Many days here in my Very Nice Life, I feel like I'm swimming upstream, just constantly trying to find the motivation to do the next thing. That makes it sound like I'm lying in bed, though. Ha! Almost never. I'm usually doing the previous thing. I am cleaning up mailing lists at work and replying to emails ("Sorry for the slow reply!" they all begin) and cleaning up toy trains and changing peed-on sheets and contemplating the fact that I might smell a little like pee myself. I am trying to help Dash through a difficult phase and trying to work through a difficult phase at work that has lasted longer than any easy phase, even though I Still Believe.
I complain the whole way, and then I apologize for complaining, and then I eat things I shouldn't, and too many of them.
In some ways, this feels like an economic/generational/life-phase issue that's bigger than all of us. In other ways, I think it's a mood thing and a self-care thing, and the solution is simple if not easily attainable.
I realized that a typical night for me goes something like this:
- 9:48 pm: Dash finally falls asleep.
- 10 pm: I climb in bed and eat snacks so I can stay awake long enough to unwind.
- 1:32 am: Dash wakes up from a bad dream, I stumble into his room and lug him back to bed with AK and me.
- 1:33 am-2:10 am: I look at my fucking phone. It tells me nothing helpful.
- 5 am: My alarm goes off because in my exhausted delusion the night before, I really thought I would get up at 5 am and write a memoir. I hit snooze.
- 5:55 am: I finally get up. Make coffee, set up my writing station under a blanket on Dash's old crib mattress in our office, look at my fucking phone.
- 6:12 am: I write literally two sentences.
- 6:23 am: Dash screams from our bedroom (even though he is laying right next to AK) "Mommmeeeee!" His voice is full of accusation.
- 6:24 am: I run in and begin my day, already behind. I won't get more than a half hour to myself until the weekend.
I have other tools, and when I'm feeling like the odds are stacked against me (against my mood, against my will power), this is important to remember. I have a great support network. I have legs and a good neighborhood for walking. We are not in a great place financially, but I can still afford fresh fruit and vegetables. We just hired an enthusiastic young person at work, who will eventually clean up some of the mailing lists that haunt me. I have a nice boss and coworkers. AK is rundown herself, but she makes sure I have time to write on Sundays, and her TLC of our yard keeps our house from looking abandoned. The lovely Ikea Writers' Collective doesn't get tired of my complaining. Books exist, not just my phone.
Anyway, the goals, starting this magical Monday morning:
- No coffee after 3 pm (allllll the coffee before; let's be realistic).
- Stop eating after 8 pm, for fuck's sake.
- Brush teeth, wash face, feel like a person?
- When Dash wakes up, go back to sleep and don't look at my fucking phone--YOUR PHONE IS NOT ON YOUR SIDE, CHERYL.
- Get up at 5 to write OR DON'T. Sleep or don't. No more of this snooze nonsense.
- No sweets? I mean, that's a thing some people do.
- When I feel like I'm melting down, take a 20 minute break. Walk, breathe. Like a person. I want to set an example for Dash, who has also been doing some melting down when exhausted. I want to stop running him into the ground too.