Day 477: Pets!

Pets are weird.

Maybe I’ve talked about this before, but my wife and I were in bed with the cat a while ago and it occurred to us: there’s an animal that lives in our house. It doesn’t do anything, particularly. It’s just an animal. And if we hadn’t invited it in, we would be freaking out about it.

But there’s definitely science to it — pets are good for the brain.

It’s not directly relevant to the four pillars, but our cat has definitely been a help during the last week when I was in a down cycle. Having something that depends on you and is generally up for affectionate treatment is good for stress and good for the ol’ brainpan.


Day 476: Sunshine!

Feeling way better today, largely because yesterday was sunny for the first time in, I don’t know, probably 10 days. Sun is good!

My wife and I have been talking about spending a lot more time outdoors this summer, which is a great idea — one of the challenges of not owning a car is getting to local hiking places, though, as the cycling out to some of the conservation areas takes… let’s say a stout heart as you go past the highway onramps and people in unnecessary trucks who are in a massive hurry to get home and watch football.

Houseguests today, so keeping this short, but the quick update is sun and a fairly decent amount of sleep are doing a lot to turn the corner on this mood. I’ll have some ground to make up coming out of the funk, but it’s nice to be coming out of it.


Day 475: Family Time

A quick one because my folks are in town… its hard sometimes to know what to do with guests. I feel a compulsion to entertain, which is hard to fulfill when somebody’s interests are pretty divergent from your own.

So I’m going to be doing some quick research this morning to see what’s up around town today, and setting up some sort of activity this afternoon.

I think there’s a generational shift at some point, probably facilitated by ease of transport and ease of communication, where in the past visiting people was an EVENT, and one dropped everything and prepared a programme of activities and hoops with sticks and all that. In my middle-aged generation, things seem a lot more casual — we show up, we hang out, but there isn’t any kind of pressure to Entertain, just to be available if the visitors want to do stuff, or get together for dinner and offer a crash pad if they have their own agenda.

So it’s going to be a bit of a day today; exercise will be tomorrow morning rather than this morning. Food should be fine, sleep was actually pretty good last night, and sobriety is going well overall.

Day 474: The Uses of Downtime

I feel like I’m on the journey back up from the Valley of Meh — fingers are crossed but I’m not trying to get overconfident.

As mentioned previously and often, I’m on a track where I’m knocking out a few pretty major volunteer things right now. One is pretty much done, the other is an ongoing project that’ll take me into the summer and possibly beyond.

It’s all good, and it’s nice to see thing moving in an arc that ends with me able to try some new things by, ideally, midsummer. Hard to guarantee these things for myself, obviously, but good to think that I might have those opportunities.

One of the benefits of a week or so of feeling run down is I’ve committed, with my wife, to getting out of town. Just for day trips here and there in the summer, but it’s a smart move and I’m glad I’m doing it. I think changes of scenery are good, and if we can’t afford the time or money for a “real” vacation, quick escapes are the next best thing.

I hope I’m pretty much through this cyclical bout of downtime, but it does have its uses. I’m really re-evaluating what I want and don’t want to do from a more honest place than I can when I’m feeling up. Looking at what you’ve committed to and what you really feel committed to is something that has to be done at an ebb, because when you’re in flow, everything just feels like it’s doable and great.


Day 473: Staying Focused

It’s been challenging to stay on track this week — in fact, I think I can assert that I’ve been off-track with food, more or less okay with exercise. Sobriety has kind of gotten into my bones: I’ve been having a pretty flat/low week emotionally, but I haven’t even thought about drinking. It’s just coming up now because I was mentally running through the four pillars of exercise, food, sobriety and sleep.

It’s good to remind myself that this is periodic and cyclical, and one of the costs of being “up” and energetic most of the time is that I do hit these lulls.  It’s also kind of comforting to remember that. I don’t recall the last time I hit this kind of blah period — I feel like it was last November/December — but if the price to pay for being, well, me most of the time is being a little bit of a reduced me for a week or so periodically, I’m happy to pay it.

I’m choosing to look at this as a “charge cycle” rather than “something is wrong.” I run at 110% a lot of the time — I think I overachieve as a routine thing — so periodic drops down to, I don’t know, 60-70% are probably necessary.

At any rate, I’m in “ride this out” mode. Exercise was good this morning, and I’m feeling I think a little less meh than yesterday, so hopefully I’m turning the corner on this thing.

50% “ride it out,” 50% “fake it til you make it” — method acting also helps. If I can make myself act cheerful, I usually wind up feeling a bit more cheerful as well. So I’m’a grab a cup of joe and head briskly to work — seeming upbeat is often the key to feeling more upbeat.


Day 472: Goddamn Flat Week

I’m still flat! I’m sick of it!

Maybe if I get angry enough about feeling flat I’ll stop feeling flat and just feel angry. And then I can deal with it!

Lackluster everything today — diet not great yesterday, meh exercise this morning. I know I go through cycles, and powering through this particular cycle of meh is definitely something that’s happening right now.

Framing this as an experiment might help — the problem is I don’t feel motivated to experiment. I just don’t feel motivated! I’m unmotivated! I’m flat! Just flat.

So let’s see what another day of flatness does for me — track the food, see if I can get a walk in at lunch to make up for blah exercise, and try to actually hit it hard with exercise tomorrow to see if I can adrenaline myself out of a funk.

What I don’t want is to come out of flatland and be set way back and be frustrated. Gotta walk myself through this with minimal harm…


Day 471: Flat Week

I think it’s time to admit that I’m a bit… flat this week. Not down, precisely; my mood is okay, but flat. It’s kind of hard to describe. I’m normally pretty upbeat; I think my default state is generally sort of pleased with things. It’s nice. It’s not always easy to understand or deal with people whose default state is displeased with things, but I’d rather be me than them.

So I’m not feeling low, I’m not depressed, I’m not sad. I’m just not up, which is a bit abnormal. It’s hard to push yourself when you’re feeling flat, though. When you’re sad or pissed off that’s actually kind of motivating. Not feeling much of anything just kind of leaves you, well, not driven.

I’ve just spent the last few minutes dithering on the Internet — time to revisit some old motivational stuff, I guess — I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul. No matter where you go, there you are. Hm. That actually helped a bit.


Day 470: Circuit Training is Hard

I’ve been less than great with food (not terrible, just not great) over the last week, for varied reasons, but Mondays are good Fresh Start days.

This circuit training stuff started kind of hard but it is now officially The Business: 18 minute circuits, halfway through the month; we’re supposed to be finishing the month at 26 minutes, and frankly, I am not looking forward to it. I’m a bit anxious! This is real hard right now!

Next month my wife wants to do Plank Challenge, where you plank for 10 seconds at the beginning and work your way up to 5 minutes by the end of the month. I’m already okay at planking but I’m a bit nervous abut the circuit training stuff.

Specifically, what happens when I stop?

I’m working my way up to these beastly almost half-hour circuit things with weights and ab work and squats and all that, it’s this monthly challenge, and then at the end I’m’a… stop?

Just stop?

I mean, I guess I could keep doing the circuit stuff, but I like other exercise too…

I never thought of this before I started the circuit training thing. Is it a lifestyle now? Is this who I will be? Hm.


Day 469: Bonkers Winter Weather

It’s hilarious that yesterday’s post about spring being on its way is immediately followed by a post about it being a frozen hell outside.

It’s a frozen hell outside.

Straight up crazy ice storm last night; we’re frozen in today, because I’m not going outside or any reason, if I can avoid it. In fact, I’m’a get a little more sleep after I record this. And then… Sunday!

Candle’s been burning pretty hard at both ends, so I’m okay with a food-project-relaxy kind of day. I’m looking forward to it.


Day 468: Spring is springing!

Spring is on its way — we seem to be in the last throes of weird, wild winteresque weather this weekend. Alliteration!

This is going to mean a bit of realignment, as my wife and I have been TALKING BIG about what we’re going to do with our yard and garden this year, all winter. Now that the ground is thawing, we need to put our asses in a position to cash the cheques that our mouths have written, which is not a phrase that works backwards.

Among the challenges: over the winter Indoor Season I have filled my dance card with Indoor Things. Lots of Internet-related computery tasks. Now that activity is potentially moving outdoors, I need to start thinking about de-committing from Computer Things and re-committing to Outdoor Things.

One of the pressing questions is “is gardening exercise?” That would be an easy way to slot things in. Go out at 5 a.m. with a shovel and start digging up the old crap. Terrify the neighbours.

At any rate — winter is ending, finally, and now that spring is on its way there’s more to think about than just running more. I have to start moving some of my indoor activity outdoors.