At the end of February, I declared that I would get a bunch of stuff done in exactly one month. Nagging stuff that I’d been procrastinating, quality of life stuff that Really Had To Be Addressed, etc. Here’s the list, full speed ahead, smash it to the ground with the hammer of Getting Shit Done!
Six months later, I am proud to say that I have accomplished… some of it.
I rock at making grand declarations about how I’m going to change my life. The actual changing? Very, very slow. Especially when the events immediately following the declaration include a household member’s minor surgery going painfully awry, another episode of the continuing ricochet of a family member’s mental illness, and a recurrence of one of the chronic pain issues that I will apparently be dealing with on and off for the rest of my life. I also got more work hours and lost some child care hours almost simultaneously, which meant more time with my kiddo but less time to get anything done besides working during the day.
I was so tired of feeling like a big mess, though, that something had to change. So I did a couple of things.
First, get rid of stuff. Get insomnia meds so I can sleep and then get different pills to delete constant low-grade pain, file taxes to get the pile of paperwork off my desk, issue an ultimatum about the Not My Stuff that was being stored in my house and force it out, give stuff away on Craigslist and to Goodwill and to friends, even by mailing it to them. Unsubscribe from blogs and delete delete delete delete files and emails and even songs in iTunes. Put away all of my sewing stuff in the closet. Put half the toys away in the kid’s closet. Stop seeing almost anyone socially.
Second, start buying and reading massive numbers of graphic novels and comic books. Develop an obsession with X-Men continuity so intense that it requires a spreadsheet to manage. Stalk the relevant sections in all the Half Price Books in Austin. Get on a first name basis with Eric, Roy, and Michael at Tribe. Pay a significant chunk of their rent for a few months before tapering off to a reasonable pace of acquisition. Spend entire evenings reading a few hundred pages of superheroes in tights. Leave the kid with Grandma for an evening and check into a hotel to do nothing but eat cupcakes and read comics.
It does not sound healthy. And yet, it worked. I’m not really sure why. Before when I’ve felt overwhelmed, the only solution has been to work my ass off and get caught up. Nothing else would fix it. But apparently this time I needed to catch up, but I also really fucking needed to check out. Turn off the monkey mind, forget about how stressed I was and how impossible it seemed to ever be caught up.
I was talking to my friend PMRSC before she left for England and I said “Well, you know, I was really fucking miserable and things really sucked. Then I started spending half my time reading X-Men and the other half painfully slowly getting things off the list. And now it’s better somehow. So basically, spending half of my time working and half of my time screwing around was the solution.”
“Yep,” she said, “It’s called a life.”
I’m not sure I knew that before. But I kinda like it.