There is a particular mental state that I rarely experience, that I don’t enjoy experiencing as much as I appreciate being in a situation where it happens. Specifically, it is when I am so unfocused that I wind up adding more media or minorly active tasks until I am literally incapable of interacting with anything additional. For instance, last night, I found myself watching Critical Role, playing Pokemon SoulSilver, and swapping between Twitter and Imgur on my phone, all while singing a song to myself that had been stuck in my head all day.
This particular mental state is the mental equivalent of that languid relaxation you feel after a good workout, when you’ve pushed yourself well but your body is used to it, so you can enjoy having pushed your capabilities without overexerting yourself. I did so very much that day, all without feeling horrible about it or pushing myself to the point of collapse, and was able to enjoy unwinding in a state of mild sensory overload that managed to not overload me because I wasn’t really engaging with any of it (I honestly can’t remember anything I saw or read last night and only know what I did in Pokemon because I can see the results of those labors).
This was the first time I’ve felt that in several years. I used to experience this sort of thing more often in high school and college, but in recent years it has become rare. I think the main reason is that instead of feeling worn out and just happily tired, I’ve just felt burnt out instead. The past eight years have been rough on me, forcing me up to and past the point of burnout countless times. Burnout has become almost my default mode of existence, the main feeling I experience from one day to another, as the ceaseless grind of work and the worsening political/economic landscape has slowly ground me down until I have to stop paying attention to the world around me every evening just so I can eventually fall asleep for six hours before waking up to do it all again. It has been hell, if I’m honest, and I’ve hated it.
So even though I was so busy yesterday that my feet are sore, my back aches, my mind is worn out and tired today, and I still have almost no time for breaks, sitting down, or rest today, I feel fulfilled. I feel good. Definitely not “good” in the cosmic, life-fulfillment, and happiness kind of way, but good in a “I have met my capabilities without exceeding them and found myself not only able to succeed, but able to excel.” Since the defining feeling I’ve had while at work has been “inadequate and incapable” for a while, due to a lot of factors I’m not going to go into right now (I think I already wrote about it and either posted it already or decided I didn’t want to share it), I will gladly exult in this moment of competence, excellence, and accomplishment.
That’s the thing about victories and making do in a difficult situation: you should note even the days where things are just fine and celebrate every accomplishment as you go. You’ve got to make as big of a deal out of the good and neutral days as your brain/mind makes out of the bad days and I fully intend to find a way to celebrate the fuck out of accomplishments this weekend. Maybe I’ll buy myself a new video game or a nice rug or the supplies I need to frame some art I’ve been waiting to put up. Whatever it is, I will be certain to attach as many “you deserve this” thoughts and feelings to it as my mind attaches “you deserve nothing, you failure” thoughts and feelings my mind attaches to every stumble and trial I’ve faced. After all, it’s only fair.