Taking control

From hereon out: I’m going to seek quality over quantity, both in the blogs I interact with, and in the posts I write and publish. There are a number of reasons for this, not all of which are necessary to mention…but health is one of them. For the last several posts, I’ve been taking three or four days to write each. The documentation of my process is taking as long or longer than it takes to make what I’m actually documenting, and I want to reverse that.

This is especially the case as I’ve been posting less frequently but with better-thought-out and more refined content, and this has had a strange effect on the views to my blog. I’d rather go for quality than try to keep up with what appears to be activity from an algorithm rewarding frequent posting with more views. WordPress is not employing me, that is: I pay them.

I’ve also had the tendency to post unfinished work too soon, because it’s already been in the pipeline for four or five days (if not longer, like weeks), and I initially thought I would have been able to complete it in one or two sessions. Instead, the development just goes on, and on…and merges into new topics and digressions which I then have to segment off from the original seed topic or delete, ad infinitum. I could write a book with this stuff, but it wouldn’t be very good: a lot of it logs my creative process, and as such, is incomplete at the time of its initial drafting.

I’ve also run across some very interesting individuals online whom I would like to follow and interact with more, who don’t necessarily have a great number of followers to their blogs. This indicates that I may be in that, “quality over quantity,” subgroup, and may have a better time with less visits which are made by people whom I actually have a rapport with, rather than hoping to be seen by people whom I don’t know, and who wouldn’t actually care about me as a person if they knew me.

And, yeah…I took down a bunch of the Creative Writing stuff from this blog. A lot of it felt unfinished, and it was probably making me look bad. People reading online from a blog source may not realize that the narrator’s voice is not necessarily the author’s voice: the narrator is a character. The narrator is flawed. I seem to be relatively good at having unreliable narrators or trying out perspectives that aren’t my own, simply because I’m undecided on whatever issue…but the boundary between myself and my characters is blurred at best, and has been since my early days at writing. I need to refine and be able to harden this division further before publishing, in the future.

What remains is mostly about 1) art, 2) reading, and 3) how to continue to do art while maintaining a career which I may have been ill-advised to enter (I have heard as much from at least one source in my field). The good thing about organizing information, though, is that everybody has information that needs organizing. Not just Libraries. The bad thing is, it’s extremely rare to find an entry-level Taxonomy position. And no, I don’t want to work for Meta.

Where it comes to health, though…I did mention that in the opening paragraph?

Yesterday I had a relatively good day…for a number of reasons. I’m not entirely sure how I was able to get it all together yesterday, but I’m still feeling the effects today, and hope to be able to continue to roll with it.

As a note: a very stupid note, one of my doctors has advised me to limit my caloric intake to 1200 calories a day if I want to lose one pound of weight a week (my body normally burns around 1800 calories a day). This is unreasonable. I’d rather exercise more and be able to eat, than starve myself and be angry at the world for a year. (I wonder if they ask males to cut down their caloric intake by 600 calories a day?) I mean: seriously, you don’t want me angry enough that I have to go back on the medication that made me gain weight because I’m eating out of anger…

Anyhow: yesterday, I burned about 2400 calories, as versus my regular 1800. I’m thinking this is the way it should be done — although, I did also eat an entire burrito at lunch, because I was so hungry. There was reason to be hungry, though: it was the first time I had substantively walked in a very long time. I’m still achy.

However, last night I got a good, uninterrupted, full night’s sleep, for the first time in recent memory. A number of things went into this:

  1. I got up at 8 AM for the second day in a row
  2. I actually got out of the house that day and walked (nearly 10,000 steps)
  3. I successfully stayed out of bed after lunch …by looking at a screen (after the food digested, I also had much more energy)
  4. I engaged in traditional (non-digital, but digitally-compatible) art making for most of the afternoon, in natural light
  5. After this, but before 7 PM, I had a light dinner
  6. I severely limited screen time (computer, e-Reader, cell phone) after 7 PM, and dimmed my screen when I did look at it for short moments
  7. I took medication at 9 PM and did everything I needed to, in order to get ready for bed, shortly afterward
  8. I (voluntarily) went to bed around 11:30 PM (it would have been earlier, but I was delayed [a fly took up residence in my bedroom, I don’t want to talk about it])
  9. I moved all the electronics further away from the bed
  10. I had aired out the room during the daytime, so it was cool by the time I went to bed.

As a bonus, my feet hurt so much from walking that day, that I put on my indoor shoes for the first time in months: so my feet don’t hurt, for the first time in a (very) long time, today. I’m trying to avoid more serious orthopedic interventions. It has become normal for my feet to hurt, though this is likely because I haven’t been spending hours in shoes to support them for hours, each day. This was a problem before the Pandemic: which is why I even have, “indoor shoes.”

I’m thinking that the key aspect here of setting up a good sleep schedule, is not to enforce it but to enable it. If you can make bad patterns easier to do, you can also make good patterns easier to accomplish. I’m making it easy for myself to go to bed when I’m actually tired (without lack of hygiene being an excuse or barrier to stay up), and I’m working backwards from the time when I can go to bed, so that my mind doesn’t think it’s still 2:30 PM, at 10:30 PM.

What I’m doing is setting things up so that I can go to bed anytime I feel tired, after 9 PM. The point is that I don’t have to go to bed, but if I want to, I can. This means, just basically, that I’m making it easier to fall asleep, by making my environment and activity pattern more conducive to sleep. But I’m not forcing myself to try to sleep, just because someone says I, “should.”

I know there are major health benefits to having an intact and correctly-timed Circadian rhythm, which is why I’m trying to do this at all. Particularly, I don’t want continuing insulin resistance, and I don’t want continuing weight gain (though I’ve actually been losing weight since January), higher risk of depression, and more hormone destabilization. I get the clue that if I can get my sleep and eating patterns under control (i.e., do not eat after 10:30 PM — meaning go to bed before 10:30 PM), it may very well make it much easier to lose what weight I decide to lose.

But at the same time, I need to disarm the part of myself which listens to Psychiatry and advises a regimented approach to sleep. I’d rather work with myself than split myself against myself…because Psychiatry doesn’t necessarily understand the best way to work with me, here. When they cause me to fight myself, both my selves tend to turn and look at them.

I know they intend well, but their practices are at times…insensitive. Sometimes, harmful; and…having dealt with Psychiatry for pretty much 25 years now, I know that not everyone in the field is respectful…or safe, or even necessarily beneficial. There are a lot of genuinely helpful people, but there are also service providers best avoided.

Not completing everything in one day also leaves me a lot of reasons to get up, the next day! Because I now have a planner with a lot of space for writing, I can list what I worked on, and what I didn’t get to in today’s session. I can also schedule these things for the next day (or further out), as well: an option that I was introduced to via Bullet Journaling. It does help: as does writing out what I did do (and didn’t plan to do), in addition to what I planned to do (and whether I succeeded or not).

Like what I’m doing with the blog, I need to understand that not everything can be done in one day (or one day and one night). Yes, I have passion about my projects; and that’s more reason not to try to finish them to the breakdown of my health: I want to be able to continue to do them. I don’t want my body to associate them with punishment.

I’m thinking that maybe one of the benefits of staying isolated is that it gives one a chance to think about and refine these things. That is: “How do I want to live my life?” It’s entirely within my control, what kind of body I want to live with (and within), and how I want to wake and sleep, and how I want to work — and what I want to work at. It’s a lot more freedom, and power, than I’ve ever really had, before.

Which is nice, I guess.

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