Got my punchlist… ready to roll

checklistMy gut has responded well to cutting out the tiny seeds and nuts. I can still eat my granola (which has walnuts in it), so that’s fine. I can’t imagine getting rid of ALL nuts in my diet. Just those little tiny ones that cause me so much trouble.

I’ve got my punchlist of all the stuff I need to do for the next 18 hours, and it’s good. I’ve got it all written down, in the order of priority, and I’m working my way through it gradually. One piece at a time. It looks like a lot, but there are a lot of little 15-minute jobs in there, that I can do concurrently. Or that might not even take that long.

Bottom line is, I’ve got my mission clear in my mind, and now it’s time to move forward.

Onward — into the day — onward.

After a flurry of activity… a bit of calm

Decisions, decisions…

All the excitement of last weekend is finally chilling out.

I’ve talked before about how I’m just not interested in things that used to fascinate me.

I’m actually interested in a whole lot more things. And the weird thing about how my brain works now, is that I’ll completely forget the things that I’m fascinated with, and what I can do to explore them.

I think I need to make a list.

And even more importantly, I need to stick to it.

I have been really, really impulsive for the past month or so. I think the talks with doctors get to me. I went to see a physiatrist yesterday to help me with my neck and back, and possibly with my headaches. They were really good, professional, and they ordered x-rays and referred me to a physical therapist of my choosing.

I have another neuro appointment coming up next week, and I’m a little nervous that I’m not going to handle that right. The last visit was okay, it was just overwhelming talking about my issues with a brand new person. The next time will be better, I’m sure.

I hope.

Anyway… nerves…

When I’m nervous, I have all kinds of “great” ideas that I want to rush into right away. A lot of them are really good, it’s just not the time, yet. And by getting caught up in the new ideas, the existing ideas fall away.

But I’m so caught up in the new ideas, I don’t feel the need to think about them. The old ideas seem boring to me. No spark. No excitement. No motivation.

No good.

That’s what’s happened to me. I had a flurry of activity, this past weekend, and I actually did some decent things. I just didn’t do the things I was intending to do. And that’s no good. I lost a lot of time AND I didn’t exercise the way I usually do, so my system feels more off. And I’m having more headaches.

I seem to be calming down, now, for some reason. I think I just got to a point where I realized ALL THIS STUFF IS NOT GOING TO GET DONE, UNLESS I MAKE SOME CHOICES. I can’t just have it all hanging around. I need to clear some of this stuff out.

So, it’s back to basics. I’m digging out my old list of projects and picking things to work on. I have five things “in rotation” right now, which means I can do one thing each day of the week for the next three months, and get them all done.

And leave my weekends open to just enjoy myself. Unwind. Kick back. Relax, already. Just relax.

Because that’s what I need.

And that’s what makes everything else possible.

Onward. But be smart about it.

Gratitude List for the Day Before Thanksgiving

Time to remember all the good in my life

At this time of year, it can be easy to get caught up in the rush of the holidays – especially since Christmas shopping seems to kick off around Halloween time, these days. The rush and hustle and bustle might help some get their minds off the stresses of family interactions and other holiday challenges, but it also makes it hard to just let in the good that we have.

I need to get that back. I need to get out of my head and see for real what I have to be truly thankful for. Here’s my Top Ten list for today:

  1. I have a steady job. This has not always been the case. After my TBI in 2004, I lost a really great job and bounced from one position to another for about five years, before I could manage to settle into a position without bolting from anxiety and covering up my TBI issues.
  2. I have my own roof over my own head. This has not always been a given. I have moved around a lot, and at one point in time, I was borderline homeless. I’ve nearly been evicted in the past, and I’ve had to rely on the kindness of friends for a roof over my head.
  3. I have food in my refrigerator that’s more than rice, carrots, and brussels sprouts. Years ago, I was so poor I could not afford meat, so I lived on rice with sauteed carrots and brussels sprouts mixed in. I only drank tap water and weak coffee. I would make up a big batch at eat it for a week. Then I’d make up another batch. It’s a good thing I liked rice, carrots, and brussels sprouts.
  4. I am not in excruciating pain right now. I’m in a bit of pain, but I’m not doubled over in agony, like I used to be. I did my morning exercises, and I’m feeling much better.
  5. I’m relatively warm. I have a knit cap on my head, and I’m wearing extra sweaters, because I can’t afford to keep the heat up too high. Whenever I get cold, I get up and move around and do a little exercise, so that keeps me warm.
  6. I have a laptop and an internet connection. This lets me keep in touch with the world and also manage my money and life. I bought this laptop on eBay for really cheap, about three years ago, and while it is slowing down and it’s much heavier than the laptops they’re making today, it’s mine. I take care of it. I clean up the hard drive regularly and I don’t download all sorts of crap from all over. My internet connection at home is okay — the modem craps out on me a couple of times a day, but I just reset it and restart, and it comes back. If things get really bad, I just go to the library where wifi is free and fast.
  7. I have friends in my life. This year, my spouse and I are not traveling to family – we are staying close to home and celebrating with friends who don’t have family nearby. We’re an odd bunch, far from the Norman Rockwell types, but we have each other. And we’re going to have a feast tomorrow.
  8. My family is not attacking me for not joining them for Thanksgiving. In past years, they really put up a fight over me not coming to them. This year, they accept it and are glad that I’m not going to be on the road driving during peak travel times.
  9. My turkey is nearly thawed. I bought a frozen 12-pound turkey this past weekend and I’ve been thawing it in the refrigerator for the past three days. I was concerned that it would not thaw in time, but last night when I checked it, it’s now soft on the surface. If I give it a bath early tomorrow morning, it should thaw the whole way through, and then I’ll be set.
  10. I am starting to be able to see the Big Picture in my life. For more years than I can count, I have been consumed by minutiae and details that were only peripherally important to what was really going on around me. I could only see trees – no forest. Nothing beyond the forest. I would obsess over the finest of points in an argument, without actually understanding what the discussion was about. This is changing. At a point in my life when my peers are starting to slow down and get fuzzy and foggy and forgetful, my brain is learning to pick out salient points and focus on them. This is making a huge difference in my work life, my career, and my personal life. Of all the things above, this might be one of the things I’m most grateful for. Of course, all of the above matter tremendously. This last point is both a foundation and a bonus. Having this makes everything else that much more possible.

So there we have it. My list for today. In times when life is really closing in on me and I’m really struggling with things going haywire all around me, it helps to focus on the good that is in my life and emphasize that.

I used to make a fresh list of 10 things I was grateful for, each day. This was when I was going through some very hard times, and I was really on the brink of total desperation. Making a gratitude list of 10 things — a different list each day — kept me from going over the edge. And it lit a fire under me to do the best I could with what I had.

Happy Day Before Thanksgiving, everyone.

Got the list…

And it’s a good one. I have a lot to do, this morning, but I sat down and mapped out everything I’m going to do, in the order they need to be done and the geographical areas I need to do them.

  • First I need to drive about half an hour to pick up an order at a store. Then I need to swing by an office supplies place to pick up some printer cartridges.
  • Then I need to pick up some food items I forgot while shopping yesterday.
  • Then I need to gas up the car and buy ice.
  • Then I need to swing by the local farm stand and stock up on some local foods.
  • Then I need to come home, get the car ready for my spouse’s trip, pack it, and get them ready for their departure around 1 p.m.
  • Then I’ll take a nap… and get on with the things I need to do tonight.

The timing is good for this trip — I need to do some repair work with power tools that my spouse hates the sound of. This way, I can make all the noise I need to, and not worry about disturbing anyone.

It will also be good to have a few days to myself. I need some down-time, to just chill and get clear in my head about where I’m going with my work in the future. I need silence and peace and no worries, which doesn’t often happen with a spouse who is in a chronic state of panic-anxiety. I’m generally the “rock” in the household – it will be nice to have a break from that and get to just be solid — and silent.

In the midst of all the preparations, having a list makes it super-simple to just handle things. I figure out where I’m going, when, what I need to do there, and then I’m done. None of this lollygagging or futzing around.  Just staying focused and on-target and moving from one thing to the next.

It’s a world of difference from the way things used to be, when I was still trying to keep everything straight in my head – and failing miserably at it. There was this idea in my mind that if I couldn’t keep everything in order in my head, I was a “failure”. Turns out, I was failing exactly because of that. When you think about it, we have so many distractions and so many interruptions, TBI / concussion or not, that it’s all but impossible to keep clear at every moment of every day.

Something’s gotta give. And anyway, having a list all made out ahead of time frees me up to think of everything else — more fun things, more interesting things. Other stuff. Yeah. Good stuff.

So, I’ve got my list, and now it’s time to get moving.


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