Post-Vacation Reflections

Welp, I did it. I went on vacation and survived. Everyone got along, we all had as much space as we wanted, and I got to enjoy having a largely unstructured week. The most frustrating part of the trip was that people would talk about doing something in the morning, I’d set an alarm accordingly (to ensure I was up and ready to go by the discussed time) and rarely was that true of anyone else. Which wasn’t really a big deal since I could just play video games or read or go for a walk or anything else I desired, so all things said and done, it was a pretty great trip. I do wish I came out of it feeling more rested, but I also didn’t spend more than an hour laying in bed, feeling super depressed before coming in to work this morning, so I think I benefited from the rest. Another week or two would have been better, but it would also have been better to have won the lottery, so I’m content with what I got.

Continue reading

Vacation Conjecture

Today is my first day back to my normal life following my vacation. I can only guess at how I feel right now, since I’m writing this two weeks prior in order to allow myself a break from daily blog updates during said vacation. The actual week I’m on vacation is going to be only flash fiction so I can avoid feeling guilty for not posting anything. I’ve spent a week in a distant cabin a few hours north of where I normally live, enjoying a getaway with two of my younger siblings and two of my friends (all of us made up my old Monday night D&D group back before I realized I needed to dial things back a little bit in 2021). Some of these people met each other in person for the first time while sharing a cabin with three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and probably just a little bit too little space for all five of us to be comfortable together. As someone who has lived alone for two years, I imagine it took a bit of getting used to for me and that I found great solace in the ability to just go for a walk or sit outside in the shade.

Continue reading

Managing Vacation Anxiety

As I begin the careful calculus of packing and planning for my vacation, I’ve started weighing the various options I have for types of entertainment to bring with me to this isolated cabin. I have so many options that are portable enough to consider bringing with that I’m concerned I might be packing more tabletop and video games than everything else put together. It has been a long time since I’ve done anything to relax that didn’t center being at my apartment for an extended period of time, so I’ll admit I’m overly anxious about how to adequately prepare for my vacation. To be entirely fair to myself, something bad has happened every single time I’ve taken more than one or two days off of work for the past two years, so these anxieties aren’t entirely unfounded. Since one of the main strategies for processing anxieties involves acknowledging the parts that are actually reasonable or at least reasonable-adjacent and then taking steps to mitigate them, I’m giving myself space to over-plan and over-pack.

Continue reading

Video Games: The Only Entertainment I’ll Let Frustrate Me Repeatedly

I’ve been getting back into a few games I started earlier this spring and thenfell off of either when new games came out or I hit intense periods of stress that drove me from new experiences to old comforts. I’ve never finished Pokémon Legends: Arceus or Horizon: Forbidden West, for example. I hit a point with both games, stopped playing, and never quite got around to playing either game again despite having enjoyed my time with them. The same is true of the new Pokémon Snap game. I got a ways into that, a new game came out, and I set it aside because it wasn’t a game that I could fall asleep to. That and getting up to change games in my Switch a whole bunch has never been fun when I’m trying to calm down for the evening.

Continue reading

The Slow, Onerous Grind of Change

(Another brief reminder that I write these a week ahead of time and while I hope nothing drastic has happened since I wrote this, it might not be an immediate reflection of the day it gets posted).

The past few days have been exhausting. Reeling from all of the expected but still devasting decisions by those sitting atop the judicial branch of the US government, I still had to go grocery shopping, clean my apartment, make myself meals, do laundry, and navigating a draining social situation that was one of my biggest anxieties which I’d been coping with by telling myself it would never happen. Because it’s not like my life grinds to a halt the instant something terrible happens in the world. I still need to pay bills, feed myself, maintain some kind of social connections, and take care of myself even when I’m trying to figure out how I can respond to the horrible things happening in the world around me.

Continue reading

Turns Out Writing These A Week Ahead Has Some Drawbacks

[I write all of these a week ahead of time and rarely have I felt so at-a-loss for how to shift this one to reflect the time between when I wrote this and when I edited it before it went up. For this post, I edited it on Friday and added a bunch of notes to reflect my mind frame a week later. All of those notes are in brackets like this one.]

In the first draft of this post, I wrote about feeling capable and like I’ll be able to manage everything I want to do this week without having to borrow from days later down the line or by sacrificing my well-being in the moment. I went on about it for a couple paragraphs before I realized that what I felt was “rested” and that what I was describing was just my first time in months starting the week without already being exhausted because a single weekend wasn’t enough recovery time from the stress of weeks past. As it turns out, this past weekend was exactly the recovery time I needed to finish resting up from the pair of stressful months I had (two months of days, not two months by the calendar) and now I finally feel ready for the week ahead. While it is possible that something stressful and exhausting could happen this week [which it totally did, since I write these a week ahead of time] since most of the stress and exhaustion of my past few months has been the unexpected nature of what has happened, I think I’ve finally gotten to a point where I have enough stored up resilience to bounce back from one bad thing [haha, NOPE].

Continue reading

I Have A Low Bar For What I’d Call A Peaceful Day

This has, so far, been the first week where nothing has happened by the end of Wednesday (please keep in mind this was written a week before it was posted). This will mean it is the first quiet week I’ve had in about a month and something I sorely needed after the tumultuous few weeks I’ve had immediately prior to this one. Not all of that time has been bad, of course. A lot of fun and/or good things happened during that period of time, but a lot of bad, unpleasant, and awful things also happened during that time period. It has just been a lot without much of a break for me to catch my breath. I couldn’t escape the constant happenings anywhere I went. Even the refuges I had built on Twitter for moments like this had been overrun by happenings. Long overdue happenings by the sound of it, happenings that I support wholeheartedly (for the most part, more than one thing happened after all), but still stuff that was a drain to encounter.

As I’m writing this blog post, it is the end of the third day since anything new happened to me. I’ve had no new issues to deal with, no new occasions to celebrate, no new happenings to work through, and none of the old stuff has reared its head anywhere beyond my anxiety. It has been quiet and I’ve had time to feel exhausted without worrying that I’m missing something vital. As boring as my days have been, this is exactly what I’ve needed. I even found an extra bottle of mouthwash when I thought I was entirely out of it, so even the small stuff has stayed incredibly uneventful.

As I write this, there is no noise in my apartment aside from the quiet whir of my fan, the distant gentle cheeps of my bird who is upset with me for walking past her without spending the rest of the time she’s awake interacting with her, the clack of my keyboard as I write, and the soft rumble of distant thunder as a series of heavy storms roll past to the north of me. I’m under a tornado watch, as is most of my state right now, a severe thunderstorm watch, and an incredibly enjoyable “watch the dark storm clouds roll in” watch. Given my history with storms, this is incredibly calming rather than worrisome and I’m looking forward to whatever tonight brings as the storm rages outside. It might be a tornado, which would be terrible, but there will definitely be plenty of rain, lightning, and thunder.

I don’t know what I’m going to do with the rest of my evening. My attempts to make plans met with no success, so I suspect I’ll be reading or playing video games by myself while listening to a backlog of podcasts. The exact activity will depend on whether or not I still have power of course. Even now, I’m actively saving my work every line or two since it looks like the kind of weather that steals your power away without warning. That would suck, since it is hot and humid as all get-out, but it would definitely make tonight a quiet night with no demands placed on my emotional energy. Unless, of course, my apartment gets wrecked by a tornado. The one exception to the hopefully peaceful night I have ahead of me.

Still, a tornado does one thing and there’s only one thing I can do about it, so it is a relatively simple situation to handle when you’ve studied weather patterns and lived in the Midwest as long as I have. Feels so much easier to hypothetically handle than a difficult conversation about why I chose to remove someone from a Dungeons and Dragons campaign or why I think we absolutely need strict gun laws in a way most pro-gun people around me don’t seem to comprehend given the way the second amendment to the US constitution has been misinterpreted for years. Even writing those out was exhausting.

I Struggle To Spend Money On Myself

For the first time in enough years that I can’t actually figure out exactly how long it has been, I’m taking a week off work at a time that isn’t the week between Christmas and New Year’s. For the first time in my life as an adult in the workforce, I’m taking a week off of work to go on a vacation. Even when I was still willing to endure the stress of my family to access the lakehouse every summer, I never managed to take a full week off. I always had to align the trip with a holiday and take only a part of the week off. But this time I’m actually leaving my home to go someplace I’ve never been before with no intention other than to relax and enjoy myself.

Continue reading

Rest May Be Productive (And Healthy), But I Earn Nothing Doing It

Over the past few years, I’ve observed a pattern in the way that I work and rest. Well, I’ve noticed a lot of patterns, but there is one in particular that I’ve been exploring more explicitly lately and want to write about today. When I have a lot to do and I’m either too stressed to do it or know I’ll need some extra time to get everything done, I take Fridays off of work. Even if it isn’t a personal vacation day but a federal holiday in the US, Friday days-off are always for being productive, getting things done, and making sure I’m prepared for whatever work needs doing. If I need to rest, if I need to actually recuperate, recover, and relax, I need a Monday without work. Mondays aren’t for rest in the same way that Fridays are for productivity, but they mean that I can spend my normal resting day (Sunday) without worrying about being ready for work the next day or combatting the urge to be productive.

Continue reading

Taking A Moment For Perspective

I was taking a break at work, sitting in my chair and mindlessly flipping between email accounts on my phone so I could feel like I got something done (clean out my email inboxes) without needing to really do much (all I really get are ads these days), because I was too exhausted to engage with even something as simple as a sudoku puzzle. After I ran out of inboxes to clean, I decided to text a friend a simple complaint about being exhausted and not knowing why, given that I’ve actually been getting decent sleep this week. As we talked and I went from that general statement to considering the specifics of my past few days, I realized that I should actually be very proud of myself for only being this exhausted. All of the stress of the last two months hasn’t actually gone away, I’ve just adjusted to carrying it and started getting enough sleep that I’m not so tired in the morning that I need to spend two hours convincing myself to get out of bed.

Continue reading