specifically.
I do get a boost out of playing in water. I will get tired, and if I swallow enough water I will really hurt, but it will never be enough to make me hate water.
I got a lot out of Tai Chi, and I’m somewhat sad that apparently the instructor style matters to me a lot. So I still haunt a yoga and tai chi page in the hopes that I will see a new instructor with a similar vibe teaching a time I can take. I did feel better after those classes, even though I also hurt; but for me that had more to do with certain meditative aspects of the practice.
But running? Weight lifting? Biking? (Let alone the team sport of indoor soccer.) Anything heavy in cardio, basically, and I’m a miserable, sweaty, over-heated mess who is focused on getting it done with as soon as possible so I can eat chocolate or red meat for a better morale boost.
You guys do you, with your boot camps and other gym type activities. Seriously. If you love it? More power to you. But please quit with the one-size-fits-all rhetoric. On the one hand, it makes you look like a liar. On the other hand, it just makes the people who it doesn’t fit feel even more broken.
And I’m pretty sure you’re not all assholes.
My heart is made of sweet words: whispered, giggled and shouted;
with soggy bits where tears seeped in and found the cracks and crevices.
My heart is made of fur: long and silken, short and coarse, baby fine and bunny soft;
with purrs that run ragged, silver, rumble and holes of black and white.
My heart is made of memories: rioting with laughter and curses;
scented with coffee, tea, flowers and balsam; and held tight in a squeeze.
My heart is full, and yet broken;
because of all that it has, and all that is gone.
Technically, there’s one more day: tomorrow. And I might write, but then again, I probably won’t. Even if I do, though, and even counting this blog (which I will), I will still have failed.
Part of that is not committing fully to writing daily. It can work for me, for sometimes as long as a 5 day streak. (I might have even managed a week streak. I’d have to look at the regular Nano history to find out.) But it doesn’t usually work for an entire month. And it appears to rarely work during one of the Camp months. April? Nope. July? Apparently nope. But November? I’ve done relatively well at least once.
I don’t think this means I’ll never be able to do it. I don’t think it means I can’t write or any of that. But I do think I need to start out with lower expectations. I wanted to adjust down to 10 items (pages were the indicator I was using for that), but the system wouldn’t let me go below 30. Even so, I wouldn’t have made that.
I can’t decide if that means I’m going to skip out on camps from now on, or if I’m just going to try to be more reasonable with my goals. Balancing real life stress vs trying to decompress in healthy ways (I have been reading more again lately, which is pretty awesome; I’ve cut back on gaming with friends lately, but I really enjoyed blowing stuff up with them on a regular weekly basis, and we’re still doing other gaming activities, which I really love) and then trying to add in a task that is almost a chore – but not – well, it doesn’t seem to be working.
It needs to become a new habit. But so do a few other things. Like exercising and dealing with first year home owner issues. I don’t want to back-burner writing, but I think it’s just going to be one of those things that has to be wedged in as I can; and unfortunately, the NaNo camps don’t seem to work for that particularly well.
I’m here. I haven’t been blogging much, and I’ve only written a bit else-web on other topics.
I miss internet people/connections in general, and a few people in specific. I have reached out, but only through the forums we generally connected in. The thought occurs to me that I actually have other avenues. But the way the world is makes me wonder if I’m intruding or crossing boundaries by taking advantage of them? I enjoy getting postal mail. You know, the old sort. Cards and letters with stamps. I’m not as good at sending it out. But I try and I have. It’s so terribly slow though. One thinks of calling, but then time zones raise their hands, clear their throats, and I worry about disruptions to life and peace of mind. This is a failing on my own part, likely, feeling as though people would rather I only be available when they want/need me, but that I hide neatly tucked away in my box until that time. Knowing that’s likely the case doesn’t actually reassure. Because what if?
I read a review the other day of Anne of Green Gables and how she could be read as bi-sexual. Or at least bi-romantic, with her love of Diana. And yet her equal love of Gilbert. And how that wasn’t what the author intended, and in fact, the review asserted, the author would be extremely upset because she herself thought such things inappropriate. And I have been dithering about exploring that rabbit hole. If it’s true, I will be so disappointed. Because what’s so wrong with that? I read it that way as a girl, I realized, when reading the review, even if I didn’t have the words for it, and connected on some level with it. Why take that away from thousands of people? Not that it actually does take it away, mind you. At a certain point, an author can intend all she or he likes, but what the reader brings to a work is also valid in interpreting and experiencing that work.
I have an odd relationship with summer. It’s my birth season, and my mother’s. But neither of us cared much in some ways for celebrating overly much on specific days, and while warmth is nice, being overly warm is not. At the same time, it’s still a break, in my head, because my father was tied to an academic calendar. And finally, it’s not at all a break, especially in my current job, because our general niche doesn’t find it that. It is one of the most challenging times of year in fact. And yet, we also typically go on a company trip in the summer. So yeah. Summer isn’t getting easier to deal with it, the longer I’m in my current position. I’m getting resigned to the stresses and volatility, in small ways. But I still dislike them. And I think they’re making me dislike summer.
I don’t know. There are other things. Those are the ones that are coherent and floating at the surface. I keep floating back to missing people. I miss playing on text-based roleplaying games. I miss being able to walk upstairs to visit friends on the 9th floor. I miss being able to call someone at all hours because we were younger and didn’t need sleep. I miss, in tiny ways, hanging out at conventions with a lot of people at once. I miss feeling able to set aside responsibilities as easily as I once did. I’ve always been a responsible person, who takes things perhaps too seriously, but lately, it feels harder to step away and breathe for a moment.
This is the part of being an adult that I understand people wanting to step away from. When they envy being a kid. Other parts? Not so much. I like not having to answer to someone for other things. For being able to say yes and no on my own terms. I just hate that as an adult my own terms have tightened down so much. I need to find a better balance there, as I’m the only one who can truly control that.