Stress

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Most of the time I feel quite competent, thank you very much!  Then I figure out I still have a lot to learn… duh! But most of the time what I need to learn is quite clear and, as I have a passion for it, I just go forth and learn it.

Occasionally though I get… lost, for want of a better word. It is clear I need to learn something, but what exactly that is takes a bit of time to decipher and, in some cases, once I have done that, I also discover that the knowledge I am trying to acquire is… undesirable. That in itself is enough to put me off my food. Then I have my inevitable response to the anger and disappointment of others (I get upset, you know?). Put those together and I need to have quiet conversations with my cellular mechanisms regarding getting back into balance or else 

“This too shall pass” and all that aside, after I have played Killer Sudoku and Scrabble in an attempt to distract my brain so I can deal with my gut without interference, after listening to calming piano music to allow the gut to relax and then gone outside to get my hands in the earth (rain and cold… oh, my poor hands!), then I can re-engage the brain into analysis. I do this better with someone to talk to – surprise! 
If the crisis is of small to medium proportions I have found that talking it through works even if the other person doesn’t respond the way I need. You know what I mean: they have had it worse than me, it could have been worse, don’t worry about it, why are you being so upset…

If the crisis is big however then I need to find someone who will listen to me rant and rave, then bring me back to analysis. Apart from a few beautiful friends, I have found counselling amazing from this point of view and for the short term. I am aware that I could have done the same thing to and with myself… it would have taken me years though, with counselling it was all done and dusted in a few sessions (no, not the pain, just the acceptance and the context). I think it’s because, warm as that person was, there was nothing personal that I needed to invest. I didn’t need to feel embarrassed I was taking up precious time. I didn’t have to take into account life views or beliefs. I almost didn’t build a relationship and made do with rapport. Listen and direct to problem was all I needed and the counsellor performed beautifully 

I also tend to procrastinate if there’s something wrong. Maybe it will sort itself out. Maybe it will just disappear of its own accord. Maybe other people will do it. Of course I know I am going to feel worse until the situation is resolved and feeling worse spurs me to anger most of the time, anger gives me the motivation to act and then I find out that either the situation is not as bad as it appeared… or it’s just as bad and now I know it, therefore can deal with it.

So there, now off to plant the garlic, read (yet more!) Harry Potter and sort out the paperwork 

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Hobby

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Interesting to note the link with horses and names… why am I so fascinated by the root and original meaning of words we use nowadays? Is it the connection with the past I am looking for? Is it just curiosity?

Let’s talk frequency here though.

Connecting with people, reading and thinking are activities that I perform every day, both at work, before and after it too Isn’t it strange that work (in the sense of “job”) relegates everything else in second place? Isn’t it sad that, while I chuckle at the absurdity of doing my job without that triad, there are way too many people who have to? Is this why we have been given life and minds and souls and spirits?

But I digress.

Second tier are the activities that, with short interruptions, are part of my life. Listening to music, being outside in the garden/bush/forest, writing. Sometimes I stop these because I am stressed out – I am reliably told that’s unusual because they are supposed to help with de-stressing; it’s just that for me they are my normality, and stress is taking me out of it. The only other time when I stop these activities is when I am involved in one of the third tier activities.

These last are varied, short lived, intense and cyclical. I get interested, I start researching and accumulating materials, I get very involved very quickly in performing that activity… and then it passes just as quickly, only to reappear in a couple of seasons or years’ time… which means that I tend to stock up equipment. Let’s see: loom weaving, sewing, mosaic, crochet, dancing (oh, wait, that might have to go up to second tier… I don’t do it because I don’t have time or a partner), de-cluttering, jigsaw puzzles, food experimenting, preparing natural skin products and medicine, looking at architecture and house decorating, learning to play an instrument etc.

It hasn’t escaped my notice that I tend to become fascinated by activities with very much visible potential results, whereas my usual activities tend the other way. I am also very much aware of the short and cyclical nature of them. I am starting to use this to my own advantage – shameless opportunist that I am! For example, I am currently in a decluttering phase (my husband thanks you, Marie Kondo! 😛 ) so I am pushing myself every minute I can spare as I know it won’t last long and I want to get as much done as possible. But there is this pink cotton tape that might just become a very pretty dress for the little one just as soon as I can get my hands on a crochet hook that thick. And there is that keyboard piano I saw going cheap… and those old decorative tiles I hid under the bookshelves…

Did you know that at least one course assessment is due this week?

Mayhap I am just procrastinating?

Procrastinate

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I started writing this almost a week ago… 🙂

Very straightforward for Latin, I have to say, it actually means to defer. It is more specific than the current usage as it actually contains reference to “tomorrow” but otherwise perfectly understandable, if annoying.

I am not very fond of procrastination, even though I do it so well Others are even less enamoured of procrastination and have outstandingly explicit and eloquent things to say about it.

But this is an apology so I looked at what good can procrastination do. I am talking only of procrastination, not of time management difficulties. Those are not choices, procrastination is.

Let me make it clear: it is not a character flaw, it is not a difficulty, it is not an accident. It is a choice, and as such it is a consequence of a process that involves a lot of the individual, some of the system and most of the environment in which it happens.

Most people that I know of (including myself) do not procrastinate out of malice. It may be a passive (or is that passive-aggressive?) protest against circumstances we do not agree with. It may be a sign that more rest is in order so we can make better decisions. It may also be too difficult in which case it becomes again a passive way of saying it

What it can help with is timing. It’s a delaying technique but it may also be triggered by waiting for another piece of information needed to complete our knowledge. Or waiting for just the right time to do something. Or the right space in which to say something difficult.

Sometimes I am so tired that anything past breathing is way, way too much. So I procrastinate.

I don’t like it. I don’t think anyone does. But saying (and I have heard them all!) that the above are “just an excuse” is the same as saying “I don’t care why, just do it my way/the accepted way/the right way” despite what (I believe) are valid reasons.

And that makes me more, not less likely to continue to procrastinate.

Vicious circle, much?

Lately I have procrastinated sadness, if such is even possible. But I can’t let it overwhelm me during the day. And sometimes even nights are out of bounds. So I defer it. There is romance reading, pop music listening, cartoon watching – light hearted fun that nonetheless allows another hour to pass.

I can expect that much of myself, indeed. For sadness will come, and will not be denied entry.

I might as well make the decision when to open the door.

Disorganized

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Now I am really disappointed with myself for missing two things, an important one and a possibly important one. The first was an event the little one participated in, Peace Day. I apologized and I think I may have been forgiven. It was total forgetfulness. I did not write it down to remind myself, so I will not beat myself over it (what with me being human and all that).

The possibly important thing was not forgotten, that was sheer procrastination. It could have led to a change in my life, so I had to think about it and the reasons for that procrastination. Part of it was, of course, life: I have plenty of time; I need to research this a bit more; I need to talk to someone about it. The other part though is a lack of purpose. A bit of burnout, a bit of disenchantment, a desire for change but without the urgency. So the result is more of a live each day as it comes rather than striding confidently in the direction of my dreams.

That’s not necessarily bad, but it does mean that I am not making the changes to my life that I deem necessary. I don’t act on the opportunities that present. I observe the status quo without giving it either direction or meaning and as a result I feel even more disempowered. Do I like it? Let’s not joke about it, I dislike it but, apparently not intensely enough to matter.

Sometimes the best I can do is let it grow, accumulate, until the dislike turns into a call for action. I know I am capable of that, I have done it many times.

I was wondering if I should really push myself harder and just get it done earlier. I thought really hard about it, not just overthinking it, but actually trying to figure it out so that I may use it as a template for other periods in my life. Would I benefit from doing it and, if so, how would I go about pushing myself harder? In other words, how not to be a procrastinator?

The answer to the second question, “how would I go about it?” is reasonably simple: talk to people as opposed to making the decisions alone. I use it sparingly as I am very impulsive so I rush into things. Making decisions alone takes a longer time (and, as you read above, patience is not my strong point) but chances are the decisions will be more considered.

The answer to the first question has a bit more nuance. Yes, pushing myself would benefit me (no one likes a procrastinator) but it would deny time its value in life. Some things need to be done slowly, in the fullness of time, for the right reasons. In effect, in answering the second question I answered the first one, too.

Or you could say that as a procrastinator I just found good excuses to procrastinate

Fine, I will give you that. I will say I am just going through a phase, taking some time out, and get back into it as soon as feasible. Work, parenting, assignments, gardening, travel, friends… my life is full and that’s the way I like it. Now I just need to live it a bit more efficiently. What to start with though?

Ah, I know…