3.21.2014

Fall back, troops.



I'm retreating.

I've said yes to a few too many things. All good, and good for me, but different and unrelated and brain-stretching. 

So, as I try to wrap my mind around them, I'm instead drawn to a book on Les Six, another on creativity, a pandora radio station populated by good friends from high school and college (Harriet fro the Sundays, Edie, Morrissey, Robert from the Cure...wonderfully mopey stuff), and a ridiculous bottle of neon orange nail polish. There's a large snuggly lab sleeping again my calf, and I have a lined notebook full of story ideas that I'm going to tackle as a celebration once all this crazy stuff is finished. 

Planning to spend half the day tomorrow working, and the other half at a farm, eating goat cheese and drinking beer. Thinking that the ends will likely justify the means.

I always panic a bit in the spring... So much to do, so few hours. I forget, every year. Will one of you kind folks remind me next year that things will be more intense than I remember? Thanks in advance. 

And if you have platitudes or inspirations or daydreams that help you get through, will you please share them? I could stand to lengthen my perspective a bit.


3.09.2014

Sunday. Taking stock.

I've been reading this book. Among others...I'm a polygamous reader, but I'm faithful to all of the books I start. (Except for this one...couldn't finish it, because I just despise Ignatius. I'm sure that, in a different stage of life, I'll pick it back up again and enjoy it. But that won't likely be happening soon.)

Anyway. I started that book. It's all about finding ways to structure your work so that you do your best stuff when you're most suited to it. And it talks about slow incremental progress. And it talks about the reactivity of work and the loud voice of email. And it talks about the power of habit.

It's hitting me at a vulnerable time. Or, rather, at an impressionable time. I took an office job to have a regular (well, -ish) schedule and paycheck. But sometimes I dream about freelancing and restructuring my days accordingly. There are things that I want to do - play more piano; compose; write. I only allow myself to indulge in those things when I've "done my chores." When I've run out of other things to do - running errands, cleaning, gym, cooking (ok, this falls into both the Must category and the Enjoy category), working.

It seems backwards, right? Putting off the things you love for the things you must do? Sometimes it's ok - necessary even. But as a habit, it's a pretty shitty one.

In the off-season, there's no good reason for me to check my work email on the weekends. My boss has my cell # and uses it when she needs. Outside of that, everything can wait until office hours. And yet, every weekend I log on several times just to see... It's a distracting waste. (Granted, in the summer my phone is on and my email checking is constant. But that's different, and finite.)

So, I'm trying to re-prioritize. To make some new habits that allow me to create. To cut down on the amount of purely reactive action that I take. We'll see how it works out. I'll likely be grumpy as all get out as I figure this stuff out...please know that if I'm snippy it's me, not you. And that I'm sorry. It's for a good cause, I promise!

3.04.2014

And the point was?

I started following Humans of New York today because of a post they shared on Facebook that hit home. It's a photo of a pretty girl, a big knit stocking cap on head, a coat and a shearling vest, but flat and oh-so-bare ankles. She's sitting on her suitcase, somewhere at Penn Station if I had to guess. Her quote is:

"I wish I'd partied a little less. People always say 'be true to yourself.' But that's misleading, because there are two selves. There's your short term self, and there's your long term self. And if you're only true to your short term self, your long term self slowly decays."
I'm more than a little terrified that the above quote sums up my life. That I've done thirty-day projects and tried things, but haven't kept that long-term vision in my sights... and now I've forgotten what it is.

(How's that for a Tuesday crisis of confidence? Go big or go home, I suppose.)

It's Mardi Gras, and I've celebrated by ditching any semblance of healthy eating for cake and cookies and homemade bread FROM MY NEW COLLEAGUE (we've been calling this position "The Unicorn" for months, because we really didn't think we'd ever get another staff person. But we did! And she's awesome!) WHO JUST STARTED TODAY AND I REALLY HOPE COMES BACK TOMORROW. (Oh, add wine and cream-cheese frosting to that list of things that have leapt into my mouth unbidden.)And the day was pretty good until I decided to grill burgers and my back stoop was a sheer sheet of ice and my grill was covered in ice and it took forever to chip everything out (because there wasn't really a good Plan B and I really wanted a bleu cheese burger) and I almost started a grease fire BUT at the last minute resisted the urge to just throw a metric ton of snow onto the grill to subdue the flames and so we're all ok and plus burgers for dinner!

So I guess it's not all bad, even now, right?

My street wasn't plowed, and evidently doesn't get a lot of afternoon sun, so my impending dog walk would be scary except I have these things, which are nerdy but so awesome that you can judge away and it bothers me not at all. Not falling on one's butt when one has a large labrador in tow (or maybe he's the one doing the towing...anyway) is a very good thing!

Lent starts tomorrow. As always, looking forward to the structure, and to living with less excess for a while. I know I'm not here often anymore (although this will be my 1138th post. Crazy, right, that someone could write so much and say so very little.) If you're looking for more regular updates from me, you can find them over here.

Here's hoping that, in the next 40 days, we find what we need by giving up what we don't.