Machine

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I was looking at the difference between complaining and venting, if any.
Complaining has a bit of a reputation as a protracted, repeated occurrence of dissatisfaction that focuses on the “object” (you are complaining to someone about a particular something – the object). We seem to be in two minds on the subject of complaints. Ask any business and they “would love to hear from you about any improvements we need to make to our product” while our innate wish to belong and our subsequent loyalty to the entity we belong to (say, that business) means that we don’t regards the complaint with “yay, someone complained, isn’t that wonderful?”. The true reaction would be somewhere in between “oh no, not him again” to “we already know there’s something wrong, now stop complaining so we have time to fix it”, plus a few other possibilities 
Venting is a different beast altogether. The focus of the venting is somewhere in between the two participants, with the object more of an incidental and the sole purpose being the sharp releasing of a strong negative emotion, usually some form of anger. Most of the time we are not aware of anything wrong, we ask a simple “how are you” of someone and 10 minutes later we are still looking for the truck that hit us. When we do it to others we deal also with the shock of our brains at what comes so effortlessly out of our mouths (over which said brain is supposed to have some control). Venting on a regular basis is also, for me, a sure-fire way of becoming depressed and socially isolated (because no one needs that kind of negativity in their life, even when you are right!)
Attempts have been made to channel venting (time limits of 5 minutes, agreed at the beginning, seem to be preferred) and professionals are still split between “it’s useful” and “it’s damaging”, and that is what actually caught my attention.
It’s no surprise to anybody who knows me that I love my self-control – it does not come naturally to me, so I treasure it. I am uncomfortable when someone around me loses that control. I am appalled when I lose it. Sauce for the goose and all that  I also live in a country that praises that control and allows very few outlets for negative feelings (getting drunk is one of them – so of course you won’t be taken seriously). So actually any form of negative emotion display is discouraged and if you still do it then your mental health is being questioned.
And for me that is where the problem is. You are unhappy about something. You have tried your best to solve it. You have expressed your unhappiness. And it stops there or there’s a suggestion you go to counselling.
But what if your issue isn’t personal? What if it is systemic?
Then that lack of good feedback puts the blame on you as an individual for something that is beyond your control. When we say that the system is broken (and how many times have you thought, said or heard THAT?), this is what we mean: there is no way to steer it. And as any machine has to do, it continues to go in the direction it has initially been pointed to, crushing anything in its path underneath.
Solutions? Change the system (despite the fact that some things are actually going well), get out of part of it (maybe a job you love in the industry of your dreams), fix the feedback loop of the system (good luck with that, with so many of us!) or continue to moan, whinge, whine, grumble, mumble, rumble or similar.
Or go to counselling… you’ll feel better after it, even though you will still have the track marks on you from the crushing…

You could also find some loopholes (my specialty!) which will work for some of the people, some of the time, but requires quite a lot of your energy… and leaves all of us with the same blind unsteerable machine.

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Minutiae

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It is the sum of our minutes that make up our life. And most of our minutes are spent doing little things; you know what I am talking about: open curtains, feed the cat, make lunches, wake up and make breakfast for the little one… and that’s before you even go out the door!

Most of the time I am fine with the way I spend my minutes. Or, should I say, adulting doesn’t seem a chore, even though I still firmly believe that we are made for greater things than that. I know I can do better than that.

Sometimes though… I need a holiday. A holiday is not when I move from the bed to the couch, although I can do that as well as the best of them! A holiday is when I can put my overalls on, get into the garden and stop when my arms are in danger of falling off. A holiday is when I shoo everyone out, get into the little one’s bedroom and come out when it’s in order. A holiday is when I go up the mountain and strain my muscles to the limit. A holidays is when I visit a friend and actually go through all the stuff that we want to talk about.

It seems that for me a holiday is when I take big bites. It’s not the number of things I am doing, it’s the level of energy I am able to put into what I am doing, the intensity of the interest and what I am doing, too!

So when I know where my interest is, where the intensity and energy want to be then anything else I do makes me feel boring. Like I am not doing what I should be doing. Adulting then does seem a chore, I am short-tempered and distracted.

It drives people around me up the wall, it does! Because apparently adulting is non-negotiable, whereas I am of the opinion that if I am an adult that I can choose the stuff I am doing… within reason. My reason, of course 

Does that sound just a tad whingey? Ok, I’ll admit it! I would dearly love to come back into the house from the garden or off the mountain and find that food has been cooked and the house is tidy and all I need to do is sit at the computer and knock off another course paper. Maybe one day, when I am not a slave to the bank, I will hire someone to do just that, lady of the manor that I am 

Until then, I am learning to use my remaining minutes wisely… or not, as most of them are taken from the sleeping allowance. And being an adult is still 10 times better than whatever passes for second place 

Pendulum

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You know that type of situation when you want to change a few things (small, big, whatever) but the time is not yet? Maybe you are not irritated enough, maybe the price of change is too high, maybe you get busy with other things, or maybe you just procrastinate.

Sometimes we think about that change for so long that even after we do it it remains at the ideas level and we forget we’ve done it! At least I do!

But most of the time, sooner or later, the price of change comes down and/or we start swearing in native languages (not necessarily ours and not necessarily extant) and we actually get on with the change and accomplish amazing things. This is when people like myself think that you are taking too long if things are done the next day!

Things are helped along if the universe conspires with you and seemingly impossible things become totally do-able even before your first cup of tea. And if said things save you money after the initial outlay, all the better.

The exhilarating part for me is that I can move at my normal speed: fast. I don’t mean running, I don’t do that kind of thing. I mean thinking fast, doing many things in the day (one after the other, multitasking is not nearly as much fun as it’s famed to be), switching fast from thinking time to doing time. Most people seem uneasy if I move fast all the time, but they seem a bit more forgiving if you give them a short explanation as to why you are rushing.

Oh, I have missed that! It takes energy to operate at less than optimum, so I spend a lot of energy waiting and slowing down and standing still. It’s exhausting, but it does serve to make me more socially acceptable. I can even (gasp!) ignore teasing because I slow down. Usually, at normal speed, teasing gets in the way, it’s annoying and makes me think quite badly of people: why can’t they just say what the heck they mean so I can get on with my day? (did I mention I take myself very seriously? 😛 ). But if I slow down then, even if I can’t enjoy it, at least I can let it pass. I can even try my hand at it, but due to lack of practice I am either too soft or too harsh… eh, better give it up as a bad job

Overdoing things… yep, know aaaaalllll about it! I can slot the important things in the schedule, just not everything. The holidays season is here, so the least I can do is say “no” politely when I am overwhelmed.

Note to self!

Energy

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I was completing an assignment yesterday on metabolism, as one does

If there was one thing I took from that assignment (ok, ok, it was quite interesting, so maybe not just one thing!) was that life requires energy. In the absence of energy there is no life. Maybe life is energy… I don’t know, not going there at the moment.

But we need it and each drop of it is parsimoniously eked out to make it last and drive as much activity as possible. The body even uses the waste product (heat) to maintain energy production and storage. The body is also more efficient at utilizing energy than anything we’ve been able to come up with.

So far so obvious. Now we come to the nitty-gritty: how in the world do we mobilize all this energy to serve our purposes? Oh wait, do we have a purpose? Quick, get back to the drawing board and get thee one

But other than being cheeky, it’s not just the purpose that we need energy for – I use enormous amounts of energy for waiting!. The body uses most of the energy just to stay alive (you know, allowing our big brains to control breathing, heart pumping, digestion); in contrast, we use most of our energy for the little things in life, for the non-essentials. Or rather, we have set up our world so that we need to perform lots of non-essential activities in order to maintain said world. Let’s see, we need to use a lot of energy (dig some ore to make into components of a car and the roads, work at a particular job) that will allow us to drive to the supermarket to buy something like food which we then need to store, prepare and cook in order to eat. The last bit is the only one truly essential. The rest is inefficient at the best of times. We have less leisure than the animals we don’t want to compare ourselves with. We ruin our health by specializing more and more when I believe we were meant to be generalists. We also think this is normal and pity the ones who don’t have the “conveniences” we do.

And yet we dream of the simple life. Which wasn’t that simple, as it was brought home to me by reading to the little one about prehistoric life.

Because I am not really complaining as such… my rant is more around the wastage of energy. So maybe what I am looking for is a simpler life. Yeah, I want to have my cake and eat it, too! I want to spend less time (oh, the links between energy and time need another blog article for sure!) for the basic needs ; that means having shelter, water and food close to home, being knowledgeable about health care, paying taxes for the systems I use. Basically I want to arrange my life so that I have most of the conveniences but not so much of the consumption.

So that I can concentrate more on being human…