Tag Archive | The Me Project 3.0

Well, there’s your problem

So, despite some 5-hour Energy and a (mostly) willing spirit, I did not actually get much of anything accomplished today.

I’d like to say that I was distracted by some meaningful activity, like job hunting, but no. I got lost doing mostly meaningless crap, though I did get several blog posts written and published. (Yes, I hoard blogs like I hoard everything else; that shouldn’t surprise you.) I also changed the header image on this blog — thought it was perhaps time to retire the moody, black and white Winter shot of the Rideau River in favour of a more upbeat, Summer panorama shot* of the Ottawa riverfront — and finally uploaded some photos from my flight home from Halifax on June 30. (They’re in my Flickr photostream. Have I mentioned that I love Porter Airlines?) Sure, you could argue that all of those items were really low on my “to do” list compared to so many other things, but at least they were on the list. I could have spent the day just watching TV or sleeping.

In any case, I’m sitting here tonight (er, this morning) thinking that I can get stuck into things full on tomorrow. Except that tomorrow I really *do* need to finish up some freelance work that I’ve been putting off (payment would be nice and, so far, no one seems willing to pay me for doing nothing), and it really has to take priority over everything. So the declutter gets put on the back burner for another day. Aw, who am I kidding? Another couple of days at least.

Before you know it, another week rolls by and there I am, exactly where I started, saying to myself that I won’t do this again. Except where I do. This is where this all starts, where it all balloons into a situation you’ve lost complete control over.

How do you choose between activities when all of them have the same importance? (Forget that I’m sometimes choosing between activities that have no importance at all. I’m talking about those times when the activities really are things that have to be done sooner rather than later.) How do normal, sane people cope with this? Do they just never put themselves in situations where there is no hierarchy, no clear choice? Or do they artificially inflate/deflate the importance of conflicting obligations in order to ensure that there is no question which one must be done first?

* Panorama image purchased three years ago from iStockphoto for a different blog, but never used. See? I guess I did actually accomplish something today after all.

Round and round she goes…

…where she’ll stop, no one knows.

Spinning in endless circles, revisiting the same issues over and over and over again. Sidestepping them rather than dealing with them, only to meet them again on the next spin around the dance floor. Good evening, Mr. Clutter. How are you tonight, Mr. Procrastination? So kind of you all to stop by. Well, must dash.

I have a lot of, well, let’s call them “challenges” that I am trying to work through. Or rather, that I’m considering trying to work through. (Mr. Procrastination is a persistent suitor who keeps distracting me from actually doing much of anything, and I let him. Mr. Clutter reaps the benefits.)

The one common root running through almost all of those challenges — financial, health, career, spirit, life — is clutter. Clutter in my environment, clutter in my head, clutter on my computer, clutter in my life in general. Stuff. Loads and loads of unnecessary crap. I’ve let Chaos run rampant through my life, providing me with a ready (though pathetically transparent) excuse: “Oh, I’d could fix <whatever> if only I didn’t have this clutter problem. Oh, well. Too late now.”

I’m calling “Bullshit!” on myself.

It’s been over a year since I completed stage one of dehoarding. You won’t be surprised to learn that not only haven’t I moved on to stage two, but I seem to have gotten worse. (It’s much like dieting — you lose 20 pounds only to gain back 30.) I forget too easily how nice, how much lighter it felt after stage one, how much better I feel without the clutter. (If you’ve never been a hoarder, you can’t understand. It truly is like being a drug addict — you know it is bad for you, you know you’d feel better if you stopped, but you just can’t; the pull of the drug is stronger. And it feeds upon itself. The more clutter, the worse you feel. The worse you feel, the worse the clutter gets. )

I was sitting here today, thinking of all the things I need to do and all of those thoughts led back to this intense need to declutter first. I can’t properly concentrate on anything else while the clutter exists so I’m doing a half-assed job of everything else in my life. That can only lead to heartache, so it’s time I smartened up. (How many times have I said that?) Instead of thinking about all of the other stuff on my mind — job hunting, freelancing, health stuff, my mother — I need to spend the next week (or however long it takes) just concentrating on the one thing with the power over all the rest, the 500 lb gorilla on my back.

Edited to add: Ha, just noticed that my Jonathan Cainer horoscope for today includes the following:

You’re tempted to do whatever’s easiest. But if the path of least resistance leads round in a circle, it may be time to embrace the possibility of change, regardless of how much courage this difficult decision demands of you.

Well, there you go.

Press “Play”

pause

My life slowed down in October when my mother found out about her ovarian cancer.

It faltered, stuttered in February when my mother had her stroke.

And it paused completely in May when it became clear that my mother wasn’t going to have a miraculous recovery, or even a long partial recuperation.

My life has narrowed in focus to the daily (sometimes multi-daily) phone call. Everything that happens before and after the call seems to be just killing time until the next call. It’s not something I did consciously. It crept up on me so quietly that I just didn’t see it coming. It’s part desperate, unspoken need to have one last day talking to my mother — even if she’s more often than not somewhere else; part fervent wish to provide what meager emotional support I can to my father when everyone else has moved on with their busy lives; and part just waiting for whatever is going to happen to just happen already. (We won’t even talk about the paralyzing guilt that last item brings with it.)

I can’t live this way. Something has to change.

Start as you mean to go on

Though I’ve been overweight for much of my adult life, I was never debilitated by it. Up until about 1999 or so, I could and did walk long distances, did Tai Chi and yoga, could walk up and down stairs without trouble, despite weighing at times the equivalent of two regular-sized women. I had some back problems, but that was intermittent and more related to my tendency to be accident prone (and to having an ample bosom) than to my weight or state of health, since it started long before I ever became significantly overweight.

Sometime during the year or so leading up to my pulmonary embolism at the beginning of 2000, and worsening significantly in the years following, my body started to break down. There isn’t a moment that I am awake or asleep that at least one part of my body doesn’t ache, a constant miasma of unwellness. From the top of my head, where the remnants of past fractures make my hair follicles hurt, to the constant ache in lymph nodes under my arm and jaw, to the aches and pains in every joint — arthritic fingers and toes; elbows and knees that bore the brunt of too many clumsy falls and broken bones; the almost permanently torn rotator cuffs from bra straps that struggle and fail to win against gravity.

That’s not even considering the other physical complaints and breathing that feels as though someone is sitting on your chest all the time. I feel permanently oxygen-starved. I can’t concentrate. I have the attention span of a squirrel. I feel like I’m constantly recovering from the achy, feverish, tired, slightly-drugged effects of the flu. I’ve put up with it all for so long, barely able to muster the interest to note the issues, let alone actually do something about them. A few half-hearted past efforts failed, unsurprisingly, because I just couldn’t sustain the attention long enough to break old habits and build up new ones, resulting a Catch-22 situation as neglect results in more and more damage to a body already under extreme duress, which in turn exacerbates the mental and emotional issues leading to more self-abuse and neglect, and the cycle continues. 

It really needs to stop.

I turn 45 in a couple of months, and I have the body of a 90-year-old. A sick, frail 90-year-old. If I want to see 46, I need to smarten the hell up.

Now.

Not tomorrow. Not in a month. Now.

Little steps can lead to big results, but only if you actually take those first steps. I know what I need to do, I just need to figure out how best to sustain my wandering attention span until better habits are in place and can sustain themselves. Weird as it may sound, I may end up having to temporarily rely on 5-Hour Energy as a daily supplement instead of an occasional pick-me-up, since it is one of the few things that actually helps me to concentrate when my mind is all over the place. (It’s certainly the only reason that I was even capable of writing and publishing this post, which would otherwise have remained a half-formed thought in my Drafts folder for months.)