Saturdays and Sundays should be reversed

lawnmower

I have a general complaint for the Western World – Saturdays and Sundays should be reversed. For those of us who “run hot” all week, Saturday is the last day of the week that we actually have resources to do everything as well as we would like to. Municipalities should have the town dump open on Sunday afternoons. Banks should be open then, too. Business should have hours on Sunday afternoons.

And they should all be closed on Saturdays.

Think about it… people only have so much energy, and if you push people to keep going top-speed through Saturday — to take the kids to their sports / dance competitions or various clubs… to run errands, do the week’s food shopping, go to the bank, get your hair cut (oh yeah, I did that yesterday, too), and generally tool around at near-top-speed… you’re going to encounter herds of people who are all in a pretty bad way, all forced to interact with each other.

And that’s no good.

It’s very bad, actually.

Of course, this structure all presumes that everyone can KEEP GOING on caffeine, adrenaline, fear, joy, and necessity.

But not everybody has energy left over in reserves.

Unfortunately, the rest of the world isn’t about to change for me, so I have to do my own adaptations. The biggest one I’ve come up with, is a Friday afternoon nap. I usually work from home on Fridays, so I get up and do my work, my thinking, my concentrating. Then I have some lunch, maybe go for a walk down the road and back, and then I lie down for a nap. I don’t set an alarm (unless I have that cruel, cruel bi-weekly Friday 2 p.m. conference call). I let myself just sleep.

Sometimes I sleep for half an hour. Sometimes I sleep for three hours. I’m exhausted, and there’s no way I can request a reduction in hours without compromising my position, especially now that the company is changing hands. Word has it that the new company is much more amenable to working from home as much as humanly possible, so I might even be able to do it more… but who knows?

Anyway, for now, I have that approach.

Another option I have is to take the trash to the dump earlier in the week, like Wednesday, when they’re open till 7. Or during the day on Friday, when I’m working from home, anyway. I could do that. But I’m usually pretty fried by the end of each day, and on Fridays, I’m also pretty wiped out, so it’s actually easier for me to do it on Saturday morning.

But yesterday was a real task … just so laborious and zombie-like… And now that I think about it, it might be worthwhile to shoot for Wednesday, before I’m completely wiped out. Or push myself on Friday, before I take my nap. The idea of having a Saturday free of having to deal with that chore, is quite pleasant. I’ll have to re-jigger my schedule and see what comes of it.

The other stuff I have to do, like get my hair cut (about once a month), I generally have to do on Saturdays, because that’s when I have the free time. The barber is in the opposite direction of my work, so it’s no longer on the way there, anymore. So, unless I go on Friday (which would take a chunk of several productive hours out of my good “thinking” workday), there’s no really smooth way to segue that into my week.

I guess I’ll just have to bite the bullet with the haircuts, and stick with that. Or start shaving my head. Or get a buzz cut that will last me for months. Or let my hair just grow, and run around with a pony tail or a bun or some-such. Then again, I hate it when my hair gets long. It’s even more distracting, with the ends getting in my eyes and hanging on my neck. And then I have to comb it. My hair does what it should, when it’s short, so I keep it that way. And that works.

For chores like shopping, I grocery shop almost every day on my way home from work. I do this to keep my list small and also break up my day. It’s not bad — and it also keeps me from having a massive list that I lose track of. I also try to do other shopping on my way home from work — office supplies, greeting cards, hardware… If I take the long way through the town next to us, I can get a lot of things bought on my way home.

Another thing I usually don’t have to do on Saturdays is mow my lawn. I generally think I’m supposed to mow on Saturday, but it actually works better to do that during the week, after work, when it’s a little cooler. It only takes me half an hour to mow my front lawn, which is the one that matters, so I don’t have to feel obliged to do it on the weekends.

All in all, I think I have a pretty good system in place for many things I do. My system spares me from my weaknesses, and it makes the most of opportunities. And my Saturdays actually aren’t too crazy-busy, to tell the truth. I just don’t have much energy at all, for the things I need to do. And I feel like I’m walking around in a grouchy haze, which isn’t fun for me or anyone else.

I’d really just like to enjoy myself on the days I’m off work. If the rest of the world isn’t going to accommodate me with making Saturday into the day of rest, then I’ll arrange things, myself. One trick at a time, it can happen. One small improvement at a time.

Onward…

Giving my system a break

Louis_Rémy_Mignot_SolitudeWell, I’ve overdone it on the trail mix. All those little seeds have caused my diverticulitis to flare up, and last night I was nearly doubled over in pain. It’s that lower left quadrant pain that tells me exactly where my colon is. And my intestines definitely were not happy, last night.

That’ll teach me.

Today, I’m taking it easy on my digestive system. I’m drinking a lot of fluids and staying clear of the fruit-and-nut combination. I’ve been eating too many nuts, lately, anyway. Worst of all, those little tiny seeds are what get me, and I had a bunch of them yesterday.

Gotta take care of the digestive system.

Today, it’s a raw fruit and vegetable kind of day – and plenty of distilled water. Something to keep everything from shriveling up from dehydration.

I had a good meeting with my neuropsych yesterday. They’re helping me get my act together and take care of all the stuff that has… languished, since I fell in 2004. I haven’t been able to rally very much at all, and the progress I’ve made has been stop-and-go… very uneven.

So, I’m fixing that. I had great plans, when we bought this house in 2002. but then I fell less than 2 years later, and everything fell apart. I’ve been trying to get myself back in gear for some time, but my old neuropsych didn’t seem very focused on helping me do that. It was really about just keeping me stable. That was my priority, also, because I didn’t have a good foundation. Now I have a good foundation, and I can finally start digging in.

So, this weekend, I’m going to take care of a few key things that have needed to be done for some time. My spouse is out of town for 3 days, and I have the place to myself to get in order. When they’re around, I’m limited because their health is not great and they can’t tolerate a lot of noise and dust and smells. While they’re away, I can take care of things that have been on my list — some of them for years.

First, clean out the lower cabinets, re-surface them with contact paper, and replace all the pots and pans in an orderly fashion.

Second, wash the curtains from all the bedrooms.

Third, check a gap where I think some bees have been getting in/out of the house walls — and plug it. I don’t want bees in my walls.

Fourth, put up a new house number, so emergency vehicles and delivery vehicles can find us. We do have numbers, but they’re not as visible as they need to be. I have been meaning to tend to this for years, now, but this weekend, it’s actually going to get done.

And that will be an accomplishment. I’ve got a few other things I need to take care of — yard work, some more minor maintenance, and just cleaning up after myself. I need to get organized, so I can actually live my life without making things even more difficult. I need to cut myself a break from all the various distractions — and that includes clutter.

It’s happening. And about time…

So, it’s all coming together. And it feels pretty good. And it’ll feel even better, when I manage to cross some of these items off my list. My gut is feeling better, now, and I don’t have the radiating pain coming from my lower left side. That’s progress.

It’s all progress.

Onward.

And the list gets a little bit shorter…

Some steps forward are not so simple
Some steps forward are not so simple

I’ve been trying like crazy to whittle down my list of Things That Must Be Done, and over the weekend, I made some good progress.

I actually got the basement sorted, just a little bit more. Many months ago (was it actually a year ago? that’s possible), I un-boxed a ton of stuff we’ve had in our basement for years and years. This is stuff we inherited when my spouse’s parents passed away… stuff we packed up over numerous moves, and then never unpacked… stuff we just couldn’t deal with at the time, and put down on a shelf, to decide about later.

Later never came.

Oh, actually, it did come. The decision part just never followed.

So, being concerned about the “stash” becoming a condominium for mice, I went on a multi-day campaign last year to unbox everything that was packed in cardboard and wrapped in newspaper, and I re-boxed everything in soft paper towels and clear plastic containers that have sealable lids.

And it was good.

Except, for that last piece of the process — the collection of trinkets and tschaschkes that I didn’t have a container for. I put them all out on a big folding table, planning to box them up when I picked up some additional containers. I got the containers. But I never boxed them up. And as a result, I’ve been “threading the needle” in my basement, just to get to the water softener when I need to refill the potassium chloride. It’s been a pain in my a**, and I’ve wanted to do something about it for months — actually, more like a year.

But I couldn’t.

Well, this weekend, I decided I’d had enough, and I decided to make a go of it. I told myself I’d only spend 30 minutes working on the task, and that made it easier. I got myself a nice sweet juice drink, and I took some music with me to listen to while I worked. And as I got into wrapping everything up and placing it carefully in the container, I found I was making good progress, so I didn’t need to stop at 30 minutes.

And in fact, it took me less than an hour to get it all done.

So, I’ve been inconvenienced (along with the workmen who’ve needed to get through my basement to fix the furnace and water heater), for a year, over something that took less than an hour to sort out.

Yeah, that would be me, sometimes.

Because it wasn’t just about the job. It was about this nagging sense of failure I have at everything else in my basement — the vestiges of projects I started and then could never finish… the building supplies and handyman remnants of my past life, when I was so strong and with-it, and I had all these plans that I could follow up on… before I fell and got hurt in 2004.

All the memories of years gone by just flood in, all my failures with family coming to mind, as I look at the items on the shelves, and remember how much I loved the people I’ve lost, and I think about how much of a challenge I always was for them. And it’s remembering all the ways that they (especially my in-laws) were challenges for me — the betrayals, the fights, the disloyalty, the gossip, cutting me out of wills and family news because I wasn’t “one of them”. I wasn’t from the world that my in-laws inhabit, and they’ve always kept me at arm’s distance, even though I’ve never done anything other than love and care for and support my spouse — one of their own.

Going down in the basement and spending time there isn’t just about stuff. It’s not just about organizing. It’s also facing my past — the disappointments, the frustrations — and all the stuff from Before.

But now, at least, I got that piece done. So I don’t have to look at it. I don’t need to constantly crawl over it… be reminded of it… factor it in. I am slowly getting my basement back. One of these years, I’m sure it will be in the kind of shape I want it to be.

Not just yet, though. Not just yet.

Good start, focused start

Memory test for today. Let's see if I remember the shapes by the time I'm done writing.
Memory test for today. Let’s see if I remember the shapes by the time I’m done writing.

I’m off to a pretty good start, this morning. I’ve been grappling with some serious clutter in my study, which is making it hard to focus and keep my attention on the Main Things I should be doing. I’ve been pinballing back and forth from different ideas and different projects for some time. I’ve also been bouncing around between different directions I want my life to take.

Not being happy in my job, not being connected with my work… that’s a complicating factor, and the anxiety that comes with it is compelling me to flit-flit-flit from one idea to the next. I just need some relief from the anxiety, and that means I spent a lot of time clicking around to different websites online, I get all swept up in Twitter, and I have — yet again — an even more brilliant idea than yesterday, about what I should be doing with my life.

cluttered office
My office isn’t quite this bad – but it’s been close…

It gets to be way too much, after a while. And my study has shown the effects of it. I’ve had piles upon piles of papers that I didn’t quite know what to do with at that instant. Also, bags of stuff I brought home when I changed jobs… and never put them away… books I’ve picked up and meant to read, but never got to.

It’s been quite the challenge, keeping things in order, but I’ve been working at it gradually, moving away the things I never use or look at, to make room for the things I DO use and look at.

I do it when I can, and I did some last night, just getting piles of papers off my desk and onto a nearby chair. This morning, I spent the first 30 minutes of my day sorting through the stuff on my chair, throwing away things, organizing others, and putting stacks of papers that aren’t immediately pressing, but need to be sorted, onto another pile that’s not in the middle of everything.

I have some serious prioritizing to do — and that includes my entire life, not just my to-do items for the day, week, or month. I need to make some choices about what direction I am going, and how much energy I’m going to spend in the process. I need to make some choices about what I’m NOT going to do, so I can free up energy for what I AM going to do. In some cases, it means leaving behind dreams and goals I always had, and was particularly fond of, as a kid. It’s hard. But I have to do it.

I’ve already started that process, making some decisions and taking some plans off my plate. There’s more to come… and it’s quite a challenging process. I hate having to let go of long-loved dreams. But I’ve got to do a reality check — and also realize that some of my dreams are blocking my reality.

So, that’s the excitement for this morning. I’ve got a full day ahead of me, planning for my business trip next week. I’ve got my list of things to handle, and I’m taking them one at a time.

So far, so good. And with the right mindset and a good pace today (as well as a nap this evening), things should sort themselves out just fine.

Onward.

Now, let’s see how I did with my memory test:

memory-test-4-30-16

Now, that’s interesting… I had it flipped the wrong way. Got the elements right, but the orientation is wrong. The single line is a little short, too. And the hatch marks. But the circles at least are the same size and pretty much similar in dimension, along with the connecting lines.

Memory test for today. Let's see if I remember the shapes by the time I'm done writing.This is what I did at the start. I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could build on the designs from prior days — if I could “trick” myself. And yes, in fact, I did. Ha ha.

Fantastic day, yesterday

You just gotta keep going till you've covered all the bases
You just gotta keep going till you’ve covered all the bases

Yesterday was a banner day.

I had a good morning, reading and tweeting, and I made my list of Things That Must Be Done. It was a long list, taking up the full back of an old business-size envelope, but each of the items needed be done.

Cleaning. Organizing. Taking out the trash and recycling. Weatherizing the house. My spouse can’t do much of this, because of their mobility issues, so it mostly falls to me. If I don’t do it, it just doesn’t get done. Now, I haven’t had the energy or the inclination to do these things for quite some time. I’ve had a hard time A) organizing my thoughts, and B)  getting started on extended projects. And while it hasn’t been horrible, and we don’t live in squalor, still… these things all needed to be done.

Overdue.

So, list in hand, I got myself in gear about noontime, and by 5:00, I had accomplished the most pressing items… and also started cooking a fantastic meal… and gotten a number of additional things done, as well.

Banner day. And at the end of it all, it felt so good to look around the house and see the fruits of my labors.

My spouse is delighted. Some of the rooms look completely different, and others just feel different. It’s a fantastic feeling.

Today is a continuation — but a lot more low-key. The jobs I have today are more “thematically grouped”, being about the same sort of stuff. I’m about to get started on the rest of the list, and it feels good.

Onward.

Clearing the decks

Time to get all that old stuff out of the way
Time to get all that old stuff out of the way

Okay, I have my plan. This weekend, while I’m flying solo, I’m going to clear out a bunch of spaces that have been cluttered and crammed full of old stuff… for years. I’m starting with my garage, and continuing on to the basement.

I’m also going to clean out my study – just remove everything from all surfaces, wipe everything down, and then judiciously restore what I actually want to keep within view. I should probably pick up some shelving, while I’m at it. I’m comparing my choices on Amazon and the local big-box home improvements store, and it actually looks like I can get a better deal at the local store.

So, I don’t have to wait. I can just stop off on my way home from work tomorrow and pick up a bunch of shelves to use. Sweet.

I’m pretty excited about this. I have three days total to get things in order, and it’s way overdue. I haven’t been able to get my act together — I’ve been too focused on too many different things that had nothing to do with each other… too scattered… and too tired… Meanwhile, everything has piled up around me. It’s not as bad as that Hoarders show, but it’s not as I want it to be.

And I’m sure this will bring up a lot of emotion with me, while I’m uncovering relics from my chaotic past. One of the benefits of my TBI issues, is that I can keep my attention focused intently on what’s in front of me at the moment, so I don’t have a lot of emotions and internal drama playing out from other times and places and contexts. I can be squarely in the moment and have no thought for anything other than what’s in front of me. It’s not that I’m “compartmentalizing” and blocking other things out from self-defense. I simply need to focus fully on one aspect of many, many aspects of my life, so I can take care of it.

And then I can move on to other things.

It’s not that I’m blocking out parts of my life because I’m afraid of them. I just don’t have the bandwidth. But then things get cluttered, because I lose focus on one thing and hyper-focus on something else. And then I end up with a lot of half-finished ideas and priorities that pile up around me and block my proverbial view of the world around me.

So, this weekend, it’s time to clear out a lot of the stuff. Just clear it away and be done with that. I have to find some books I put away. I also need to rearrange my bookshelves so that I have more room. And I need to make some decisions about what I really need in my life. I’ll need to catalog everything I’m putting away, because if it’s not in front of me, I forget it exists. So, I need a directory of sorts to remind me where things are. And I need to put that directory in a place where I can see it and remember to consult it.

Exciting times, to be sure.  T-30 hours till the rearranging kicks off.

Onward.

Getting it back together

Let's find out what's inside
Let’s find out what’s inside

I lay down at 1:30 p.m. thinking I’d get a 2-hour nap.

I woke up at 5:00, having slept through my alarm.  3-1/2 hours is just about right for a Saturday afternoon nap after a week’s vacation that took it out of me.

Good thing. Very good.

I needed the rest, because in addition to having had a very active vacation, I worked out especially hard this morning, and that wiped me out, too. There’s nothing like exposing your body on the beach, to bring home just how out of shape you are.

Now I’m back into the swing of things, here at home, looking around and seeing what needs to be fixed.

I have a lot of organizing to do. It’s fall, after all, and the house needs some serious airing out. The heat kept things closed up, to conserve coolness, and now there’s a strong musty smell in the basement that’s coming up through the rest of the house.

In another 2 weeks, I will deal with this in detail. My spouse has a long weekend business trip coming up for the first weekend in October, and I’ll have the place to myself for 3 or 4 days. Then I can go wild with clearing everything out and making space for our life. We have boxes we have not opened in 20 years – moving around to different parts of the country, we’ve lived in places of various sizes. So, when we moved to the small places, we boxed things up and stored them. And when we moved to the larger places, we didn’t unpack those boxes right away.

We’ve been in this house for 12 years, and there are still things packed up downstairs.

I got hurt in 2004, right when I was getting to the “unpack all those boxes” item on my to-do list… and the to-do list went out the window.

So, it’ll be a little like Christmas in October. And for the next couple of weeks, I’ll be studying the jumble of stuff downstairs, planning my route of attack. I also need to clean out the garage and get rid of a bunch of junk I’ve been hanging onto for no good reason. Winter is coming. I need to clear the way.

And simplify.

I found some more boxes that will fit under my bed, so I can clean up my bedroom bureau. It’s covered with items that I haven’t touched or moved for years. This is my chance to clear the way, so I can create a bedroom that is restful and promotes good sleep hygiene.

Vacation won’t go wasted. Oh, no. I’ve got my inspiration back, so… onward!

How things change

Getting it all sorted out
Getting it all sorted out

I’m cleaning up my home office, getting rid of a whole lot of junk stuff I have collected over the years.

To be fair, it’s not actually “junk” — it’s just leftovers from years gone by, which are no longer needed. I used to need these things. Or, in some cases, I thought I was going to need them, but it turned out, I didn’t. Lots of scrap paper… lots of cardboard I used to use for packing, when I was sending things to people. Lots of old equipment that needs to go to “technology heaven”.

And look… there’s the coupon for $10 off my next $50 spent at the hardware store. It’s good for another 3 days. That will come in handy — especially if I actually make it to the hardware store this weekend. I should. I have a number of things I need to pick up, and my garage needs to be cleaned out for the impending fall. Right now, it’s got too much stuff — and junk — taking up the space that my car should fill.

I’m feeling a little frustrated, right now. A lot of what I’m finding is a reminder of how much I have had to let go of. Or all the things that I had such hopes for, and never managed to make happen. I was really convinced, for so many years, that I was going to make all these dreams come true. But I never reckoned with the reality of fatigue, confusion, frustrations, and the constant toll that TBI-related stress and distraction takes on a person, day after day after day.

A number of objects in my office are from my spouse, and looking at them all, seeing how many things I’ve been given, which don’t actually suit my personality… or seeing how many of them were given to me in good faith (which I never followed through on)… that’s a little depressing, too. It’s a little disconcerting to have so many reminders that your significant other has never really understood you — and probably never will.

Then again, who ever really understands anyone? And in the midst of the sorting, I find one reminder after another of our bond — birthday cards, Valentine’s Day cards, little notes left for me that say “I love you!”… that’s really what matters. Everything else seems a best guess to me, anyway.

And I realize I am at a significant juncture in my life. I’m finally at a place, where I can relax and settle into my work, because it suits me, all across the board. For decades, I was not committed to my “day job” other than as a way to make a living and pay for the expenses of everyday life. I wasn’t invested in the least. I mean, it was hard to feel invested about anything in technology, back when the Web was first starting up. Nobody knew how it was going to go, if it would last, if it was “a thing”. It took many years for that to be proven, and now it’s a given.

And now, after so many years of work and pioneering and opening the frontier, the world I helped to create — as one tiny cog in a massive machine that has an intelligence all its own — I finally feel invested in it all. Because I connected with a company that’s invested in me. It really is remarkable, after so many years of being treated like I’m disposable, expendable, interchangeable. Like I didn’t matter, and nobody cared. The people around me cared, sure, but at the management level, it was all too Darwinian and it wasn’t at all conducive to getting the best performance out of the people who were committed to doing the work.

They didn’t even seem to realize that we were committed to doing the work. They just treated us like we showed up each day to earn a paycheck, and that was it. Eventually, no matter how much more it may all mean to you, if you’re treated that way, day in and day out, you can end up slipping into that mindset, yourself.

What a waste.

And for years — decades, really — my life was driven by a profound need to be more than just a cog in the machine, a plug in a hole that would have leaked if it weren’t plugged. I spent so, so many hours trying to fill that void left by my day job, seeking with every fiber and ounce to actually express myself in a way that made me “me”. It was a constant struggle to prove my identity, to prove my worth, to know that I was more than what I was treated like, day in and day out.

I wanted more, I needed more. I had to have it.

So, I created it myself. I carved out a niche for myself in my own life with constant work, constant writing, constant creation. I volunteered. I got involved in groups. I had an active life outside work, and I crammed a whole lot of stuff into it.

And for years, that worked. It just felt normal and right and free. As long as I was free, that’s all that mattered to me.

But then I fell and hit my head. And the freedom went away. It just seemed to evaporate overnight, and everything that had felt smooth and sensical, just turned into mush. I lost my spark. I lost the joy. I lost the passion that comes from within — it was replaced by a manic stress response that was fueled by pure adrenaline that came from post-traumatic stress, life-and-death choices, a long series of bad decisions that either trashed or threatened to destroy so much that I had worked so hard for.

The energy and passion I’d had before, which was always accompanied by hope, was replaced by rage and fear and anxiety. On the surface, it looked like I was still engaged and energetic, but inside I was a tangled mass of nerves.

Big difference from before. My fuel was not hope, but desperation. Confusion. Frustration. And the need to have enough stress in my life to keep my attention focused on what was in front of me.

The last 10 years have been a chaotic blur. A blur, because everything has seemed to happen so fast – and yet so slowly – and chaotic, because I could not figure out what was going on inside my head and outside of it, too. So much confusion. So much dancing on the edge of disaster — often without realizing it. So many poor decisions, so many knee-jerk reactions that cost me so much. Since 2004, I had 11 different positions – more, if you count changing roles within organizations. That’s more than one job change a year – I hopped from one position the next four times in about a year, back in 2008, without knowing why. Part of it was just bad decision-making, part of it was anxiety, part of it was not being able to function and needing to “skip town” before people found out how incompetent I was at the job I’d signed up for.

In the meantime, there were the marital troubles, the money shortage, the creditors knocking down my door and blowing up my cell phone, the logistical troubles, the health problems and cognitive decline of my spouse… Yeah, it’s been a wild ride.

And looking around me at my office, I see so many relics of the years before 2004, when everything seemed so simple and straightforward, and I was content to be living as I was. Back when my spouse was still healthy and working. Back when I was good with where I was, and everything just progressed and unfolded without concern for the future. Back before everything started to fall apart.

I’m cleaning up, now. I’m getting rid of the old stuff that I no longer want or need. And I’m saving what I can still use. The post-it notes that were given to me at a past job, when the company changed its branding and they had all these extra supplies to get rid of. The paper clips and butterfly clips. The pens I can still use. The notes I made, some time ago, about ideas that still interest me. Much of this I can still use.

But in a very different frame of mind. A relaxed frame of mind. A state of mind that makes it possible for me to settle in and concentrate — and not worry constantly about the outcome. A frame of mind that  have not had in so many years. It’s more than relaxed. It’s at ease.

Finally, I can settle in and just enjoy my life again.

Not that things are completely event-less. Lately, there have been unfortunate losses in my family, a bunch of my friends lost their jobs, and things are not hunky-dory, all across the board. But my frame of mind is very different, now. And while I don’t much care for the tragedy, I can handle it without going off the deep end. I can walk through the crises without letting them wreck me, too. Whatever happens now, I feel as though I’m up to the challenge.

I know how to think things through.

I know how to break things down and take my time and work through them from start to finish.

I used to have that ability, years ago, then it went away. Now, ten years later, it’s back.

And that makes all the difference.

So, the day is waiting.

Onward.

Cleaning up my act, uncovering potential

Sort of how my space looks - better in some ways, worse in others
Sort of how my space looks – better in some ways, worse in others

I’m entering week 4 on the new job, and it’s been going well. I’m settled in there, and I’m adjusting to the new schedule pretty well. It’s taking a lot more out of me than I would like, but that’s a combination of the commute and the nature of the work. It’s a very social workplace, which is a huge challenge for me. I prefer to tuck myself away in a corner and noodle on problems, but the whole new job thing is really structured around interacting with a lot of people to solve problems together.

So, it’s good practice for me. Keeping to myself tends to get me down, in any case.

I find myself and my priorities really changing dramatically. I have let go of a lot of the old projects I had waiting in the wings for so long. All in all, I had over 5 different mega-projects that I was actively working on. I was making good progress, too. But now they just don’t matter to me as much, anymore. I think it’s a result of now doing work that actually interests me and is a good match for my personality and skills. All the crap-jobs I’ve had over the years that never challenged me or made the most of my abilities necessitated me looking elsewhere for satisfaction and fulfillment.

I simply could not keep my spirit alive, doing those past jobs without plenty of side projects.

Now, however, I am suddenly feeling no interest at all in those mega-projects. I have pretty much lost interest in them, and all I really want to do now is focus on my day-job, take care of things at home, and live a simple, uncomplicated life.

What a change this is.

And I look around my house and see that I really need to get my act together. Some rooms look like a herd of water buffalo have stampeded through and churned everything up. I’ve got “stuff” from multiple projects lying around in piles, and leftovers from various endeavors scattered about in general disarray.

Precious little of it interests me, anymore, and I really need to clear it up.

I’ve been needing to do this for quite some time, actually. I just couldn’t figure out where and how to start.  Getting started (initiation) tends to be a big problem for me. I get stuck on the simplest things… and then I get down on myself for not being able to start.

But start, I must.  Just dig in, somewhere, and make a start. I have a whole 4-drawer filing cabinet in the corner of my office, just waiting for me to fill it with crap. Some of the drawers are mostly empty, too. But I’ve been stuck. Just looking at the filing cabinet makes me anxious. What if I can’t finish? What if I get turned around and confused, and the end result is worse than when I started? How do I handle this? What can I do?  It’s frustrating and confusing… so I end up doing nothing.

Plus, in the rest of my life, there are a ton of leftovers that are making my life more complex than need be. My winter cleanup clothes from six months ago are still hanging on the backs of dining room chairs. And there are all kinds of boxes from things that came in the mail, just lying around. Birthday and Christmas presents are still sitting in the living room in their gift bags.

Clearly, I need to take some initiative. It doesn’t help that my spouse is declining cognitively, and they add to the problems by just tossing stuff around (their post-stroke, diabetes-influenced issues with initiation and executive function make my challenges look like child’s play – but that’s another post for another time).

And now that fall is fast approaching, I don’t really have much excuse for not sorting things out. It’s fall cleaning time. And magically I am finding more interest and more opportunity for tending to business at hand. The enduring, years-long obsessions with those mega-projects has flown out the window. I frankly don’t give a damn, anymore. They were just windmills I was tilting at for no good reason other than to soothe my anxiety, and now that I’ve got a real job that really uses my skills and abilities, I don’t need them, anymore. They served their purpose.

And it’s time to clear them away.

For good.

There is literally so much stuff in my house that needs to be organized, that some rooms are bordering on hoarder status. Then again, they’re not. We don’t have  piles and piles of crap we never needed and will never use again, that we collected due to severe mental illness or profound impairment. We have piles of crap that is/was useful, and is just poorly organized.

And that’s fixable.

So, right now, as I stand up and get ready for my Sunday morning walk in the woods, I’ll grab just a few things to move to where they really belong. A little work can go a long way, and each day, I can do something that will help. It doesn’t have to be “big bang” to work. Little “bangs” will work just fine.

The space that gets cleared, will make room for more space — different activities — a simpler life. That, in itself, is well worth the momentary confusion and disorientation. The anxiety will work itself out.

And so it goes.

Onward.

A big bunch of boxes

My situation is not quite this extreme, but sometimes it feels like it

I went a little off the rails, a couple of weeks ago. I decided I needed some new computer equipment, and I bought a couple of items I’d had my eye on at Amazon for some time. I knew I had the money, and I got a deal, so I went for it.

The only problem was, I forgot that A) My spouse had just paid off a bunch of bills that drained our bank balance, and B) I had moved money into our savings account. Saving occasionally is on my to-do list. I used to direct deposit $50 into savings each month, but then things got very tight for a few years,and I had to stop even that.

Yes, we were living close to the bone. Since getting back, I still have this sinking sense of dread that catastrophe is just around the corner. It’s not true, but I feel like I need to be constantly prepared for disaster. So, I haven’t done the regular direct deposit, recently. Even a little bit helps. … Actually, let me fix that now.

Okay, I’m back. I’m putting a little bit aside with each paycheck, now. That feels better. It’s not a ton of money, but it can add up.

Anyway, as it turned out, last week, I really miscalculated about how much money I had on hand. Not only did I spend more than I had on that equipment, but I also spent more than I should have on a couple of side projects I’ve been doing. For some reason, I was convinced that I had $5,000 more to my name, than I did. And the bank was kind enough to inform me of my miscalculation.

I fixed the problem, then it happened again.

More overdraft charges from the bank. Good grief.

A series of confused choices commenced, with me transferring money to and from the wrong accounts, and completely screwing up my mortgage payment. My susceptibility to short-term interference really bit me in the ass, in the space of only a few minutes. It’s crazy. Unless I write stuff down and keep referring to it, it might as well have never even entered my mind. It can evaporate in a matter of minutes — sometimes seconds.

Thanks to the magic of online transfers and a 30-day grace period, I eventually managed to sort things out, but it was a comedy of errors there for a while. I got so confused about which account was which, even though I was looking right at everything on the screen in front of me, and I thought I was 100% clear, each time I set up a transfer. I did it wrong three or four times, before I was able to get it right. And just now, when I looked at my pending transactions, I realized that I’d actually cancelled the mortgage payment transfer. So, I set that up again.

It wasn’t that difficult, but for some reason, my head got completely turned around. I’m still a little fuzzy about it. I’ll check again later this week, when I’ve gotten some more sleep.

It’s all sorted out, now. At least, I hope so. And … getting back to my original subject… I have the new computer equipment I have been needing. And I now have a bunch of boxes I have to figure out what to do with.

The equipment was shipped to me as boxes within boxes. And a bunch of packing stuff to go with it. What the heck? How many boxes do you need? I have them stacked in in front of my bookcases, awaiting their fate.

Not that this is a bad problem. I have shelves full of crap books and papers that I have not used or looked at for years. I’ve moved things around a bit, but I haven’t actually used them. Not the way I used to, years ago. But fortunately, with these boxes, I have a solution – at least in part. I can put some of that stuff under my bed in the narrower cartons. It’s an elegant solution, really. Space is at a premium in this house, and I’ve long felt that space under beds is best used for things other than gathering dust.

So, there’s one solution.

Now I just have to choose what goes there. That’s another question.

As you can probably tell, I’m still in quandary-mode over how best to organize my workspace in my study. I’m incredibly fortunate to even have a study.  It’s mine, all mine, and it’s my sanctuary. It’s a cluttered sanctuary, but I’m not convinced that’s necessarily a bad thing. But with freedom comes responsibility, and I’ve been so caught up in all my projects for the past six months (if not more), that I’ve ditched a lot of the responsibility and let things slide.

With the end result being that I have a lot of stuff that needs to be rearranged and put in proper order – stat. So, I’m working at it a little bit at a time. Not making myself nuts over it, but trying to be smart. A little goes a long way, actually, and that’s a good thing.

Enough talk. Time to solve some stuff. And go for a long walk on this beautiful day. And get a nap.

Onward.