Still thinking…

*

It’s cold and gray again this morning, which calls for another mug of coffee while I stare out the windows some more. I may be slow getting underway but no worries, all the quiet mornings are belong to ME.

Life hack: give yourself 8 to 12 hours of alone time in the morning to mentally prepare for the day. -Roshan Patel

Three’s perfect but I’ll settle for one.

*

I feel this in my soul.

*

The deep quiet of winter is a boon to anxious humans, soothing like a weighted blanket. [DISCLAIMER: They give me claustrophobia.] If you aren’t personally acquainted with anxiety, it feels like everything-all-the-time-stacked-layered-and-shredded. Your brain runs from one end of the track to the other without letup unless it’s veering off on a side rail or briefly waylaid by sportsing or digital games. And even then…

I have a cousin who’s more of a sister, and we’ve planned since the last time we saw each other… maybe five years ago? … to spend some time on the phone together catching up again. As mom to many kids and grandkids, phone conversations are her life-blood, whereas in my little world they look a lot like this:

Today holds a doctor’s appointment and a Christmas party, one after lunch, one this evening, so of course I woke up at 6am planning for both because they’re mere hours away with nothing between now and then. It makes no sense… but if reason is what we’re after, we can let that go… anxiety doesn’t provide that commodity. Being a neurodivergent bundle of contradictions isn’t a glamorous assignment but I’ve lived to tell you about it so far, which counts as a win every day, and I hope it gives somebody else a spark of optimism. It’s imperative, considering reality, that we pull together any time we can. Life is hard. The more we know, the better.

It’s likely that between now and New Year’s Day most of us will survive the daily requirements plus all the extras. We’ll drift into a fresh calendar with what passes for optimism, and sail on. And we’ll be happy… because we find the stuff of happiness everywhere, we can’t help ourselves. Anxiety as this girl lives it isn’t worry and it isn’t ABOUT anything. It’s about EVERYTHING. The details, timing, deadlines, other people’s expectations, navigating the ins and outs. If you relate, come talk to me in COMMENTS, please.

Sometimes it would be so Zen to be a bug, not seeing every sight, thinking every thought, feeling every feel… until an errant boot heel ended that pleasant reverie, and I’d be quickly reassessing my possibilities for continued existence. Better to stay in my assigned form and deal with what I know, convoluted and incomprehensible as it might seem sometimes. Where are the people who led us to believe we’d have life figured out by age 40 at the latest? Not here are they? I wonder if some of them had an all-encompassing epiphany toward the end and failed to tell us about it. Wouldn’t it save the generations a lot of work if we simply adopted a generous system of file-sharing?

Being an overthinker isn’t entirely bad:

See, not ENTIRELY bad, amirite?

We’ll eventually figure the whole thing out. Or not.

Image

Ta-da!

*

Drumroll and some horns, please, it’s a breakthrough morning.

Someone asked me years ago what I saw myself doing at age 65. If I recall correctly, my answer was “Whatever I want to,” and then we were off and running again, trying to keep up, losing contact with dreams…

Now, ten years past 65, I sit here at my desk thinking about goals… options… open doors… roadblocks… the stuff of everyday living, and it’s beyond exhausting. Not DOING it, THINKing about it. All this year, on reasonably nice days, I walked and walked and walked. But for a farm girl I’m a big sissy and when the weather turns cold, so do I. And then I sit inside feeling guilty and under a cloud of self-reproach that’s entirely unnecessary and unproductive BECAUSE…

… we determined a few posts back that I DON’T DO MORNINGS, so why do I continue to torment my psyche about it? Here’s what I know, suddenly, having just typed those words… IT’S A COP-OUT my brain employs. By which I mean, “Well, I didn’t make it out to SPL for YET ANOTHER MORNING, so the day’s pretty much shot for that. I mean, it gets dark around 2pm now, so… ” Another approach occurs to me… I could utilize experience and intuition to figure this out and make something work. Not a problem, just a challenge.

GOAL: To walk five days a week. Or, you know… three.

REALITY: When it’s cold and miserable outside, any excuse is legit. Nope, sorry, not today, no can do, blah, blah, blah…

FACT #1: Sports Pavilion Lawrence is, under most circumstances, open to Douglas County residents every weekday from early to late, and they have a snazzy walking track that’s safe, if inevitably boring. But did I mention that if you live in the county, the facility is FREE to use?

FACT #2: It’s been established that mornings are not my personal jam; however, afternoons exist and will have to be taken into the equation if I hope to come out a winner on this.

The track encompasses the interior of the building, on two levels. It’s cozy inside and there are people there. A TODDLER would have shed their inherent laziness long before now, faced facts (see above) and been ON it. Accountability is tedious, but so is DISability, so…

Somebody do what you can to keep me responsible… thx. It’s 15 or 20 minutes’ driving time each way, so it’s not like walking a block down to The Summit to work out. Which I never did even one time when they were open, so there’s that…

But let’s not make this all about me, she said, turning for a profile shot… if you’re a Boomer, you’re sort of an Old, and moving is your ticket to the future. Not as in “Let’s pack the truck and get outta here,” but as in legs, arms, booty, everything well-oiled and grooving to the beat in your head. We can give ourselves a genuine advantage for the crazy golden years, and it’s worth getting totally serious about. Totally. Positive resolutions to us all.

Image

Taming the beast…

*

Felt cute so I deleted no fewer than 3,000 pieces of mail from my folders before 9am, won’t regret it later. They sneak in by the hour, disregarding every vow I’ve made to limit them severely, but incentive finally arrived this morning in the form of “need to know,” and I proceeded to wreak havoc in all directions while searching for that one elusive document. Found it!! And the only survivors are billing notices and book recommendations, mostly the latter because the picture is gradually coming into focus… the years ahead might include more reading than the rest of my life put together. Part of the “plan” I mentioned the other day.

One thing that has become clear is that the future, which is the present, has to be looked straight in the eye and dealt with. It’s here, it’s now, it isn’t going anywhere, it’s up to us to live it well. Since I can’t imagine a present/future without books, it’s a grace to know there’s an unlimited selection… so far.

My love affair with books started with my mother reading to me… one of my earliest memories. And then my five-year-old legs stepped into the Carnegie Library Children’s Room and I was forever captive to reading. Beyond Kim… and music… nothing shuts down my ever-present anxiety like walking into a book and closing the door behind me. What an incredible thing! Markings on surfaces that possess the power to deliver us to unknown worlds. And what a relief to know that someone else’s thoughts can keep me away from my own for long stretches of time.

For reasons, a lot of which I’m just now understanding, the story of my life has been undergirded by an unshakeable sense of anxiety, go me. I’m surprised, from this perspective, to find that I’ve merely been wounded by the unexpected instead of entirely disabled, and it’s empowering to come at it from this end of the telescope because all my perspectives have changed. If you know, you know. It’s crippling if we fall slave to it. Pretty sure you’ll identify…

In truth, I’ve mostly stuck with it no matter how awkward things got.

*

It takes nothing to kick high OR low anxiety into gear, it’s always there waiting for a chance to screw everything up, so it helps to keep this handy:

I’m ninja-level.

*

My brain is an unbeliever.

*

You feel this in your bones, right?

*

Workin’ on it every day and would love to reach a point where I could say the following in complete honesty:

*

It would be lovely if you’d share with me your best escape routes when anxiety attacks, the quickest ways to disarm it, the quietest remedies. It’s a constant presence but a terrible friend, so spending less time together would be super. Come talk me down…

Image

Laziness… the habit of resting before you’re tired

How to tell if something has become a habit… when you feel utterly miserable if you miss a day. Kim woke me up when he left for PickleBall, which I assume was around 6:30, and the next thing I knew it was nearly 8:00. When I stepped out onto the balcony the sun and thick hot air made me duck right back inside to think it over, whereupon I decided some buttery grits with toast and jam sounded more rejuvenating… and here we are.

If every day went according to plan, we’d be robots, but missing my morning walk will stick like glue and I’ll be looking for shade toward evening to make up for it. Seven months ago I couldn’t envision ditching the lifetime nerve pain and doing whatever I wanted to do… so now when I pass up opportunities to DO… I feel it. I’m calling that a beautiful thing while I line up the day… there’s usually enough to do.

I remember scorching summers, some total drought-makers, but the current heat wave feels ponderous even when the humidity is below 50%. In an era when all our chickens seem headed home to roost, I’m not holding out false hope for consistently milder weather any time soon, by which I mean I may never see that day again. Good to be old… I got to see most of it at least once. Live with this we will, kids, ’til we die. The human race is nearly inscrutable on every level, but one thing we know about us… even the gods can’t tell us a damn thing because we arrived here knowing it all.

Not a lot to write home about right now, just felt like checking in with everybody. And I saved another little stack of stuff to share with you…

Right off the top, a commentary on the past couple of weeks:

***

In that vein, and don’t let on that I told you, but Kim always wanted to invent a Braille halter-top.

***

Self-explanatory.

***

This one’s just a freebie.

***

I like to reiterate the following on a semi-regular basis to keep misinterpretations to a minimum if possible:

***

This is critically important, so don’t skim past it…

***

And this… shared by a wonderful friend… because I love it.

Image

Unraveling the threads…

The other day I shared this little story on Facebook and it generated a brief but interesting conversation…

My impression was that I surprised at least a few people in the convo, catching them off-guard with a confessional comment or two… and I’ve thought about it since. We give it all sorts of names and labels… apprehension, disquiet, restlessness, watchfulness… but by any description, anxiety can be crippling. The first two years of isolation after COVID began showed me just how intricately-wrapped I was in the arms of silent worry. That sense of disquiet has been with me since before memory, and the reveal came because the isolation left me with nothing but time inside my own head.

If anxiety lives under your skin you’re likely to identify with some of this…

I’m saving the pertinent details for my bestseller, so on the “how did I get this way” front I’ll simply say for now that LIFE HAPPENS. It’s been extremely sweet to me in certain ways, though, so I’ve had my good moments, stumbling through life, even at times feeling marvelously (and temporarily) in control of my existence. I cherish those times, which are ongoing. But the flipside that we’re not talking about right now never goes away, just hangs out in doorways and dark alleys waiting to trip me up and put me on the wrong side of myself. It takes only a word or a look, an image from the past, a riff of a song, a perceived disappointment… and that other me takes over. I don’t like her at all because all the things I want to be… she isn’t. I keep thinking year by year that we’ll reach a peaceful settlement, she and I… but she’s tricky and has been running the show far longer than the me I really am… the one who’s strong through everything and knows what she’s doing. (For some reason the witchy half of me just laughs when I say that.)

If you’re me, with Anxiety in the driver’s seat, you drag your feet about making plans, even though you want to see the people involved. It’s complicated. You make all your doctors’ appointments for afternoon because you need the whole morning to get mentally ready for it, which includes showering and dressing. Situations encompassing more than four people are anxiety-inducing because despite spending ridiculous dollars on high-tech hearing assists you can’t hear shit… all the voices and background sounds blend together, obliterating consonants from the beginnings and endings of words, which renders them unintelligible. My glued-on but sincere smile and the occasional nod of my head are intended to convey a general sense of understanding on my part, along with the acknowledgment that it doesn’t really matter, I know there won’t be a test, we’re all just being sociable here… as anxiety percolates.

Phone calls are a test of will, mine against the witch under my skin. The anxiousness attached to this one harkens back to the days before I realized I was losing my hearing, I just knew people were talking softer and faster and why was this happening all at once? I’m realizing that it’s really not such a big deal to have a phone conversation, and it’s where these expensive earbuds shine, so I’m on the verge of winning this one. In fact, since breaking out of the prison of nerve pain, I’ve been taking on lots of tiny challenges and winning, which bodes better for the future.

I’ve learned how to be a duck, calm on the surface, paddling for my life underneath, which as it turns out is the definition of adulting. And I’m learning that the world of my thoughts is the true one… as long as I keep them real. When I was little I wondered what people did after 40 or so, when they knew everything. Just read books ’til they died, I figured.

***

I don’t know the answer to the question posed in the graphic, but I know I’m a champion at letting things steal my joy. I can break my own heart in record time with conversations that never happened, slights that never came my way at all. It’s crazy.

But never mind, it’ll all be in the book…

***

Image

Let’s talk about home and comfort…

Friends will be surprised to hear that I walked to New Jersey yesterday morning. Strolled from 8th to 9th to Connecticut to New York to New Jersey, which kept me on good sidewalks and brought me out at the train station, ready for the return loop home. Went out just after 7am but it was already getting steamy, so 45 minutes’ trekking was about right. This morning I woke up later and it was already breathless outside, so I’ve declared this to be Paperwork Day (why do we still have PAPER work??), while soothing any trace of guilt with iced coffee. Oh, there’s all that laundry, too, of course, good thing I conserved energy right off the bat, so wise…

The days grow ever weirder while that other shoe takes on weight, so here’s some nonsense I saved for just such days…

***

***

***

I love you, fellow weirdos, we must hang together. Or we will hang separately…

***

Thomas Wolfe wrote a whole novel centered around the fact that You Can’t Go Home Again, and someone’s explanation says “If you try to return to a place you remember from the past it won’t be the same as you remember it.” I think it’s the other way around – we can’t go back because the people who never left won’t let us be anything other than the labels we wore then. That strikes me as an important fail-safe… if nothing changes over a lifetime, a society is dying, so home has to be wherever we find ourselves.

***

I hope your heart feels at home today.

Image

Are we there yet?

How’s the whole space-time continuum thing working for ya’ lately? Feeling a little stretched? Compressed maybe? Are we any closer to understanding the warp and weft of the fabric of our existence? Are we tuned in or out? “Einstein concluded that space and time, rather than separate and unrelated phenomena, are actually interwoven into a single continuum (called space-time) that spans multiple dimensions. So how many dimensions are there in the space-time continuum?”

https://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/what-is-the-space-time-continuum

This, boys and girls, is what happens when rain and gray skies become the order of the day for days on end… the coping mechanisms run right off the charts into unexplored territory, including black holes.

My brain has run amuck, so in lieu of actual wisdom this morning I offer you memes, glorious memes, which die an ignominious death if not shared forever.

From the current news cycle:

******

******

******

******

******

Image

The longest day…

Artwork shared by Diane Achez-Bush

Life is too short and sometimes too long. It zips past while it drags by, minute by minute… and four days of chill overcast this deep into spring is three too many. The hue outside my windows is brand-new-wet-spring-psycho-neon-green, though, and who’s actually complaining? We’re swiftly losing East Lawrence to the forest, so goodbye church spire… yellow house… construction project… apartment complexes… see you in the fall. Feels cozy and benign, but sunshine will truly be lovely when it gets here.

A string of warm sunny days would ease the newsfeed angst just a bit. Every day brings its load of creeping disaster, and the gloomy skies make it all just a tad much. The fact that I don’t watch TV coverage anymore keeps it at a workable distance, but the following is true…

“In all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable is each other.”

~ Carl Sagan

… so it takes the company of other humans to help process and deal with all of it. I’m a social creature only in small doses so my outside input comes primarily from people on social media whose vibe connects with mine, people I’d never meet any other way who make life better on a daily basis. My sense of human decency threatens every day to extract me from Twitter, but my heart keeps me there among chosen connections. Facebook can be a trial too, but my longterm relationships there mean it would likely require an all-out fascist takeover of the platform for me to leave it. We all need people we can talk to, and Kim shouldn’t have to fill that role for me 24 hours a day, uncomplaining buddy that he is, so I’ll keep hanging out on the internet because it’s preferable to either prison or a padded cell.

******

Kids, I got this far, writing as therapy, and decided I didn’t have anything to say. OMG, has there been a longer day in recent memory?? It’s 3:30pm and feels like 6!

******

So that’s how yesterday was. Just one of those days. Hints of sun this morning, but chilly and breezy… with more rain predicted this afternoon. The sense of limbo that settled in during the pandemic goes on and on and I’m always quietly braced for some other shoe to drop, so I need to get outside with my walking poles and exorcise my demons. Just have to hang in through today and then it looks like this…

Turns out I really DIDN’T have anything to say, but I think I’ve found the problem…

******

Please enjoy it all, rain or sun, and make it work for you.

Image

Storyshucker

A blog full of humorous and poignant observations.

Playing for Time

"How did it get so late so soon?" ~Dr. Seuss

Mitch Teemley

The Power of Story

John Wreford Photographer

Words and Pictures from the Middle East

Live Life, Be Happy

Welcome to my weekly blog on life's happiness. We are all human and we all deserve to smile. Click a blog title or scroll down. Thanks for stopping by.

Wild Like the Flowers

Rhymes and Reasons

The Last Nightowl

Just the journal of an aging man looking at the world

Jenna Prosceno

Permission to be Human

Flora Fiction

Creative Space + Literary Magazine

tonysbologna : Honest. Satirical. Observations

Funny Blogs With A Hint Of Personal Development

ipledgeafallegiance

When will we ever learn?: Common sense and nonsense about today's public schools in America.

The Alchemist's Studio

Raku pottery, vases, and gifts

Russel Ray Photos

Life from Southern California, mostly San Diego County

Phicklephilly

The parts of my life I allow you to see

Going Medieval

Medieval History, Pop Culture, Swearing

It Takes Two.

twinning with the Eichmans

Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature. Over 15,000 daily subscribers. Over 6,000 archived posts.

rarasaur

frightfully wondrous things happen here.

FranklyWrite

Live Life Write

Social Justice For All

Working towards global equity and equality

Drinking Tips for Teens

Creative humour, satire and other bad ideas by Ross Murray, an author living in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, Canada. Is it truth or fiction? Only his hairdresser knows for sure.

john pavlovitz

Stuff That Needs To Be Said

Gretchen L. Kelly, Author

Gretchen L. Kelly

KenRobert.com

random thoughts and scattered poems

Margaret and Helen

Best Friends for Sixty Years and Counting...

WordPress.com News

The latest news on WordPress.com and the WordPress community.

Musings of a Penpusher

A Taurean suffering from cacoethes scribendi - an incurable itch to write.

Ned's Blog

Humor at the Speed of Life

Funnier In Writing

A Humor Blog for Horrible People

%d bloggers like this: