Well, I’ve got myself a new laptop. This time, I got a Dell. I’m not saying it’s better than the Thinkpads I’ve been using — at home and at work. This is a different experience for me. The keyboard is configured differently, and it’s less deep, so I have to position my hands and rest my wrists differently than I have before. One thing I will say, is that I like the arrow keys a whole lot better on the Dell than on the Thinkpad. They’re bigger. And better positioned. Like they’re meant to be used, which they are. I also like the End and Home keys better where they are. The Thinkpad is full of nice features, but the keyboard of the Dell is already starting to feel better to me.
Just have to get used to the locations of the Ctrl and Alt keys. Now I have one of those Windows keys, so I can access the Start menu from the keyboard, instead of having to mess around with the trackpad or mouse. That’s helpful, as well.
I really had my reservations, when I first got this thing up and running last night. I’m used to a higher, narrower screen, and I’m used to resting my hands differently. I almost sent this back, as a matter of fact, because of the different feel to it. Then I checked in with a friend of mine who does a lot of work with anxiety, and they told me that making changes in your life is a positive step in overcoming anxiety.
So, I decided to sleep on it. And give the thing another chance, before I wrote it off completely.
And I have to say, it’s starting to grow on me. I like the wider screen, especially for writing. And I have twice the amount of disk space that I had on my old laptop, which is nice. That means I can install a lot of software I had to uninstall on my other laptop because I ran out of space and power. This one also has twice the power of my former laptop, which is noticeable almost at once. That’ll probably change once I load up all the software, but in the meantime, I’m starting to enjoy this change.
Anyway, I’m not sure it’s a good idea to get too enamored of my laptop. I need a life, after all, and I’ve been working so much and typing so much, my wrists are starting to give me trouble again. I’ll need to rest this weekend, I think. I’m pretty much flying solo, since my spouse is out on business travel both Saturday and Sunday, so I’ll have a lot of time to myself.
That’s another change that’s taken some getting used to. My spouse has been spending more and more time out on business, while I’ve had more and more time to myself at home. It’s interesting. They were pretty ill for several years, and prior to that, they had some pretty pronounced anxiety issues that curtailed their activity a whole lot. I just got in the habit of always being there for them, because they couldn’t do anything without me. And they would become so anxious, if I did something that didn’t involve them, that I just didn’t do a lot of things that other people do.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I was the Prisoner of Zenda or anything like that. Keep in mind, I also had a ton of issues, myself, that kept me from being super-active in my own right. That fatigue thing, for instance. Not to mention my own anxiety and sensitivities to light and sound and general difficulties dealing with the rest of the world. Even if I hadn’t been married to this individual, I probably would have kept to myself. A lot. In fact, before I ever met them, that’s exactly what I did, and it was a total fluke we met in the first place.
Anyway, the bottom line is, after years of being very closely intertwined and inter-dependent (I won’t say “co-dependent” because I think that’s a handy label some psychology guru came up with to sell books and manufacture diagnoses), we’ve started moving off in different directions, to where we’re traveling separately, having separate schedules, and doing a lot of things that don’t involve each other at all. This is not to say we’re separating. We’re actually more together than we’ve been for many years. We’re both branching out and developing in whole new areas, and bringing what we learn home to share with each other.
Which is good.
Change is good. This past year has been a time of really dramatic change for me, in terms of my personal and professional life. I credit my neuropsych with really helping me through a lot. Just the positive feedback I’ve gotten and the reminders of how far I’ve come have been tremendously helpful. It’s a little tough to stay enthusiastic about your progress, if you keep forgetting how far you’ve come, and they’ve reminded me of that regularly.
It’s wild – I hung out with a friend the other evening, and they were talking about health issues they’ve had to overcome in the past six months. They have been a huge help to me over the past year or so, with all my cognitive things and issues at home. They asked me about my own issues, and — I guess I was really tired — it was hard for me to think back on how things were before, what progress I’ve made, etc. I think maybe that’s good, because I’m not dwelling on every single aspect of my life constantly, like I used to. I’m much more settled in my progress, much more able to stay present and focus on my future, rather than being stuck in my past. If I can’t remember all the details of how things were before, so what? If I can’t form a clear comparison between how things were, once upon a time, and how they are now developing, big deal! I’m moving forward, and I can’t get bogged down in the past, like I used to. Just gotta keep moving on.
Moving on… and managing. I have a full life that is pretty active, considering how limited my social life is. I’m doing good work, I’m picking up some extra work on the side, which is different from my 9-5 job and offers me the chance to branch out and refine more skills — and make more money. In fact, it’s giving me the chance to be more of a consultant, which is where I eventually see myself going (rather than being a cubicle-bound working stiff). It’s also forcing me to work on my time and energy management skills and participate in life and contribute in broader ways. And it’s putting me in touch with people who are really good to know in my industry. It’s all good.
At the same time, I’m seeing how I really do need to aggressively manage my time and resources — consciously pick and choose what I will and will not do, so I can have the most effectiveness in my life. This is a far cry from my laissez-faire approach of going with the flow and just drifting from one distraction to another (which is what a lot of my projects have been in the past — a series of challenging and entertaining distractions). It’s a change. And this change is good, too.
Well, it’s getting a little late, so I’d better get a move on into my day. I have only one scheduled meeting today, which means I can catch up on all the things I was supposed to do this week, but didn’t get a chance to do. It’s been a real struggle, to keep up with all my work in the space of 40 hours a week, but I’ve got to do it. Not only is it draining, to have to bring my work home with me over the weekend, but it also leaves no time for other things — like the other work I have which is expanding me more than ever.
Ultimately, it’s all good. I just have to make sure I get enough good rest. And remember to enjoy myself.