Category Archives: Essay

There is only During

I just turned 35. Another year. One more revolution around the sun. The usual jazz. I would say something about this year is different, but it’s actually the same and that’s a good thing when you think about it. I’m not creating something new specifically at this point because I’m already doing that. This will not be THE year I follow my dreams. I’m already doing that. Will there be things I do this year I’ve never done before? Absolutely. Yet that, in itself, is the same as last year. Different experiences, same MO.

In previous years, I have used my birthday as a respawn point. For those who aren’t up on the lingo, in gamer terms, respawning is coming back to life.  Usually with the implication you screwed up, died and thus need to not do what you just did, like walk into sniper fire.

I haven’t walked into sniper fire recently.
I do have habits I intend to change; however, I’m not using my birthday as a before/after. I’m just going to start on those when I get time. Right now is not the time. My life is currently in the early stages of developing into a thriller. There are bodies on the floor, the remains of a bomb everywhere and I’m playing detective to try to get ahead of the carnage. In the end, no one gets out alive, but I don’t intend to go any sooner than necessary.

I’ve gone to the doctor a lot lately. Having been the recipient of a less than optimal genetic hand, I have a number of issues I’m supposed to be medicated for. To say I have been a terrible patient would be an understatement. I consistently don’t show up for appointments, take or don’t take my medication when I feel like it, and do things I know are bad for me. Not gonna lie and say that’s about to change. Old habits die hard and they resurrect worse than the villain in a horror movie. Just when you think you’ve vanquished them, they come lurching from around the corner intent on dragging you back into the figurative darkness. So far though, I’m doing pretty good about going to my appointments. Next: Constant reminders that I feel fine BECAUSE of my medication not in spite of it. Almost anyone on maintenance medication has gone through this a few times. You take the meds. You feel better. You start to think you’re fine without it. You stop taking it. You still feel mostly fine, but you’re already in decline. You fall apart. You start it once more from the top.  Do you have a seat on this Ferris Wheel? I do. Mine’s got comfy cushions and a spangled cross-bar I’m on it so often. Someone asked me, “as smart as you are, knowing what you know, how do you keep doing this to yourself?” The answer is simply not-simple. I know and I know. Academically I know my medication is the reason I feel fine; however, I also know that I can do it without my medication. Toss in there the very American attitude of I can do it all by myself and you have non-compliance to medication directives.  It’s not about me being smart, it is about my feelings. Everyone has done something or another they head-smart knew was a terrible idea but heart-smart made sense at the time.

Me, my best friend and worst enemy. My birthday doesn’t mark my before and after. There is no before, there is no after, there is just during. During. Going forward and stepping back. Sometimes I’m with the music, sometimes I’m not.

Blogging & Me

I’m going to be honest, I’m terrible at this blogging thing.  I tell myself I’m going to keep up with it and then I go weeks without saying anything at all.

It’s not because I don’t have anything to say. I have lots of things to say; however, I don’t think everything I think needs to be immortalized on a platform for people to read over and over again. Much of it is the equivalent of a Facebook post about what I had for breakfast, only relevant to a small number of people for an incredibly short period of time.  Therefore, I don’t think a blog is the best idea for me. Social media, by nature of its transience, is more the kind of connection I tend to make. Pithy things come to me. I share them. I forget them almost immediately.

Welcome to having the memory of a goldfish.

I do keep a fairly regular journal. It’s full of the random head drivel I come up with on a regular basis. Some of it even make it out of there and onto the page for other people to read.

The point of this post: I’m not going to apologize for not blogging regularly anymore. I know I don’t blog regularly. Anyone who’s been around long enough to realize I don’t blog regularly already knows it. New people, if they stick around, will get it soon enough. Since it is reality, gonna stop wasting energy apologizing for it.

Raising the Bar

Or as this post should be called “Raising the Bar until you trip on it and smack your face hard enough to break something.”

I don’t have writer’s block. I don’t actually believe in the concept. I have a different problem with getting words down on the page and I use the term “Raising the Bar” to describe it.

Raising the bar is the term for when you have a goal, but you put it out of reach to the point where you don’t even bother trying because you already know you can’t reach it and thus that 15th rerun of something you’ve seen seems like a safer use of your time.

Originally, I picked up this concept from “The Now Habit” by Dr. Neil Fiore, I think. The book is about combating procrastination, which is definitely an issue here.

Case in point, I need to write. However, my standard bar for productivity means I write 2k a day or more. However, with the level of stuff going on in my life, I haven’t managed to get even close to that in forever (figuratively, been about three months since I worked consistently).

In May, I should have finished Cities in Time.  On the 25th to be exact. For those keeping score at home, it is now the 2nd of July. I am approximately 65k into this book with no absolutely certain wordcount to finish and I haven’t written more than 5k a fortnight. This ranks on me really hard because I can and have written 5k a day at times. Compounds my problem by showing me I am capable of taking care of business but currently not getting it done. Failing my personal expectations only makes it harder for me to get started.

The first step in dealing with any problem is the awareness you have a problem. Problem: I need to finish writing this bloody book. Therefore, I need words on the page. The bar is currently at 2k a day. I have not reached this bar in some time. Therefore, the bar is too high. The bar needs to drop. Okay, so how far can I drop the bar and still feel like I’m getting somewhere?

Going back to the basics: forward motion is forward motion. Momentum can be built up over time, if things are consistent (or at least mostly consistent). Not going to shoot for 2k because I need some points on my side of the board. 500 words a day. 500 is doable but not intimidating.

Deep breath. Going for it.