A Return to a Bad Reading Habit: Anxiety and Comfort in the Known

I have struggled long and hard to come up with a post topic for today. It’s too late the night before and I’m just beginning to type. This is why I don’t last minute things. I finally thought of a topic, and as I mulled it over in my mind it seemed familiar. I flipped through my old posts and what do you know, I’ve tackled it before.

That’s never a good sign.

Specifically, I wanted to talk about getting stuck in books you know. While rereading my post, A Bad Reading Habit: Anxiety and Comfort in the Known, I had to cringe. Why? One, I’ve fallen off the wagon yet again and keep picking up books I know off the shelf instead of getting new ones finished. Two, months ago I started doing the same thing with my regular TV shows. This particular habit I hadn’t realized until last week when my mom tried to turn on a season premiere and I tensed from head to toe and nearly starting yelling at her. Can you say over-reaction? I was floored.

The good news, if there is any, is that compared to when I wrote the first post, my social life has improved. Actually, my social life has exploded. The day job life has semi-imploded. I’m not sleeping well. My exercise routines are constantly interrupted. And I am struggling to balance coursework with writing and the day job.

I’ve been making a lot of big changes in my personal life recently and making big plans. Obviously, these things are major sources of anxiety for me. I’m not dealing with them properly because they’re bleeding over into other facets of my life in strange ways. Who has a panic attack over TV?

Granted, the world around us is not helping me feel better. Yesterday (as I type this) over 50 people were killed at a concert. Two young women were stabbed to death. And a cop was struck by a car and stabbed by a perpetrator who then ran a truck into pedestrians on a sidewalk. That last one was very close to home. I won’t even get into climate change and starving animals being destroyed or anything else.

It’s difficult to feel hopeful in these times. It’s difficult to motivate myself to look forward and work towards the future. I find I’m very emotional lately and dealing with even fictional surprises seems to be more than I can handle on a regular basis.

That’s the end of my whining. I guess I’m sad today. I’m going to give myself a break and allow myself to revel in the safe and familiar when things get bad. But I’m not allowed to hide there.

The 5 Year Plan

I’m taking up a random topic today: The 5 Year Plan. Have you ever made one? I haven’t, which is odd because I’m very goal oriented. That said, I’m good at setting goals and making pretty lists and trackers—and then getting exactly nowhere.

I don’t intend to end up nowhere. I merely have a tendency to think that setting the goals and scratching them off the list when I get to them will somehow magically translate to progress. Well, more progress than it realistically does.

Back to the 5 Year Plan. I turned to Uncle Google because while I can extrapolate what a 5 Year Plan entails, I haven’t the foggiest idea how to put it all together. I ended up on Wiki How since the site provided the kind of detail I needed. I then moulded their 15 steps into phrasing and a format I prefer. I did all that on Friday, and my insane weekend has kept me from doing more than printing off my document.

Despite not moving forward with it yet, I want to share the parts that jumped out at me while I was throwing my document together:

  • The variety of goals,
  • The hierarchy of organizing your goals into most important to less important,
  • The step by step breakdown of goals so each part is attainable and leads somewhere,
  • The formatting freedom,
  • The flexibility.

I might be counting my eggs a little early but I am really excited to make my plan! I am hoping it will help me attain all of my writing goals that much quicker—because my current pace is a snails crawl. A better personal and professional situation would also be awesome attainments.

I’ll ask again: Have you ever created a 5 Year Plan? Did it work for you? Do you have any suggestions?

 

*Featured image sourced here.

Boredom is Contagious, and Malignant

I don’t know about you, but I am not a person who handles boredom well. It’s slow season at the day job, and I’m out of make-work projects because I’m too efficient. This means I’ve been doing a lot of standing around lately. A lot. And I’m starting to see the toll it’s taking on my ability to focus when I want to.

Having absolutely nothing to keep me busy makes my days drag, and I find that once I’m out the office door I can’t shake off the drudgery. My feet drag 24/7. What’s worse is that I can’t figure out what to do about it.

I have a to do list a mile long, books I want to read, shows I want to watch, other things I want to do–but I’m swamped in apathy and I can’t find my motivation. Maybe it’s the heat. Maybe it’s the long days which have messed up my sleep. Maybe it’s my intense desire to find a new job. Maybe it’s my current feelings of aimlessness. Maybe it’s all of these combined and I just need to snap out of it.

Honestly, I wish typing that would cure me. Alas. I have a bit of time to myself at the start of August; it might be in my best interest to use those as vacation days from writing and to-dos so that I can truly recharge and refocus. My next school course starts at the end of this month, which is lousy timing, but I have no control over it.

When I’m done reading my current non-fiction book, I’m pulling The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People off my shelf and making some deadlines.

What do you do to rediscover your motivation? Do you find you drag in the summer or are you too busy to notice?

Taking on a Genre I Never Thought I Would

May has been a trying month for me, for multiple reasons. The week of May 22nd to 26th was especially hard with multiple deadlines that I hit only at the last minute, a too-full social calendar, a bad week of sleep, and the tail end of an illness. In the midst of feeling overwhelmed, I decided I wanted to try my hand at creative nonfiction.

I love the work of Roxanne Gay, and Bad Feminists is one of my favourite books. I’ve always thought memoir would be an interesting genre to write since I do immensely enjoy the occasional memoirs I read. I need to read more memoirs, for the record. In any case, when I think of writing one, these issues come to mind: I’m too young to write a memoir and I do not lead an interesting existence. I really don’t.

However, my mental health issues have reared their heads mightily this year. Just over a month ago I realized I was in a tailspin. Thankfully, I’m on the upswing, but I know I’m still at the delicate stage and I need to be really cognisant of my emotional state and how I’m processing.

For the sake of catharsis and trying to figure out the roots of my bigger issues, I thought writing a collection of personal essays wouldn’t be a bad idea. I started the project…and it’s going to be a much more difficult endeavor than I ever imagined. I joke to friends and colleagues that compared to people who share a lot, I’m not merely a closed book, I’m glued shut. Unsticking myself is excruciating.

Sharing any aspects of myself is difficult for me. I do not like attention on myself. I do not like being opened to scrutiny. I do not like feeling like I am being judged. All of this stems my anxiety. And the best way I know how to deal with those issues is to face them head on.

Another part of the problem is that as a writer I do not know a great deal about writing creative non-fiction. I know enough that a lot of fiction writing elements crossover, but I also know every genre has its own nuances.

I don’t have enough on my plate right now, so I’m starting a massive undertaking. But I’m also excited to learn something new and share what I learn here.

Interesting Finds

Hi everyone! May has been such a disorganized month I don’t even know what I’m doing anymore. But I have a ton of internet items to share!

This article hits home in a big way. As someone who has dealt with weight and body issues since 4th grade, I feel nothing but pity for someone who’s self-worth is so intricately tied to their size. It’s a hard, vicious battle. And no one should be made to feel that they’re worthless because they don’t hit some sort of stupid ideal. I was disturbed when I saw the first preview of Revenge Body while watching TV and I’m even more disturbed now. https://bitchmedia.org/article/body-kardashian/khlo%C3%A9%E2%80%99s-revenge-body-and-strict-demands-family-business

This might just be the best way to keep track of your reading pile. Bullet journal junkies, this is for you.  http://rivetedlit.com/2017/03/21/bullet-journal-for-books/?cp_type=enpm&rmid=Riveted_Weekly&rrid=6512055

I kind of want to invest in a big stick. And use it. Someone just please end the mansplaining. http://www.teenvogue.com/story/worst-mansplaining-stories-on-twitter

This comic from the Oatmeal really speaks to me. If you were to ask me on a routine basis whether I feel happy, I’d truthfully say no. But I’m not unhappy. http://www.upworthy.com/this-comic-from-the-oatmeal-illustrates-how-were-missing-the-mark-on-happiness?c=ufb2

I love The Handmaid’s Tale, but I don’t know if I can watch the show because the book alone disturbs me on such a visceral level. This article brings up something I never thought of when I read the book, or when I’ve read other dystopic fiction: ensuring diversity and addressing race and prejudice properly and realistically. It’s incredible food for thought. https://theundefeated.com/features/hulu-handmaids-tale/

And just to maintain the terror, here’s one superb take on The Handmaid’s Tale and why it has been reintroduced to audiences at such a good time. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/apr/27/handmaids-tale-timely-terrifying-hulu-series-margaret-atwood?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=The+week+in+patriarchy&utm_term=223717&subid=22649583&CMP=patriarchy

Finally to wrap things up with irony, here’s a fact I bet you didn’t know about a certain species of dragonflies. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2129185-female-dragonflies-fake-sudden-death-to-avoid-male-advances/?utm_campaign=RSS%7CNSNS&utm_source=NSNS&utm_medium=RSS&utm_content=news&campaign_id=RSS%7CNSNS-news&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=The+week+in+patriarchy&utm_term=223717&subid=22649583&CMP=patriarchy