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.

Accidental wisdom

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.