A little pain… for a lot of gain

The more you put into things, the more you can get back
The more you put into things, the more you can get back

Sorry in advance for the rambling nature of this post. I’m very out of it — haven’t been sleeping well, and lots has been going on.

I’ve been watching videos and listening to podcasts by Dr. Rhonda Patrick while I work out, lately, and I’m learning a lot – especially about the biochemistry of the brain and how to augment it. She talks a good deal about brain health, nutrition, exercise, the benefits of sauna, and hormetic stress (where you introduce a bit of stress to your system to kick in adaptive responses that actually make your system stronger).

I’ve been a big believer in the hormetic approach for years – stress inoculation fascinates me, and hormesis really appeals to me, as well. And then you have the Stoics, who were all about training your system to not get worked up over the things that don’t matter, so you can better attend to the things that do.

It’s just common sense to me, and it’s great to find people online who are on the same wavelength.

I got a good dose of stress yesterday. But it looks like it’s going to pay off in a big way.

I’m kind of wiped out today. Yesterday I bought a new (to me) car — it’s a small 2006 SUV that lets me sit up higher than I have been in my little compact commuter car. It’s got everything I need — which is not terribly much. The biggest change is that it has power locks and windows, as well as A/C. My old car has crank windows, manual locks, and no A/C, and it rides very low to the ground. It hasn’t been a huge problem, over the past 10 years that I’ve had it, but when it’s been a problem… it’s been a problem. There’s only so much you can do on hot-hot days — and when you’re driving through the heat to important appointments, stopping along the way to pay tolls or just get out and stretch your legs, not having any A/C or power windows and locks and having to climb in and out of your car, can be pretty taxing.

In a way, it’s been good for me. It’s forced me to work at things that others take for granted. And it makes me appreciate luxuries like a good view of traffic and air conditioning, all the more.

But it’s also been a pain. Literally and figuratively. It’s so low, that I had to build up the seat with folded towels and a pillow, to keep my hips and legs from cramping in excruciating pain.

It’s become increasingly clear to me that I need a “grown-up” vehicle. And I got one on Saturday. I now have a car payment, after 10 years of being free of that. So, that’s a change. But with the money I’m saving on insurance and other cost savings at work, it’s not going to sting terribly much. It’s going to set back some of my home improvement projects, but that’s okay. I needed a new car.

So, today I need to clean out my old car, find the title to hand over (I’m trading it in for a pittance – but then again, there are a ton of issues with the vehicle that all add up to thousands of dollars of work), get the garage cleared up, so I have a place to park, and make sure money is in the right account(s). I have to shuffle a bit of dough between the mortgage account and the everyday expenses account, which I’ll take care of later this morning when my bank opens at a local supermarket. I love these 7-days hours. It really saves my bacon.

Anyway, that’s the excitement. I’m pretty wiped out from yesterday, because it took a lot out of me. And then I found some pieces of furniture that were on sale at an antiques place for a fraction of what they usually cost. That involved more running around, making arrangements to move them, etc. I got them home, at last, and I need to clean them up in the coming days. But that may need to wait till next weekend when I have the house to myself for 3-4 days.

With all the activity that’s been going on, I am really looking forward to a few days of solitude and peace. As much as I love and adore my spouse, they are a lot of work, and it’s going to be great, not being the one and only person who has to do all that work.

It will also be nice to catch up with myself and kind of level-set on my life. Getting this new car is like another piece of proof that I am getting better, and that I have something to show for all the work I’ve done. I’ve had this car about as long as I’ve been struggling with TBI issues after my fall in 2004, and there are many, many parallels between driving that car and keeping it on the road, and recovering from TBI. All the challenges, the difficulties, the extra work I’ve had to do… It’s been very much like driving a car without any power controls or A/C or reliable heat, and needing to go about your everyday life.

Getting this new (to me) car is yet another sign that I really am getting better, and that I am able to recognize and enjoy that for what it is — real progress. And that’s hugely gratifying.

Best of all, the vehicle is rich gold color, which makes me feel rich in countless ways.

Well, it’s turning out to be another beautiful day. I think I’ll go for a walk in the woods before I run my banking errands.

I physically feel like crap from being so wiped out from yesterday, but I know things are going great, so that balances it out. And I’m hoping a walk in the woods will clear the cobwebs.

Onward.

Yes, indeed, onward.

Toward rut-less-ness

A new trail...

I need a new gig.

Not a new job. Not a new life. But a new way of structuring my days — that incorporates a whole lot more flexibility into my schedule.

I guess I need a new kind of gig.

I took some time yesterday to step back from everything and really think things through. I worked from home and took a nap in the afternoon. Took my time at things. Didn’t focus so much on the little tasks, but thought about the larger picture… what I’m actually DOING with my life.

It’s not enough, anymore, to just take care of issues and meet requirements. I need something more. I need some meaning behind it all. When I was 25, it was enough to do what other people told me to do, and it was profoundly fulfilling to just do the things that I thought I couldn’t do.

Now, though, things are different – very different indeed. And why I do appreciate the need to deliver on promises and achieve goals, there needs to be something more to it, than just doing as I’m told.

I think a lot of people get to this point when they get to be around my age — mid-40’s — wondering “what’s it all about?” I won’t say it’s a “mid-life crisis”, because it’s not a crisis. It’s more of a check-in along the way. I also won’t say “mid-life” also because I plan to live past 90. I’ve got relatives who are in the 100-year range, and they grew up without a lot of the medical and health resources I have. I believe it’s entirely possible to life well past 90, in my case. So that’s what I’m planning for.

That means I’ve got a ways to go. And I need to pace myself. I need to not drive headlong into the future just for the sake of driving. I need to live my life fully — mindfully. I’ve tried it other ways, and I got hurt a lot, when I did it that way.

I don’t want to get hurt, anymore. It’s time-consuming, soul-consuming, and very, very expensive. Hard to bounce back from. Been there, done that. Still kind of there, in fact. Don’t much care for it.

So, back to this “rut business”. I’ve noticed that I’m getting more and more tired, as time goes on. I’ve changed up my sleep schedule, because I just don’t do well with going to bed early. But I don’t really sleep in, either. I’m getting maybe 6 hours of sleep a night. 7 if I’m lucky. At the start, it wasn’t a big deal, but it’s catching up with me.

I really need to start taking naps around mid-day, and stop pushing myself through. Or at the very least, step away and do progressive relaxation for 15-20 minutes. I feel SO much better, when I am at least slightly rested. I’ve also noticed that being tired takes all the joy out of what I’m doing.

Sure, I may be feeling high and pumped from the extra adrenaline, but it’s taking a toll on both my body and my spirit. I want to enJOY what I’m doing with myself each day. And I can’t do that, when I’m overtired and struggling just to keep awake. When I’m rested, everything just flows… and I don’t need as much structure, as much of a rut, to keep me going. I just keep going, because it feels great, and I’m really into what I’m doing. When I’m rested, when I’m alert, I’m so much better able to participate and contribute. Because I’m all there — and I don’t have to funnel my energy into the most basic activities. Rest takes care of those for me, so I can focus my attention on the higher things. The really, really important things — like what all I’m doing with my life.

And why.

I really do need to be disciplined about this nap business. Really make the effort. Do this nap thing on-purpose, regularly, for six weeks — that’s how long it takes to develop a habit — and see what it gets me. I suspect it’s going to really help. I’ll have to report in regularly about this… now I’m curious.

Well, speaking of discipline, it’s time for me to get ready for work. I’ve had my exercise and my breakfast, and I’ve written a little bit to keep myself on track. Next up — the rest of my day, wherein I work with others towards common goals and greater prosperity for us all.

ONward.