I’m feeling a bit worn out, this morning. I’ve been feeling weary for a number of weeks, now. The whole international war / terror / WTF scene gets me down – partly because of the tone that everyone is taking, partly because I know from independent research how much the USA actually has to do with creating the conditions of international war / terror / WTF.
Work is good, and I love my job. It’s a lot, though. There’s a reason why many, many people don’t last at that company for longer than a year or two. It can be a brutal environment to work in, for some. For me, it’s just a lot. All the time. It keeps me on my toes. And it also wears me out.
That’s complicated, too.
My spouse has been so-so, for the past couple of months. They’ve been working a lot, and this weekend is their last business trip weekend till spring arrives. I’m ready for that break. It’s about danged time. When my spouse has a business trip, they need help getting everything together, and then when they return, there is the inevitable emotionalism, the volatility, the antagonism that accompanies their fatigue from the trip.
That’s less complicated, but considering that I need to deal with it when I am typically not at my best — when I’m wiped out from work, or I’m just trying to catch up with myself — it becomes more complicated than it needs to.
And I get tired. Worn out, wrung out, like a sponge that’s been used too often, and not rinsed out enough.
What to do?
What to do, indeed?
Ultimately, the only thing for me to do is… exactly what I’ve been doing for the past several days: take care of myself, don’t let myself get caught up in a lot of drama, see the bigger picture, tend to the things in my life that have meaning (and also need to get done)… and take care of myself some more.
That’s what I’ve been doing for the past few days. I’ve been feeling really out of it, and I’ve almost been in a couple of car accidents — once when someone braked really fast in front of me and I nearly rear-ended them (I stopped just inches from their rear bumper), and once when someone pulled right out in front of me when I was approaching the intersection where they were stopped, and they drove me off the road. Fortunately, my latest vehicle has all-wheel drive and anti-locking brakes. It saved my ass twice.
After the second near-miss, I realized that I wasn’t being careful enough. I wasn’t paying close enough attention. I was going too fast, in general.
So, I slowed everything down. I took a much more gradual approach to my life, not getting all wrapped up in the drama – the drama – and just focusing on the things in front of me. Yesterday, especially, I did myself a huge favor and just took it easy. I caught up on some reading and writing I’ve been meaning to do, and instead of running out to do errands, I took a nice long nap and laid in bed as long as humanly possible, till my spouse needed to pack up and get on the road.
And last night, I just chilled. Again. No television, just listening to music, thinking about things, hanging out around the house.
It was just what I needed — a break. And it was as much of a mental break, as it was a logistical or physical one. I needed to just step away from all the craziness and busy-ness of “normal” life and allow myself to just be. I need to focus on things that build me up, not tear me down, and really live as fully as I can from moment to moment, rather than getting stuck in my head and getting tangled up in others’ tortuous thought processes.
It’s that hermit mind – desert mind – that I actually seek. I cannot control the world around me, and I cannot control the behavior of others. But I can control my own reactions to it and the way I relate to it. Every situation offers many, many different opportunities to get my act together. It’s really up to me, whether or not I do that.
And you know – it’s funny. The longer I live, the less I actually need to have and do. I realized lately that, all summer long,I wore pretty much the same clothing, from week to week. I have a week’s worth of work clothing, and I have my comfortable clothing for home. I wear just two or three t-shirts, trading off between them to wash them when they get really gamey. And I have two pairs of jeans — one that I wear to do outdoor work, one that I wear in polite company. I have a pair of sturdy work pants, and I have a hoodie that I wear to do dirty jobs.
I don’t need more than that.
I also don’t need all the busy-work projects I pursued for so many years. At one point in time, I had over 20 different projects in the works, with complete plans for execution and maintenance. I knew exactly how it should all be done. And if I hadn’t been alone in those projects, I probably would have put some of them into action. But I was alone. I am alone. I don’t have the time and energy for a lot of social interaction, and I’m not a big fan of talk-talk-talk. I’m exhausted when I get home from work in the evenings, and on the weekends, the last thing I want to do is spend time with others. I spent my entire day — or any time I am interacting with others — going to great lengths to “meet them where they are”, to speak in terms that they can understand, to relate to them in ways that make sense to them, to connect with them on a shared human level.
At times, I have thought it would help for me to find someone who can offer the same to me — to meet me on my terms, and relate to me in ways that make sense to me. But I actually don’t want that. I want to be left alone. I need solitude. I need there to not be any direct human interactions that force me to work so hard.
Dealing with people is hard. It takes a lot of effort from me. Nobody around me actually realizes that, because I work hard at hiding it. I work really, really hard at hiding it, and it works. It works so well, that even the people I try to explain it to… well, they can’t actually fathom it. Because I seem so personable and engaging.
That’s the finely sharpened double-edged sword of my world.
That sword allows me to have solitude in the midst of all the chaos around me. Playing to an audience with a persona that puts others on center-stage lets me keep my inner world exactly that — inner. Is it lonely? Being alone in this is a lot less lonely than trying to explain to others what it’s like “in here”. People just don’t know how to be empathetic. They just don’t know how to relate to others on their terms. Well, some people do, but they’re often hijacked by sociopaths who latch onto them to fill their needs. And the empathetic people get sucked dry in the process.
In the end, though, it’s all about choice. I know I live the way I live in part by choice, in part by default. It’s all I can do, really, under the circumstances. You make the best of what you’ve got, and you learn some lessons along the way. It’s all fine, it’s all good.
Fall is here. Thanksgiving is next week. I’m traveling on Tuesday and won’t be back till the next Monday. Maybe I’ll blog here, while I’m away. Maybe I’ll go “dark” and re-emerge after I return. Who’s to say? It’s a tough time for me, so the important thing is to take good care of myself, make the effort to remain positive, and think in terms of the bigger picture, while the holiday craziness sets in.
I’m tired of everything. But I don’t have to let it get me down.