formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I'm Not Dying. Yet.

I just gave a few Facebook friends a fright. I posted this:

If you found out this afternoon that you have just a year to live:

1. Would you be happy with the life you're living?
2. If your answer is no, what would you do differently in your remaining 365 days?

Apparently, some people thought I might be dying (you know, given Myrtle and all).

Oops. And heh.

I felt bad that I scared them. So I followed up with my reason for the questions... 

I read a blog post yesterday about an interesting project taken on by Single Dad Laughing. He came to the realization that he wasn't enjoying his life as much as he should be, so he decided to live this year as if it was his last. It's his '365 Days to Live' Project.


He started right away, too. Obviously he still has to work and pay rent and get his kid to school on time, so he might not be able to do everything he'd do if he knew his/the world was ending, but he's working on some pretty fun stuff, like trips, and moving to a better space. Before he started, he evaluated his life in several areas. I wasn't really clear about his method, but I liked the idea, so I wrote down all of his areas and added a few of my own... 

Then I rated my life on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being Colossally Bad and 10 being Exceptionally Good

I was a little scared, truth be told. 

Rightly so, it turns out.

It wasn't pretty.  

My areas can be separated out into Mental Health, Physical Health, and Emotional Health (though a few naturally bleed into more than one category). Today wasn't a very good day so I tried hard to think of things in the larger view. I tried to be really honest with myself. I tried not to be overly-dramatic or whiny (though it was an overly-dramatic, whiny sort of day). I tried. I did. 

Still, when I finished, I was kind of appalled. But when I really thought about it, not really surprised.

Here are my areas and my ratings. There are a couple I feel the need to explain... 

Mental Health
Depression – 4
Anxiety – 3
Stress Level – 3
Loneliness – 5
Spirituality/Connection to Nature – 3
Self-worth – 4

This is pretty bad, I know. They're all related, certainly. I've felt the spiral toward depression for a while and I've been fighting it off. Hard. But anxiety and stress will take their toll eventually. Spirituality for me is about a connection to nature and the less tangible concepts of inner calm and clarity. I'm feeling none of those lately. And of course, when all areas of one's life are out of balance, including certain relationships (see below), self-worth (always tenuous at best) takes a nosedive.

Physical Health
Fitness Level – 3
Sleep Quality – 3
Diet – 2
Energy Level – 3
Self-Care – 3
General Physical Health – 4
Physical Environment – 5

These are all related, too... and related to the other broader categories. I know this. My physical health with regard to conditions is monitored. I have a pretty clear view of the big picture. With regard to the smaller picture (see above), some things are easily corrected... with desire and motivation (definitely not the easy part). Self-care has been a big issue for me. Always. I had a virus recently - a long, drawn-out bugger of a virus. I went to work sick and was chastised and sent home. Afterwards, during a conversation with my boss, she said, "Diane, you really have to take care of YOU." I'm not good at this. I know it. 

Emotional Health
Work Life – 7
Hobbies – 3
Family Relationships – 3
Friend Relationships – 6
Life Balance – 4

Fun Level – 3

General Contentment with Life – 3 

Work is really good overall but because of all the issues in the other areas, I doubt myself constantly, I struggle with keeping my thoughts organized, and I fight just being tired all the time. Hobbies... hmmm... what are they? Other than coaching and Facebook (which is making me a bit miserable of late), I don't seem to have any anymore. With regard to family relationships, my connections to and with my extended family are wonderful - they rate WAY up there. But my relationships with my immediate family are so poor that the rating takes a serious fall. Things with Ryan have even been strained this year, which is so upsetting, as we're heading into her last six months at home with me. With my friend relationships, again they're wonderful. I have the very, very best peeps. But I never SEE them. Even the ones close by are hard to connect with, due to life being so very busy for everyone. I want and need contact beyond Facebook and I was reminded of that during a recent trip to England. I spent two weeks with real live humans - people I adore and who love me - and it left me with a pretty clear understanding of what I've been missing. Bottom line, I'm unbalanced.

And I have little fun anymore. I'm not sure when I stopped having fun, but I did. I'm not even sure what would be fun. But I aim to find out. 

I do believe that life is good. I do. I always believe that things will get better. I believe that now. But I'm not in a good place at the moment. I'm drained, mentally, physically, and emotionally. Part of the reason for that is due to things beyond my immediate control... but I am starting to take control of the way I'm reacting to to those things. I'm starting to think about (and in some cases, doing it) putting myself first. I'm starting to make some plans for changes and for my future beyond this year. But I have a lot of work to do. Clearly. 

I'm not going to make goals for every single area. It would be overwhelming, I think. And I'm tired. Really tired. Instead, I'm going to focus on one thing from each of the three bigger categories. Since everything really is related, I expect each one thing will have a larger impact. For example, to reduce my stress levels, I'm going to get some exercise, which will improve my overall physical well-being. Improvements in my diet will likely affect my energy level. And making a real effort to connect - face-to-face - with people I love, will affect a whole bunch of areas.

Baby steps.

With regard to my Facebook post, I was so happy to see that several of my friends love their lives just as they are. Several were happy overall, but wanted to travel more or spend more time with family. I hope they do just that right now. One friend asked me what I would do if I only had 365 days left. I think I would spend it just hanging out with my people... in the sunshine... in the rain... by the sea... in a tent or by a fire. 

I would want to spend it feeling the way I felt during my trip to England in January. Loving my people and feeling loved in return. Up close and personal.

What about you? 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Just Do It. Damn It.

Happy New Year, peeps! Hope you made it through the holidays unscathed. They were OK 'round these parts... relatively quiet and unremarkable (which is not at all the worst way to spend them).

So. Here we are. It's finally 2017 and the Very Bad No Good Stinkin' Rotten Year is over. Now, for just a moment, let's pretend that flipping the calendar from December to January is not actually just an arbitrary sort of act, and that yesterday morning really DID begin a whole new period of time during which the Universe will take a chill pill and calm the hell down. Shall we?

Cool beans.

While I've sort of given up the whole 'new year, new me' way of looking at Life (given that I'm only ever the old me, regardless of what the calendar says), there is still a part of me that hangs onto the 'fresh start' shtick. It's appealing, no? I like the idea of a clean slate... a new year full of possibilities and none of the detritus left by the maelstrom of the previous year.

It's a nice idea, certainly, and works in theory if not in reality.

In the past, I've chosen a 'word of the year' to focus on because I read a blog post once about how that helped the writer bring good things into her life. Lovely, right? Last year, my word was 'abundance.' And I got it, man. In spades. An abundance of utter shite, quite frankly. My year included chemo, the loss of people I loved deeply, my mother's long and serious decline in health (which has affected my life dramatically, as I have become one of her [reluctant] caregivers), my beloved Sunny's death, a terrible accident that nearly killed my ex (the recovery from which has been arduous and has seriously affected us both financially), the election of Donald Freaking Trumplethinskin (I can barely type that without seizing), and what feels like an entire world that's falling apart at the seams.

Not so nice.

Good stuff did happen as well (a great new position at work, the Brown-haired Bestie's wedding, a new pup [which, actually, may or may not be a good thing... we're still working through some things]). But by and large, I felt like every time I got back on my feet, Life hit me hard. Right in the face. With a kettlebell.

Anyway, I decided I wasn't going to do the 'word of the year' thing this year. It's a charming idea but it just doesn't work for me. If I'm being honest, not only do I not focus on it, I pretty much forget the damned thing until people start talking about their new 'word of the year' choices near the end of December.

No, this year I'm going to employ a mantra. It's one I'm going to write at the top of every stinkin' page in my planner (which I have to keep for work and which I use for personal things as well):

Just do it.

And some days, I'm sure it'll be necessary to add a bit to it. For example: 

Just do it. Damn it.

Just do it already, will ya?

Christ on a pogo stick, just do it!

What is taking you so farking long? Just. Do. It. 

Do you hear me?!

I spend a ridiculous amount of time thinking about doing things but not actually doing them. And I"m not just talking about the stuff I don't want to do. I'm talking about things that are really good for me... I'm talking about fun stuff I really like to do! What the hell? I spend a ridiculous amount of time analyzing the reasons I don't do the things. Then I spend even more ridiculous amounts of time being angry with myself for not doing the things, regardless of the reasons, and even more time still regretting the time I wasted not doing the things, analyzing why I don't do the things, and berating myself for not doing the things. 

I am ridiculous.

So my mantra for this year (or this random, arbitrary period of time) is: Just do it

It's a good one, I think, because it actually applies to every single area of my life. Because there is not one single area of my life in which I don't put things off, that's why. Not one. Not a single stinkin' one. 

And I'm tired of it. I'm tired of myself. I'm tired of not doing the things. 

All the things. 

Any of the things. 

Will my mantra make me do all the things? 

No. I'm sure it won't. But if it helps to get me moving, if it helps to make me stop looking for the reasons why I'm not doing the things (because holy hell, it doesn't even freaking matter anymore), if it helps to get me to do just some of the things? Well, then I'll be a bit further forward than I am right now. 

And that's something. 

Because where I am right now? Not the best place. Not the worst, certainly, but not the best. 

I've learned not to make resolutions because I break them and, once broken, they're off my radar altogether. I've learned that while goals are necessary in life (they are, aren't they?), I tend to make too many or I make them too complicated, then I get overwhelmed, and in the end, I accomplish little (and wind up hating myself just a little bit more). 

But this? This is just a request. A suggestion. An order. A demand. Just do it. Whatever it is, Diane, just do it. Just get up, just buckle down, just focus, just un-stick yourself, just spend a little time knocking a thing or two off your to-do list... just do it. 

Damn it. 

It'll work, right? I mean, something has to.