Monday, March 8, 2021

Along the Way.


Okay, so today marks the beginning of Week 2 on my new life schedule. So far, so good.


I learned some things last week and need to make some small changes, but overall, I think I did a pretty good job designing it. I’ll give the schedule itself 4 out of 5 stars.


Me, on the other hand, I had some trouble getting on board entirely. I give myself 2 out of 5 stars. Most of my own problems so far have been related to the ongoing shoulder pain. This has made it hard to stick to the schedule. For instance, I’m supposed to be doing yoga in the morning right when I wake up at 6am. I only managed that ONE of the mornings last week because the shoulder is just too stiff and painful in the mornings. I did not do the yoga this morning, but I after being very gentle with my body and getting a lot of sleep over the weekend, I am willing to (cautiously) say that I think the shoulder is a little better today.


Similarly, in the evenings after my run, I’m supposed to make dinner and then spend time writing and reading. Most of my evening time is currently scheduled for these activities, but I’ve had trouble with these because after sitting at a desk working for 8 hours during the day, it hurts the shoulder to then spend more time sitting at this desk typing away on a different keyboard. Reading is a little easier, but it has been difficult to concentrate when the shoulder intermittently starts to throb and/or spasm. So that has been fun.


Under normal circumstances I would have already gone to the doctor, but these are Covid times and going to the doctor just isn’t worth the additional risk that would create for myself and others. So I have been doing the little arm exercises I learned in physical therapy a couple years ago when this happened. I do my little “spider walk” stretches up and down on the wall throughout the day. I do the one where I put a rubber band on my fingers and open and close them. That all seems to help a little.


So what’s ahead for this week? Well, I need to dial in the schedule a little, but I also need to get ready for the time change next weekend. This winter has been hard and I don’t know that I have ever been as adversely affected by a time change as I was by this last one. It was dark when I started working and dark again by the time I finished. I’ve really appreciated these last few weeks where I could at least get an hour of running in between the end of the work day and the sunset. 


Next week is going to be awesome! I will get an extra hour of running time! Last week I was doing 3 or 4 or 5 miles. Once the time changes I can start working toward the longer runs I really like: 6, 8, 9 miles. I haven’t run a half-marathon since 2019 and I was in much better shape in 2019, but low key it is my goal to be able to do that again all on my own and I have plenty enough trails right outside my door to be able to do it. It will take awhile though to get my body back into that kind of state though.


Also this week, I have to figure out a plan for the weekends. I feel I’ve had enough success with the schedule I built for the weekdays that I could probably figure out at least a broad template for the weekends. I’m not sure how to do this yet. It’s funny, when you start to think of your time as your own, as something you can spend however you want, you are forced to ask yourself what you, in fact, WANT to be doing with your time. So it becomes not simply a question of time, but really a question of values and priorities.


These are the kinds of problems I enjoy solving: the kind that do not come with a clear set of instructions and which require some real work and evaluation. For most of quarantine all I did not the weekends was eat pizza and drink red wine. Turns out that’s not actually what I want to be doing, but I had to actually stop and pay attention in order to realize that.


So we will see. I have the next 5 work days to work out a solution to the weekends.


Like I said, so far so good. 


Not great, but you can’t get to great without passing good along the way.


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Friday, March 5, 2021

Anguish Persisting.

 

Remember how in the movie Airplane the Lloyd Bridges character, as the situation keeps worsening, says things like, “I really picked the wrong day to stop drinking ...” or, “I really picked the wrong day to stop doing cocaine …”? Well let me be honest here, I picked the wrong week to try to dramatically alter the shape of my life. 


I will say, I had a pretty good run right after work yesterday, but then while I was cooking my new, healthy dinner, some family drama crept into my life and ended up making me so angry that I barely ate and then couldn’t sleep. I was in bed for hours trying to get comfortable with my shoulder (which I think is getting worse?) and thinking about how angry I was. I just never got to much of anything that could be considered sleep. 


So here I am on the morning of Day 4 and I’m just sleep deprived and in pain and emotionally spent. But what is life if not anguish persevering, right? (<---- No one reading this in the future will recognize that this was a funny meme sentence construction on Twitter this past week). 

 

But, it’s fine.


I have 8 hours of work to get through today. I have a whole weekend to try to norm myself back to a good baseline and then next week I get to start again. That’s one thing about the unrelenting forward onslaught of time; if today isn’t working for you, you just have to make it to tomorrow.  


Since no one reads this blog anymore, I know that I don’t have to worry that I’m coming off unhappy and cranky this week, but I still feel like I should point out: I’m actually on an upswing here. The fact I’m typing this at all is a sign that things are getting a little better for me. Like anything in life, it will just take a little time to see real results. Next week my shoulder will feel a little better, next week my body adjust a little more to the sore muscles and the miles I’m putting on it, next week my stomach and metabolism will start to come to terms with the fact I’ve cut off the steady stream of red wine and potato chips. And maybe next week I’ll be writing more of these posts, but maybe by then they’ll be worth anyone’s time to read! That would be exciting!


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Thursday, March 4, 2021

Easy and Fun, but the Opposite.


They saw it takes 2-3 weeks to build a new habit, but let me tell you, it only takes 2-3 days for your body to go into a very unhappy kind of shock when you try to build a new habit.


This is day 3 of my new daily life routine and my whole body hurts. 


Not all of this is the fault of my new schedule. I jammed up my shoulder pretty bad last week and have been experiencing some very real low grade pain since then. A reasonable person probably would have waited for that to heal before trying to completely reform their physical and mental routines, but I have never been accused of being a reasonable person!


So right now my shoulder is throbbing pretty much all the time, weird parts of my body are sore from the new yoga routine yesterday morning, and my legs are all knotted up from the last two evenings of trail running. I’m just kind of physically miserable, but here’s the thing: that’s probably good.


This is the kind of miserable that comes from actually DOING THINGS. The shoulder pain I could do without, but the fact that last night I fell asleep faster than I have maybe since the start of quarantine, it seems like that’s a god thing since I’ve been plagued by bad sleep for months.


I slept in a little today because I don’t think my body could do anything this morning, but also because I didn’t wake up already stressing out about my job and already disappointed by the thought that the day ahead of me was already a waste of time before I’d even gotten started with it.


So it seems like that counts for something. I’m 3 days in and even though I feel absolutely terrible, I actually also kind of feel … better? All this soreness, all this unpleasantness, this is what it costs to make changes. What did I think? That I was going to alter how I live for the better and that it was just going to be easy and fun? If it was easy and fun I would have already been doing it, because easy and fun is like my favorite, but it’s not necessarily good for me.


So here’s to sore muscles and tight calves and good sleep and actually feeling hungry for food for once. Here’s to goddamn trying. Here’s to sticking with it.


I’ll keep you posted.


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Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Failure and/or Success.


So I was only partially successful yesterday, but it’s not my fault!


Yesterday was Day One of this sort of new daily life routine I’ve been planning out for a little while now.


Here are the ways in which I failed and/or succeeded:


FAIL: I’d planned to wake up at 6am and go for a short run. I did not. It was 37 degrees yesterday at 6am and I do not have any cold weather running gear.


SUCCESS: I did still get up at 6am though. I used to get up at 6am all the time, but it has been getting harder and harder as quarantine has stretched on, so simply being conscious at an appointed time was nothing to sneeze at.


FAIL: After work, I did manage to go for a run, but after the run and after dinner, I have about 2 hours on the schedule that I am supposed to focus on fancy pants smart things like writing and reading, which huge parts of my life, but which have fallen away during quarantine. Well I did not do any fancy pants smart things because my right shoulder was KILLING ME. I frequently have shoulder problems (I think because I sleep on my side, but my ad hoc quarantine desk set up doesn’t help), so I spent my fancy pants smart guy time last night lying flat on the floor with a heating pad and when that didn’t work, I switched to a bag of frozen peas on my shoulder and that seemed to help for awhile.


SUCCESS: Not to bury the lede, but I DID manage to go run. Not a great run, but it was chilly and overcast after work and it was the kind of day when I normally would have just said, “Eh, it looks gross outside, I’ll go running tomorrow.” BUT I DID NOT DO THAT! I went anyway. I try to at least do a 5K whenever I go out and yesterday I did about 3.6 miles in 47 minutes, which is a TERRIBLE time for a 5K, but did I mention that I’m a trail runner??? So I go running where other people go hiking. I go running up the trails and through the woods where other people go mountain biking. I go running in places where other people hike out with their cameras to get pictures of all the nature. It helps that I live across the street from an open space preserve the size of the city of San Francisco.


FAILURE: I’m supposed to go to bed now at 10pm on the dot (because I have lost of trouble sleeping and so making myself get in bed always feels like admitting my day was a failure (Am I the only one who experiences this feeling?), but I didn’t go to bed until about 10:30 because while I was prostrate on the floor, I found the movie Motherless Brooklyn on TV and OGM! do I have a lot to say about that thing, but I will save it for another time. 


SUCCESS: Okay, just ONE thing about the Motherless Brooklyn movie … I successfully predicted the plot of the movies simply from watching the trailer once a year ago. I didn’t even feel like I’d figured anything out last night, because I figured out the movie a year ago, but still, being SO RIGHT is a kind of success of its own.


Last night I tracked down a Youtube morning yoga video and I replaced the morning run with the video and OMG! It kicked my ass, so maybe I will swap out the morning run with the morning yoga. Interestingly, it did not seem to aggravate my shoulder as I did it this morning. Perhaps that kind of stretching and such is actually what I should be doing to prevent myself from hurting myself while I sleep? This getting old stuff is some bullshit, BTW. Aging is not for the faint of heart.


I recognize how silly it is to be on Day Two of anything, but I do feel better than I have in quite awhile. It has taken a year, but I might finally be figuring out how to get this quarantine life to suck a little less.



Okay. That’s it for now. More tomorrow.


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Tuesday, March 2, 2021

It Has Been Awhile.


It has been awhile.


I’m kind of happy that no one even remembers this little blog anymore, much less reads it, because I need a little bit of private time to remember how to do this.


Let’s cut to the chase and talk about why we are here: we are coming up on a year of quarantine and since I live with just an obnoxious cat, I have essentially been alone for an entire year. I could have been a solo astronaut to Mars in less time than that.


As of late, my mental health has not been so great. Quarantine has given me a pretty nasty bit of low grade depressions and a whole lot of dumb work stress has given me some anxiety and I can’t say that I really developed any healthy coping strategies for all of that over the past year.


In the last couple of weeks I feel like I hit a wall pretty hard and so I started exploring ways to deal with that. We all know that good routine is supposed to be one of those things that can save us from ourselves, so I sat down with a spreadsheet and started working out what a day should look like. I needed to de-center my job in my day, to free myself of that feeling that all I do is wake, work, sleep, repeat. I also knew that I needed an actual schedule so that when I feel compelled to sit down on the couch and doom scroll Twitter for hours, I could point at a schedule and say, “Nope, that is not what I am supposed to be doing right now.”


In the coming days I’ll post the schedule and whatever other things I can come up with. Coming up with content for no one to read is a muscle and I have not used that one in awhile, but I built this time into my mornings, so I will have to start coming up with something!


For now though, the fact that this post — this set of works that I have written — even exists, is a sign that I am having a somewhat successful first day. Now we will just have to wait and see how every other single subsequent day goes.

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Thursday, October 1, 2020

WATCH THIS SPACE

 I’ve been a bad blogger the last few years, but look, I’ve been very busy. At least I shared photos! But then I was heartbroken to discover that somehow this little blog has become unlinked from the Instagram account I was using to update it. That’s why my last several years of posts are all just ghost posts now. I’m trying to figure out how to fix it, but I am a bad blogger, not a web-internaught, so - you know - this process is going to be terrible.


In the meantime, just know to watch this space, because we’re living through a pandemic and possibly the last democratic election America will ever get to have. It seems like someone should be writing about all this shit as it happens. And not on your social media, which is so ephemeral and combative that it doesn’t even ever feel like anything but anger bubblegum. 


In the weeks and months to come, I’ll be here. I’m not promising to be helpful or useful or enlightening or - let’s be honest - even interesting, but I’ll be here. And maybe I’ll even figure out where the hell all my pictures went. It’s like my past has disappeared. I’m basically the boringest version of Jason Bourne.


Watch this space.


P.S. Have you listened to Fiona Apple’s latest album. You outta.


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