Dull the shine

In the garden centre today I saw they were hiring and I thought ooh, maybe I should apply, maybe they’ll have some hours that fit around my current job but don’t cut into Makaloo time, and I thought about what a nice time I’d surely have working at the garden centre. And then I started working out just how many hours I could squeeze in, and what kind of rota I could accommodate, and how I could rejig my responsibilities to make more space for my imaginary job at the garden centre. I don’t know why I do this. The best object is always the shiny object, apparently. Every emergent possibility is the most compelling. I have more or less learned not to follow the instinct to chase these possibilities, but I still waste an inordinate amount of time excitedly considering them.

Working at the garden centre would absolutely not fit into my life, or take me in any direction I want to go. I’d be stressed out, smothered under a pile of dirty dishes, and I’d spend all the extra money on plants. If I had a few dozen avatars, it might make sense for one of them to work at the garden centre, because I like it there. But I don’t have a few dozen avatars, or even a couple, so I should really fix my gaze on the things I actually want, in this single life that I have the privilege of living. I have three active endeavours right now, and three is altogether too many. I can’t feasibly make it less, but I certainly shouldn’t be trying to make it more.

What must it be like for one’s deires to be immutable?

I can’t say for certain that mine aren’t, actually, it’s just that they are so profuse I routinely forget the order of them.

Turbulence

There have been a lot of shiny objects, pressing deadlines, conflicting priorities and disruptive forces these past couple of weeks.

Life is bigger than it has been for years, so it all seems right on track as an external manifestation of the inevitable resistance.

Certainly enough to rattle me. Enough for me to foresee the overheating of the systems. But the plane isn’t going down.

Wordgame: Armchair

A symbol of modern Western comfort.

We all live in a magical world. But there are different kinds of magic. Those of us lucky enough to sit in our armchairs every day if we like are inherently more subject to a certain, and altogether intoxicating, kind of magic. A magic of instant gratification, world at our fingertips, all our tiny wants fulfilled, delivered to our door. It’s positively glamourous. And so we are naturally mesmerised by it. Naturally inclined to…recline.

I have been sitting in my metaphorical armchair rather too often these past few months. I’ve barely gotten out of it recently, if truth be told. I have known it, and I have been too apathetic to remedy it. Frankly, I have been enjoying it too much to quit. The magic show has been too compelling; too impressive. And I have been unwilling to tear my eyes away.

But the magic show is empty. It’s gloss and glitter in the cracks. It doesn’t touch any real part of me. It doesn’t nourish me.

It makes me feel safe, that’s for sure. But it doesn’t truly make my life any less precarious. It doesn’t change anything, in fact. It just lets me forget. It lets me relax. It lets me succumb. I don’t have to be strong when I’m watching the show. I don’t have to face the darkness. I don’t have to make any difficult decisions. I don’t have to live up to my potential. It’s all so very comfortable.

But I don’t want the life I’d have if I keep sitting in that comfy, cushioned, atrophy-inducing chair. I want a life of exercised power. I want to create my own sort of magic.

So go on then, Yve. Up with you.

Might as well remember it

I didn’t really like my last post. I didn’t think it was very good writing. In fact, the only parts I was fully on board with were the title and the last line.

To be fair to myself, I did write it while sitting in the Platinum Mall of the Metrocentre, surrounded by a steady stream of uneasy looking old men waiting for their wife to finish shopping and trying very hard not to accidentally make eye contact.

I really just posted it because I thought, fuck it, I wrote it now, might as well remember it. Nice concept, inadequately executed; better than un-executed, or so I’ve been told.

Glad we got that straight

I think if there’s something we can all agree on, it’s the fact that, Seth Godin, I am not. While he may have been the inspiration and impetus for this blog, and just an all round positive influence in my life, we don’t have a lot in common. I like to think it’s easier for him to blog daily, but maybe I’m just conning myself. Maybe it’s far less about privilege and personality and brain hardware, and far more about choices. The problem is, sometimes, we’re not making our choices as consciously as we think we are, and how much of that are we even in control of?

For a time, about a year ago, writing daily was easier for me than not writing daily. And not because I had something I needed to say, but because the process was important to me; the endeavour was important to me, and losing what I had built within myself was not worth any temporary gain to time or energy.

But then I did lose it, because I did have something I needed to say, and I was scared to say it, and so I let writing become more about the outcome than the process. And what I had built within myself was no longer factored into the question. I had forgotten.

I had a pet research interest while doing my masters – emotional interference. It’s not a particularly well-researched phenomenon and so naturally, before COVID descended, I was designing a study to explore it further. And then when COVID descended I designed a completely different study in a completely different area of not-well-researched phenomena. I have a suspicion that emotional interference is an important link between ’emotional dysregulation’ and ‘executive dysfunction’. Basically, you’re more likely to get distracted by something emotionally pertinent. You’re more likely to perform worse while distracted by something emotionally pertinent. If you feel things more strongly, or feel strong emotions more frequently, it stands to reason this will present more of a challenge to your focus and attention. Thus, understanding the emotional aspect may be key to managing the cognitive challenges.

I didn’t even notice I was making the choice to switch from process to outcome. If I’d noticed, I could have consciously reassessed. And I would have, because I’m good at that. But I didn’t see it at all. I was swept up in the preoccupation of the words I was keeping to myself. I was feeling things, and those things caught my gaze. I knew there was a problem – I wasn’t writing daily anymore. And I knew the problem came when there was something I needed to say. The thing I missed – because my attention was caught by the thing I needed to say – was that the thing I needed to say wasn’t the problem; it was just a distraction.

Sometimes the thing isn’t a problem to be solved; it’s just a distraction to be ignored.