There are two main things I worry about unnecessarily. The first is my parenting decisions (especially the largely insignificant ones). The second is the wording of emails I send.
Last night I probably spent 3 hours wondering and/or researching whether refusing to give my son a bedtime snack when he said he was hungry was wrong. He’d had supper 15 minutes earlier. He seemed like he was stalling. But he hadn’t eaten much of his lunch and he didn’t have a big tea. So maybe he was really hungry. But it wasn’t going to kill him. But it might stop him sleeping well. But he was asleep now. But maybe it was bad quality sleep. But, worst case scenario, he might feel a bit tired tomorrow and he can have a big breakfast. But if I’d just given him a biscuit maybe this whole thing could have been avoided. But then I’d be wondering if the sugar in the biscuit was ruining his sleep. He couldn’t be actually hungry, he’d just had supper. But maybe he didn’t get enough calories throughout the day. Maybe I need to rethink my whole approach to preschooler sustenance. Oh shut up, he’s fine, give it a rest.
Then I woke up sometime around 3am and started thinking about how I was going to word an email I need to send today. Should I apologise for not sending it earlier? Because I really did mean to send it earlier. Or should I just explain why I didn’t send it earlier without apologising? Can’t always be apologising for everything, explaining is probably enough. How much detail should I go into in the explanation? Should I even explain at all or should I just ignore the fact I was going to send it earlier? As long as I send it now it doesn’t really matter, no point making a deal out of nothing. Should I outline everything I’ve done, or try to be as succinct as possible? I could save the details for the meeting. Should I estimate when I’ll be finished by or stick to where I’m up to so far? I’m going to have to estimate to schedule the meeting. Should I suggest a time for the meeting or wait to see what they suggest when they know where I’m up to? For the opening, should I include any details about my Christmas or should I just keep the niceties vague? IT’S NEARLY 4 IN THE MORNING AND YOU’VE BEEN WRITING AND REWRITING THIS EMAIL IN YOUR HEAD FOR MAYBE AN HOUR. WHAT IS EVEN THE POINT? IT’LL BE FINE, GIVE IT A FUCKING REST.
I’m not always neurotic, but when I am, I am it well.
I have a new fun thing to do before bed. I jog on the spot with my eyes closed and imagine I am running through beautiful scenery.
Maybe it’s the effects of lockdown, but for some reason I find it seriously enjoyable. It might even be better than the real thing, because it doesn’t involve all that much actual exertion.
I’m no stranger to visualisation and purposeful daydreaming, so I know I have a pretty well developed imaginative faculty. But I’ve surprised myself with how effective this is at exalting my mood. It’s truly exhilirating. Which part of me thinks must be lame. But who am I to judge?
Now if only I could solve the problem of losing my balance, or accidentally running across the room and coliding with my desk chair.
I ate something with soy in at the weekend. Soy is my own personal doomfruit. I know it’s not a fruit, but I feel like if a foodstuff is going to be prefixed with ‘doom’, it’s going to have to be a fruit. Although, okay, I will grant you, there’s something quite charming about a doom-legume.
Between six and forty-eight hours post-doomfruit-consumption, I begin to notice the onset of a pervasive dread descending. The physical telltales normally show up sooner, but I prefer to write them off under other explanations if possible. The doom-dread, though, is definitive.
I have built an arsenal of many coping strategies by this point, so the doom-dread comes in waves, and sometimes I fool myself into thinking I’m managing it fine and maybe soy doesn’t have the same effect on me as it used to, or maybe I was wrong all along and, despite the very substantial body of evidence to the contrary, eating soy is actually something I can start doing more regularly.
And then I realise I’m lowkey panicking that I’m never gonna have any money and my life will continue to be nothing but a long-drawn-out trudge across a field of desolation and lack. And I think, hold on, that’s a bit extreme, things aren’t that hopeless. And then I remember that I have two grand in my current account right now, and all of my bills have been paid, and all of my needs are met, and I’m totally comfortable, and my savings and investments are growing, and there’s no reason whatsoever not to be sitting here with a shit eating grin on my face. And then I think, fucking doomfruit!
Sometimes I look around my room at night, after I’ve put my son to bed, and partially ticked off my to-do list, and I assess the things I haven’t bothered to put away because they’ll just be out again tomorrow and I’d rather do something else. And I wonder: does anybody else live like this?
And, well, yes, surely, they do. And they live countless other ways too.
I have an ancient script running that tells me I’m the only imperfect one, and I have to keep correcting it. It’s taking a surprising amount of time to overwrite.
If I don’t leave the house for multiple days: does anybody else live like this?
If I only eat vegetables when I’m cooking them for my son: does anybody else live like this?
If I just kept piling up the laundry and now I’ve run out of trousers: does anybody else live like this?
If I forget to put the bin out for five weeks in a row: does anybody else live like this?
Yes, thank you, they do. And they live countless other ways too.
It’s not that it’s wrong to question whether what I’m doing is healthy, or optimal, or something to be improved upon. It’s the comparison that’s bullshit. It’s funny though, the script used to ask the question rhetorically, and shame me into a corner. Now I’ve started answering it, it’s actually kind of refreshing.
People live like this. And countless other ways.
I didn’t spend today doing the thing I had intended to do. The thing that was really set in stone as necessary to do today, I did very little of. I didn’t achieve my goal of completing it.
Instead, I got sidetracked catching up on the things I had been neglecting in the week. Mostly the intellectual self-care I require to maintain a sense of sanity. I got myself informed on the pressing topics that have been smashing up against my face but I haven’t had time to address. I expanded my understanding and made connections my brain had been clamouring to find. I gave myself space to think. Before I knew it, it was 8pm.
I don’t know how I should feel about the fact I veered off course today. Because I veered into something I needed, but I did it without a sense of control over it.
Because of my poor self-control, I nourished myself in a way I was theoretically willing to forgo, for the sake of my goal, but practically speaking would have probably hindered me in multiple ways.
Falling short of my schedule also forced me to re-evaluate my position, and realise that today’s deadline wasn’t as necessary as I thought, if I allowed my standards to drop a little. That may condemn me to the slope of a downward spiral, if not for the fact that my re-evaluation also flagged up the fact that I’d set my standards unnecessarily high. I’d been willing to sacrifice myself, frankly, without good enough reason.
I was not the master of myself today. But I’m still in conflict with myself over how much I should be. Sometimes I have bad ideas.