Recent entries from starstuff
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starstuffFirst poem

Today’s been rather stressful for reasons I won’t go into, but it reminded me of a previous goal I completed: Worry less. To complete that goal I did a six week course outlined by a psychologist and “worry expert” on his blog. One of the weeks centred around the importance of accepting and honouring emotions. Worries, he said, tend to assign values to emotions: being happy is good, being angry is bad, and so on. No emotion is negative or positive. Even gratitude can be inappropriate or harmful, and guilt can be very helpful and informative.

With that in mind, this is the poem I chose to memorise today…

The Guest House by Rumi

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary arrival comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honourably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice:
meet them at the door laughing
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes
Because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond. 4 days ago

starstuff 1 week ago

starstuffThat is good advice to go forward with.

It is exactly what I’d say to my younger-self too. 1 week ago

starstuffA rather dramatic end to the goal

I’m not sure what to write this under. My heart is pounding. I am writing this now because I know that if I don’t then I will avoid 43Things and risk losing the habit of coming back and writing.

It kind of fits under this goal.

The last phone call was with my good friend Im (abbreviated for privacy). It was about two o’clock in the morning and I had had a panic attack. Panic attack’s are something I’ve very rarely experienced. The day started much earlier than usual. My parents had already gone to work when I was woken by a knock at the door. I assumed it to be the postman. There was a pause, and then a furious incessant banging started. At first I thought, in a blur of semi-sleep, “Jeez, this postman is keen.” I forced myself to get up, grabbed my keys and added to the thought, “It sounds like someone is trying to break the door down.”

Which is exactly what it was.

I was on the stairs facing the door when I realised that someone was trying to smash it down with a crowbar or hammer. I ran down the stairs, paused, then tapped at the glass in the door. How English of me. My attitude was half white cold shock and half, “Um, excuse me, sorry to bother you, but I know you thought everyone was but I am still in.” The man was dressed in all black: black leather jacket, black leather trousers, and a shiny black motorcycle helmet with a black visor which he wore down. The visor and the helmet somehow made it worse. I suddenly felt incredibly vulnerable. I am a small person. I felt my smallness and my breakable body, how easy I’d be to crush by a healthy angry man with a hammer.

He looked at me through his black visor – then ran.

He ran, and I ran into the living room to follow him (partly to see anything to report to the police but also there was this new urge: I wanted to get him). As he ran he tugged as his black jacket and flashed his neck. White. He got on a black motorbike, with the licence plate facing me. I said the numbers and the letters out loud, over and over. My heart was pounding and even though I thought I was calm I realised I couldn’t talk properly, let alone think or remember. I was all shakes and stutters.

My god I wish I had a pen.

He drove off.

I sat down to ring the police. I hesitated. I had a strange urge to cry. It felt strange to want to cry. It felt strange to be shaken. I had just woken up, and didn’t know what to feel. I didn’t know what emotion you should have in a situation like this. I settled on annoyance and thought, “This is not my usual routine at all, I haven’t even had my water yet” as I dialled the emergency number.

The operator asked me a lot of questions, including several times about how I knew it wasn’t simply an enthusiastic friend paying a visit. Eventually she asked, “Can you have a look at the door to see if there is any damage?”
“Okay,” I said. “I have to leave the phone here, it’s attached to the wall.” I suddenly felt very alone.
I unlocked the door and had a look, expecting a few dents. He’d taken the entire front of the lock off. I immediately burst into tears. What if he’d got in?

The police came a few hours later. They were really good and said I did the right thing. At the back of my mind a friend told me a someone on her road had been stabbed through the letterbox doing what I just did.

But that wasn’t me. I was okay. That evening when everyone was home again and the door had been fixed, it felt like the events had happened a week ago. Maybe longer. When my parents went to bed I ran a bath and got in. That’s when I started having flashbacks. The police said that if people have a reaction, they tend to react a day later or after they think they’re okay. Then the body sounds an alarm.

At the same time I was having flashbacks, I heard drilling. Drilling at one o’clock in the morning is obviously unusual, so of course I thought it was the door. I got out of the bath with shampoo still on my hair, reached the stairs and peered down at the door. Nothing. Probably students. Yes, it must be students. Only they would drill at stupid o’clock. It is students, I am sure. I got back in the bath but began to shake uncontrollably, and the drilling kept on. I seriously doubt that it is students. I quickly rinsed my hair, pulled the plug and went downstairs again.

The drilling was louder downstairs and sounded like it was coming from the other door, the back door in the kitchen. I froze. It was dark outside and I couldn’t see through the windows. I thought, he could be back. The biker. The biker with a drill and with a crowbar. I slowly unfroze and quickly crept to the door. (At this point most people might turn back and go and get help from their family, but more than worrying about burglars I apparently worry about bothering people.) The closer I got to the door the louder the drilling became.

I looked across at the kitchen counter. The fucking coffee machine had turned itself on and was “drilling” coffee beans. That’s when I had the panic attack.

When I’d calmed down a bit I phoned Im. Im is Muslim and, because of sleeping difficulties, sometimes stays up all night until after morning prayers. Luckily for me that night was one of those nights. He was amazing, actually. We were on the phone for two hours at least (the first part I was mostly quiet and gulping for breath while he told me about some comedy sketches he’s been jotting down about Gujaratis and his family).

I’m mostly okay now, but I still… well, it was just a few days ago and it was a shock, and I was all alone.

I do think this goal, by putting me in touch with friends and friendly acquaintances, gave me a bit of padding.

I was actually very lucky on that day. No one was hurt or burgled, and hopefully he will have had a fright too. I just hope they catch him. 1 week ago


This is an amazing achievement. Congratulations! 2 weeks ago

starstuffWeek 14

What has been the theme for the week?

Sleepy, sleepy, so sleepy… WHAM! That is the theme.

Good gods, everything was plodding along at a drowsy pace and now I have reached a ledge and am wondering whether to jump or not jump. While I was at Joe’s house we started looking at properties again, not fully with the intention that we’d move out but just to see what was out there. We found a place, had a look round and… and we really liked it.

It is scary! I don’t know if it is possible, and the sheep inside of me wants to lie down until the opportunity passes. Moving out is a risk, but not moving out is also a risk. It might not work out if we moved to this new place, but living in our current places isn’t working out either. I feel like an old child. A child in her 40s whose life is passing her by. At least moving out would start something.

I am exhausted to confusion. I don’t even know how to make a decision.

Which goals have been the easiest to complete, or have gone well?

My routine has fallen to bits. The things that have gone well are a certain exercise I do for my calf muscles, and the novel goal to phone someone new every day for a week is going excellently. The phone call goal is tough (I am in bed almost all day building up to it), so it is double… you know, double hard and double thumbs up.

When I was little and at school, and I was one of the worst in the class at multiplication and sat at my desk when everyone else had finished and could play. When I got something right the teacher would give me double thumbs up like we were mates. He never gave double thumbs up to anyone else and I’d just feel brilliant.

Which goals have been the hardest to complete?

As I said: the routine is in bits. I am so sleepy, in a bone tired way that is painful and impossible to explain if you have never had it. Because my sleep is out of kilter I haven’t taken my medication on time for two weeks and most of my exercise goals have slipped. Having such low stamina makes me realise how even very simple goals – like drinking three litres a day – are negatively affected if I need to push myself even slightly.

Points of procrastination:

Until my energy levels are back to “normal” it is impossible to tell what is procrastination and what is simply not happening.

Focus April: Moving out (eek), pacing, sending off the scrapbook

I completed one out of my three focuses last month, which was to see Joe. I caught tonsillitis towards the end of my visit and ended up staying an extra week. After the worst bit, it was the best virus I’ve ever had.

My other two goals for March were to phone friends more regularly, and to work towards nominating my grandmother for an award. I didn’t factor in that I’d be preoccupied at Joe’s house when I set the friendship goal, but I am definitely catching up with that this week in my phone call challenge (double thumbs up).

The main focus this month has suddenly become moving out. It isn’t something I thought I would have to seriously think about for a few months at least. There’s not much I can say about that other than I need to think and talk…

I really need to look after myself through this time, though. Mental activity has the same effect as physical exertion. You can end up completely overwhelmed.

Other thoughts:


What to focus on next week?
Picking a couple of pictures for the scrapbook, and gluing the pages in.


I am lucky because such a scary opportunity is even possible for me. I am lucky because I have a place like this to come and write through my thoughts. I am lucky because I live in a country where carers are provided so people like me can even think about moving out.


I am really, really grateful for the support of my parents. I am grateful for the support of Joe’s parents, both to have their backing in potentially moving out and also for cooking and generally looking after me when I stay. I am grateful for the people who read these entries and make me feel heard. I am grateful for the phone calls with my friends. 2 weeks ago

starstuffYou helped me when I was down

I just want to say thank you to everyone who replied or cheered the stressful entry I wrote about my family. I really did feel supported, and you did make a difference. You helped me begin to move on.

It is quite an amazing community we’ve built here. (Don’t let anyone tell you that internet-based friendships don’t affect or change anyone’s “real” life.) 2 weeks ago


Tonight I rang eight people. One of whom picked up to say that they couldn’t talk. I loaded up 43Things to say something about how last time I did this goal I realised it was all about the attempt. It is a success even if no one picks up. So long as I do my part, that’s what matters.

Then I realised: Facebook. Facebook! Facebook can help me! I wrote, “Who is awake and would like to chat on the phone for 10-30 minutes?” I had a sense that most of my friends wouldn’t reply, and it would probably be someone completely random. If anyone replied at all it’d be someone who I hardly knew.

I was right: a few minutes later a friend of a good friend commented saying, “I am and I would!” and messaged me a number.

This goal was something I did for the first time three years ago, and this is exactly why it was one of my favourite challenges to complete. It requires that you keep putting yourself out there, seeking the friendliness in the world. It makes me feel persistent; stronger, and not a quitter.

Despite being much more ill this week I feel as though I have had a little adventure. 2 weeks ago

starstuffTwo down

Apparently my week starts on a Wednesday. And why not?

After phoning the first friend I made a list of six other people to phone over the remaining six days. Some of the people I have talked to before, while a couple will be totally new voices (people I have met through mutual friends on Facebook). It’s day two and I thought I had sleepied my way through the day (not slept, just sleepied) without success. I texted one of the new voices and she replied saying she was “faffing with pills” and looking for a lost slipper “like a princess.” (Or something like that.)

I phoned her half an hour later and said, “Hello, is that Cinderella?”
“Yes, this is Cinderella speaking.”

She was fantastic. I really hope we become regular phone pals. 2 weeks ago



Mr. Swale, that is a great idea. I hadn’t heard of that website before. A lot of things on Ebay go for 99p, where as on Music Magpie they go for over a pound each (and you don’t have to pay 10-20% to the vendor). They are picky in what they will take though. For example, you have to pick what type of garment you have and then the brand, but the brand changes depending on what garment you have. They might like Zara skirts but they don’t have any option for Zara dresses, for example. I’ll use this to whittle what I have down and sell the rest on Ebay.

That is a really useful suggestion, thank you! 3 weeks ago

starstuffProbably Pennies

I was going to say, “This is one of those goals that would be so much easier to do if I were healthy.” Then I realised that all goals are one of those goals.

I am really procrastinating on this though because I don’t want to inconvenience other people by making them trek to the post office with my stuff. Today I went round my room with a box and found 50 items (clothes, books, CDs, DVDs) that I’d be happy to sell. Part of me wants to send it all to Oxfam, while another part keenly reminds me that if I move out my bank balance will swoop to £0 over night. My old stuff is a resource I could use. It wouldn’t make much money, but I don’t want to waste it either.

Everything seems more stressful when you’re stressed. 3 weeks ago


I can’t wait to see a picture of it once it’s done… if you’re posting one, that is :)

And congratulations on your divorce! 1 month ago


You’re an incredibly caring and sensitive person, I know you’ll be a good sister too. I hope she is able to tell the rest of the family about her problems, though. It is quite a lot for you to carry on your own.

I hope weaning her off the medication goes well… gosh, it must bring a lot of mixed feelings if she’s been on them so long. 1 month ago


You are both kind and sensible. I hope when you comfort your friends in real life you bring actual baby bunnies to give them. You’d be a comforting hero, a Mary Poppins-like being.

Seriously though, I really appreciate what you said. I can’t hear what you said enough. 1 month ago

starstuffWeek 9

I started this log in a private document on my laptop. It dwindled after about week three, but I’d like to keep up with it. Maybe 43Things can lend it some energy.

For ease of copying and pasting, these are the questions I want to reflect on:

What has been the theme for the week?
Which goals have been the easiest to complete, or have gone well?
Which goals have been the hardest to complete?
Points of procrastination:
Other thoughts:
What to focus on next week?
I am lucky because…

I had a similar goal when I first started 43Things, but it turned into waffle and became enjoyably and confusingly aimless. This time I want it to be aimful: it should help me with pacing and keep in mind long term goals, and attempt to set a theme and focus for the coming month.

March: See Joe, work towards nominating June for an award, and phone friends more regularly.

What has been the theme for the week?

I’ve been working on and fussing over the surprise for my friend. It has taken a lot of energy and preoccupation. It was very exciting when people finally started sending contributions (it was more than I get through the post at Christmas), but at the end of the week I ended up getting ill and depressed. I feel really down in the dumps. I hope I get enough of myself back to enjoy it once it is done and ready to go.

Which goals have been the easiest to complete, or have gone well?

I’ve started using To Doist again, for ticking off basic goals like taking medication and so on. I guess it has been a sign of how ill I am that the basic things have begun to slide, such as sticking with the three litres of water. However, I have been keeping up the core exercises. Maybe it’s the depression or maybe I am getting used to it, but I don’t feel so hasty about this goal anymore (a positive thing). I have increased the time for one of the exercises, which is good. I’ve also been reading more.

Which goals have been the hardest to complete?

Stretching, and phoning friends. I really want to talk to people but feel drained of energy physically and emotionally.

Points of procrastination:

When someone sends me a message that is really thoughtful and means a lot to me, I always procrastinate on replying to them. I feel bad about doing that and am working on being more pro-active.

Mid- and long-term goal progress report:

I joined a website called Lang8 after my friend told me how it has helped her learn Korean. She said her first entry was something like, “Hello! I like pizza! I want pizza!” and showed me her most recent one. Paragraphs of solid Korean. On Lang8, native speakers read what you’ve written and correct it – sentence by sentence – and give you hints and tips and stuff. It’s really good. I made a list of things I could write about in French, and realised that my input far exceeds my output. I can take in French sentences, but creating them is another matter.

I’m going to use this website to revive the old goal of writing something in French everyday for three weeks. It is a good opportunity.

Other thoughts:

I just don’t know how to do my body. I keep thinking about that. I don’t know how to do my life.

What to focus on next week?

I am hopefully getting a haircut, the first in… hmm, at least 6 months, probably closer to a year. Then I need to finish the scrapbook if I can, and pack to go to Joe’s house. I haven’t seen him since September! That is a light in the tunnel. If I don’t finish the scrapbook (the surprise for the friend), then I will finish it when I get back.

I am lucky because…

When I get really down, I remember an image I found on Pinterest emblazoned with the words, “The things you take for granted someone else is praying for.”

I am lucky because I have food and heating, and I have loads of hair for the hairdresser to cut off. I am lucky because I have Joe as my boyfriend.


I am grateful for Chloe for telling me about Lang8, and to my mum for buying me new jeans as a surprise to cheer me up. I am grateful to my dad for saying he’ll drive me to Joe’s house, and for all my friends who leave me the kindest messages to help me feel better. I am also grateful to the people who contributed to the scrapbook, and allowing me to do this thing for my friend. 1 month ago

starstuff(((Thank you)))

That’s really kind of you to say. 1 month ago


Also, it is not your job to accommodate him after this. Your feelings are valid. He cheated on you and then threatened you about taking you to court, trying to beat you down. If he wants to do right by the baby he has to do right by you too: you and your little one are a package. Don’t let him try to convince you otherwise. If he loves her he needs to show you respect, he needs to take responsibility for his actions.

He is trying to manipulate you by trying to make you be the reasonable one. He cheats and YOU get told, “Be civil, the baby needs both her parents.” Thanks a lot.

If he can’t match you in maturity and respect then it is highly doubtful that healthy boundaries can be established. You need to do your bit (which includes putting yourself first sometimes), but he needs to meet you halfway. 1 month ago


Fuck, the sister has no right to tell you to be civil. He didn’t only cheat on you, he cheated on the baby as well. 1 month ago


That’s an interesting observation. There are many kinds of intelligences, but people can be surprisingly cynical about intellectuals. High intellectual ability is often viewed as something that is elitist and corrupts innocence, or as something that spoils wonder and reduces empathy. Hence why so many super villains are also super brains I suppose.

There’s an author called Susan Jacoby who I’ve heard on various podcasts talking about modern anti-intellectualism that you might find interesting. She’s on YouTube here, if you want to have a look.

I like your smartness. You are one of my favourite writers on this site because of how smart you are and how you analyse what goes on around you.

Don’t forget Beast. He was smart and huge and gentle. 1 month ago

starstuff 1 month ago

starstuff 3 months ago

starstuffThank you

It’s funny how much certain sentences are needed. I needed to hear that: I do know that I know he is wrong. What he said was ludicrous and hurtful, and brought up a lot of mixed feelings. I knew he was wrong and yet worried he was right, or something would happen and I’d feel blamed (even if no one said it).

And you’re right again about how my mum deals with her health and stress is up to her.

Yesterday I found out I won the benefit appeal, which is fantastic but my mum’s reaction unnerved me. She said she was so relieved because now I don’t have to rush into anything and “don’t have to make the wrong decision.” (Whatever that means.) No matter how likely it was that I’d win (very), or that there were other options if I didn’t, she was locked into her stress and couldn’t hear what anyone said to her about this (especially with her husband affirming her anxieties). Hopefully she’ll be able to relax a bit now and look after herself, and I’ll get a bit of space too. It’s just really shaken my trust in the both of them, as if they see me as a stupid, naughty and disappointing child. 1 month ago


Luckily I have a trip to see my boyfriend planned in two weeks. Hopefully I will be able to detox while I’m there! 1 month ago

starstuffThank you


Your sympathy and understanding gives me strength. 1 month ago


Especially my family. I need to stop caring what other people think of me, especially my family. Some people it is very much worth caring what they think of you: if you are safe in their eyes you can climb higher and transcend yourself.

Last summer, my mum and her husband decided I should move out and live in a small apartment they’d found in a village. I’d never been to this village and had expressed (in response to hints) that I didn’t want to move there, especially as I wanted to move out with my boyfriend (I am 26 after all). One evening they sat me down and said how strongly they felt about me moving to this place, that it was perfect and that I was making a big mistake not going. I said I would be willing to look but I needed to talk it over with Joe because we’d agreed we wanted to live together. The husband began rolling his eyes and shouting. He said several times, “It is pathetic that a 26 year-old needs permission from her boyfriend.” He eventually yelled, “I AM NOT HAVING YOU GIVING YOUR MUM ANOTHER HEART ATTACK.” Which was a brutal thing to say (the stress of her heart attack was the thing that triggered me to relapse, something I still haven’t recovered from).

More things happened that I won’t go into here.

Months later, and they are still very keen on me moving out. The whole thing makes me feel very weak and ill and unempowered. When I added the goal Move out to my list, it was a radical and exciting thing to do. Now it just… isn’t.

A couple of weeks ago my mum started emailing me, my boyfriend, my dad, and my boyfriend’s parents about us moving out again. After a few exchanges, Joe decides to put his feelings out there about what has happened in an attempt to be open and move forward (his dad proof read the email and said it was a good idea to send). My family don’t talk about feelings and work through problems like that. My family use feelings as weapons. They were flabbergasted by his email. In an attempt to stick up for him I said, “The village conversation really had a strong impact on us.”
The husband starts rolling his eyes again and said, “We were SUGGESTING. We were just making a SUGGESTION.”
I said, “He wasn’t trying to upset you. He didn’t say anything maliciously.”
He said, “How can you say that? Can you imagine if I said that to your mum’s mum? I wouldn’t even say it! I’d apologise immediately! He should apologise immediately!”

The conversation continues, and eventually I had the courage to go back to the village conversation and remind him of what he said to me about my mum. (At this point I had to look away from his face completely as he was rolling his eyes over and over and snarling with his tongue in his lower lip.) As painful as it was I had been giving him the benefit of the doubt and said, “You were shouting so maybe you didn’t mean to say it or realise what you’d said…”
He cut me off and said, “You ARE going to give her a heart attack again if you continue like this. I’d appreciate it if you stopped trying to make everything more stressful OR YOU WILL GIVE HER A HEART ATTACK.”

He shouted it a few more times.

I can’t sleep for thinking about it. I lie awake and it goes round and round my head. I worry about her. I worry she’ll get ill or die. I feel so worthless. The worst thing about what he said is that I can’t even answer back. My mum lets him say these things and was annoyed with me that I was upset. (I don’t know if she agrees with him or just enjoys him being passionate about her.)

He says these things (or she becomes intensely annoyed with me) and then they both say, “You get so upset, we can’t tell you anything.” Then they get more stressed. The last time I asked her about houses I walked into the front room where she was sat on the sofa and said, “I was just wondering what you had in mind about the money.” She snapped and said, “Do you think I go scheming behind you back or something!?” I said no, I didn’t mean it like that, I just wanted to know what she thought. She ranted for a bit and I said, “I wasn’t accusing you of anything,” to which she replied, “You come in here asking me these question and then start accusing me of feeling accused!” She went on for almost fifteen minutes this way about how upset she was. I could feel my throat closing. By the time she asked me what was wrong with me, my throat was too tight to answer. “We can’t ask you about anything,” she said, “YOU get upset? Why don’t you think about how I feel?”

Look, I do love my mum. I love her a lot, but it is so much harder being ill and dealing with these dysfunctions (I don’t mean that personally: these are just dysfunctional behaviours).

My mum told me tonight that she had some negative blood test results. Immediately I just wanted to keel over and go to sleep. I started writing an email to her husband in my head. I can’t imagine ever confronting him about it realistically, so I could only imagine the end of the email (which I wrote down and have pasted below). I’m not going to send it.

I previously had decided not to show any of this on 43 Things, but I just can’t deal with it on my own anymore.

I am not writing this email for an apology. I don’t think you would apologise and would instead write back with excuses and justifications, but even if you did apologise I would not forgive you.

I don’t forgive you for saying something that cruel.

I don’t forgive you for being so protective that you would choose to escalate the stress and take it out on me.

I don’t forgive you for planting those unfair ideas in my head.

I don’t forgive you for planting those ideas in my mum’s head, and for making her (and me) fear for the worse.

I don’t forgive you for the disrespect you showed me, for repeatedly rolling your eyes as if it were clever and as if I were so far below you.

I don’t forgive you for putting my mum in the middle, and using her as a shield so that I can’t stand up for myself. You might be willing to put her in the firing line but I am not. You either know that I am not (which is why you do it to manipulate the situation and get power over me) or you know that if I did stand up for myself I’d have to go through her, which you would not tolerate (which, again, is manipulative, dishonest, and cowardly).

I don’t forgive you because I do not deserve to be treated in that way.

I don’t forgive you because you escalate the stress phenomenally while pretending not to, and you have the audacity to blame me.

Finally, I don’t forgive you because we can’t talk openly and honestly about any of this. You are a genuine threat to my health (as well as hers) and any attempt to talk to you (and your rolling eyes) isn’t even worth it. The boundaries in our relationship are so poor that forgiveness would be meaningless in this situation. I believe any apology from you would be a politician’s apology: it would be attached to so many strings and you would find a way to come out on top.

Whenever I picture your face now, I always picture it with rolling eyes or your tongue thrust in your bottom lip and your nose in a snarl. You don’t respect me, but at least respect my mum enough to take a long look at yourself and think about how you can support her rather than making things worse.

It is frankly unbelievable that you think that Joe telling you he doesn’t trust you is so terrible and yet you can sit there and think it perfectly fine to tell me (several times) that I am threatening my mum’s life. It is also typical of the way you think, however: that one standard exists for you and another for everybody else. Do you think it is any wonder that Joe might lack trust?

Don’t you dare think that you are the only one who cares, and don’t you dare imply that if something happens it is all on me: you are the one who shouts, you are the one who catastrophises, and you are the one who could calm her down rather than affirm her worst fears.

She thinks my dad and his wife are calm because they don’t care, and that worrying and panicking about someone is love. It is not very subtle the way you encourage her to feel powerless, so that you can step in and be the big manly hero.

I can hardly sleep for what you said, and she is getting worse. You have put that burden on me, and it makes me feel like shit. I can only assume that this is what you wanted because, despite what my heart might fear, my head knows what you said was irrational and designed to manipulate. 1 month ago

starstuff 3 months ago

starstuffThe Least Linear Things Ever

When I am especially low on energy, I have a tendency to come to 43Things and stare at my goals. It is either because I want to do things but can’t, or I’m checking to see if there is anything I have somehow accomplished while lying brain fogged in bed. “Do I speak French yet? Alors, non.”

During my goal to worry less, I counted this kind of behaviour as part of the worrying.

There is one goal I have made progress on though: that of being organised. Part of being organised means knowing how to pace and manage my energy. Six or more months ago I kept a list of goals that I wanted to achieve every day. Given my health, most of these goals are simple and probably wouldn’t make it onto most people’s list (e.g. washing yourself and other basic needs). Naturally I want to engage in my goals as much as any healthy person does, so my routine list started to get longer and rather stretched.

God damn it, I want to learn to play guitar and all that other stuff.

The last two weeks I have cut it right back. The first week I dropped all goals, and on the first day of the second week I made a short list of the things I could relaxedly do in a day: exercise, contact a friend, and read a bit of my book. For the rest of the week I stuck to just doing these things and nothing else. The idea is to add one extra activity a week and see how it goes…

Graded exercise was a big step in the right direction, but the problem with pacing is that there aren’t many objective measurements you can make, or really visual hints and tips. I am hopefully assuming that I wasn’t pacing very well before, in case I can learn to pace better and end up feeling better and eventually doing more. But what if I was already pacing as good as I could possibly be? Am I doing the thing? Is this the thing?

I wish real life was more like a video game and I could hit the targets and collect the coins and level up. A friend of mine shared a post on Tumblr that said something to the effect of, “Recovery is the least linear thing ever and anyone who tries to convince you otherwise needs to fuck off.”

I want to do the thing that makes it linear.

On the plus side I am on my way to becoming a cracking artist. 1 month ago

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