Tuesday, January 31, 2017

January in a great big nutshell

It occurred to me that, once I consciously set aside all the doom and gloom I was feeling even as they were happening, January’s good points might be worth writing about.

First on my resolutions:

  • I jumped through all the hoops necessary to volunteer for the day care and have been there three times now. It is fun but also feels like work, which is how I want it to feel. I do wonder whether I’m actually helping anyone. I know I take a bit of the load off the paid teachers, and yesterday I kept a climbing 2-year-old from falling on his head, but obviously the place would still be chugging along just fine without me.
  • Yoga has been amazing—I loved both the series I did and the discipline of doing it. I think daily yoga has graduated to habit-requiring-no-resolution status.
  • I did some tinkering and learning in Illustrator, but the pure drawing stuff doesn’t actually thrill me much. I may need to take the approach of getting excited about an idea first, and then learning about the tools I need for that specific thing.
  • For cold exposure, I did stuff like go out to the mailbox in shirtsleeves when it was -10 degrees, end showers with a bit of cool water, and take walks wearing slightly-less-than-adequate clothing. I’m tougher now and ready for something harder.

Some other stuff:

  • Mik had several swim meets in January, and I’m amazed at the progress he’s been making. It’s such a joy to have a child in a sport I understand so well. Of course, it’s also a joy to watch your child achieve goals in general, and Mik has pretty lofty goals.
  • Dex called to tell us he has a job—and not just a job, but the perfect job for him. I’m not sure I had appreciated until now how much seeing him happily starting off on his own life would absolutely and completely cancel out any regret we might have that he doesn’t live here anymore.
  • I have a new client who is paying me to do interior book design, which (for some reason) is my absolute favorite thing. When this is over, I am going to (professionally) beg her for referrals.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Rough month

I’m busy pondering my resolutions for February and also the fact that for my very sanity I really need to drop the rage and despair to the extent possible. January has been great in a lot of ways, but emotionally it SUUUUUCKED. I’m learning that, at the very least, I need to stay the heck away from the news and social media until I’ve accomplished everything I want to accomplish for the day.

On the other hand, in the hooray-for-Facebook column, I got online just now and one of my friends had posted this:
How can you respond to the evil you see around you? It's not so hard.
If you're a writer, write.
If you're a painter, paint.
If you're a dancer, dance.
If you don't know what you can do, pray.
I really think this is the attitude to adopt. And in fact it’s sort of what I’ve been moving toward. (How can editing help the revolution? Well, I’m not entirely sure, but I did tell this very fine organization recently that I would volunteer to edit materials for its very fine cause.)

Even a tiny bit of doing has to be better than 24/7 fretting, right?

Friday, January 20, 2017

Rage and despair

You’d think by now I’d be exhausted from all the rage and despair floating around, and I guess I am, but it also makes me feel like I’m part of something. The rage-and-despair people, like the Art Walk people and the farmers’ market people, are my people. My Twitter feed, for example, is curated to the point where I see 20 rage-and-despair tweets for every joke tweet about a garbage disposal or something, and I’ve come to prefer it that way.

Frankly, the people who aren’t outraged or despairing are the ones I can’t cope with right now.

Side note: I am trying hard not to turn into a generally angry person, but yesterday I got riled up over the phrase “cute tops” in an internet ad. (I realize that that requires explanation, so here it is: (a), I reject the sexist and infantilizing idea that women should wear things that are “cute,” (b) I reject that the definition of “cute” changes in order to sell us more crap, (c) I reject the widespread idea that fashionable clothes should be any kind of spending priority when there are literally starving people everywhere, and (d) that’s probably it, but the picture was annoying, too.)

Anyway, my people—and if you’re still with me after the “cute tops” rant, you definitely are— bonding over our shared fears is nice, but I hope a lot of us are also out in the world doing stuff. In my case, inauguration day was the day I chose to go get the immunizations I needed to volunteer at this day care center, which serves teen parents who want to continue their education. It should be satisfying and refreshing to go and rock babies or read to 2-year-olds for a couple of hours every week, but my intent is to do literally anything they tell me would be most helpful to them.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Dream journaling

At the library the other day I noticed and grabbed an interesting book on lucid dreaming—and M.H. read it, too. I wasn’t specifically looking to learn about or harness the power of dreaming, but that certainly aligns with my “imagination” goal for the year. Long story short: We have a new obsession.

One of the first suggestions is to start keeping a dream journal, which is a weird and fascinating exercise. One thing it does is help you remember your dreams in the first place—you work at it because you want to have something to write. I’ve found my dreams so far well worth remembering; one of them was so full of knock-you-over-the-head-obvious symbolism* that it made me laugh.

Anyway, I don’t know where this will lead or how long it will last, but I definitely bought into the idea that lucid dreaming can be fun and beneficial. I’ll let you know if I have any mind-blowing epiphanies.

* I was a passenger in a car with the creator of the diet I’ve been doing, and he was driving really well for a while. Then he started veering out of the lane and then off the road, and I had to reach over take the wheel.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Introvert logic

I just finished a series of loooong days to finish editing a book, but it’s all turned in now and I met the deadline. I’m feeling pretty good about myself, because I also managed to keep up with morning yoga (which is awesome), sign up for my local library’s 2017 reading challenge, and finish the first of the 52 books (it was OK).

I actually read more than 52 books last year, according to Goodreads, so it’s not so much a challenge to make myself read more as it is a challenge to make myself connect with other people who like to read. I am feeling right now like the world is full of dangerous greed, deliberate misinformation, racism, and Trump voters. So it can only improve my mood to forge some connection with book readers, which to me equates to “thinking people who are far less likely to have been Trump voters.”

I like to hang out at ArtWalk and the farmers’ market for the same reason. I can look around and think, Although I’m probably not going to talk to any of them, these are much more likely to be my people!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Resolutions for January 2017

It’s really nice to be making resolutions for the month and not the year—far more practical and far less overwhelming. Here they are:
  • Make the phone calls I need to make to get the ball rolling to be a volunteer for this local organization, which offers free childcare to teenage parents so that they can finish their education. I think it’s a great cause, and it seems like I’d be well-suited to the work, which as I understand it is basically just helping out with babies and preschoolers for whatever time I can spare. 
  • Enjoy some candlelight yoga first thing every morning through the month of January. I’m confident that this 31-day series launching January 1 will be just the thing.
  • Take a free Adobe Illustrator classhere’s one I found online that should be no problem to finish within a month. I was having fun designing T-shirts a few years ago and would like to revive my Spreadshirt shop, but with skills.
  • Play around with exposing myself to the cold. I’ve been reading a lot about the benefits of cold water, and cold exposure in general. (Here’s a recent thing I saw, or you could Google “Wim Hof” for an idea of what I’m talking about.) This resolution isn’t specific because I want to spend this month literally playing around with the idea and getting used to it, not muscling through some 31-day cold shower challenge.
And, yes, these roughly follow the Service, Heart, Imagination, Toughness framework, because that was actually a really good idea—although maybe I will make it Toughness, Heart, Imagination, Service. We’ll see what happens on the American political landscape.