Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Back With More

Because I still need a productive distraction from this crushing sense of panic, that is probably, definitely, an overreaction anyway.

  1. If I'm cutting out, or down on, social media then I want to replace it with reading material that will actually give me some substance to mentally chew on.  Meaning, real books, not internet threads.  It would be amazing if I could read one physical, hold-in-your-hands book per week, and depending on which ones I choose I think this is a totally doable goal.  And, there will still be the downloaded books on my phone and tablet, ones that I can pull out literally whenever, whether it's in a bathroom stall at work, killing time in some medical professionals waiting room, or I've arrived early to a movie and the previews won't even be starting for ten more minutes (I did this over the past weekend, while waiting for Manchester by the Sea to start I chipped away at Leah Remini's Troublemaker via GoogleBooks).
  2. And speaking of that tablet... oy vey, I am way too delayed in integrating this into my life, and I feel bad about it.  My (very generous) boyfriend gifted it to me at our first Christmas together...three years ago.  At the time we weren't living together, so I did find myself using it often on the nights where I stayed at my own apartment, alone with just my cat.  I used it frequently then to stream movies/TV, play games he had loaded onto it for me, and aimlessly scroll through all the standard social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.).  But, since merging our "households" a year and a half ago, it's mostly gone untouched, though still charged on my bedside table.  While he hasn't said it in specific words, I feel pretty strongly that this bums him out.  Because it wasn't a cheap purchase, and he's a tech-geek that works in the tech industry, so I feel like those two things made him really excited to give me this awesome piece of technology - as such, now I assume that it bums him out that I don't really use it anymore.  And I want to, because it's so much easier to read with its bigger screen size, but more often than not my phone is always within arm's reach, it does all the same things the tablet does, and it's just easier to grab that and squint.  This has to change!  I have a boyfriend that was already successful and financially independent when I met him, and I picked up right away that one of the ways he likes to spend his money is on gifts for the people he cares about that he thinks they will greatly benefit from and enjoy.  I know that's why he chose to gift me the tablet for Christmas 2014, and it makes me really sad to realize how, right now, I'm pretty much conveying that I don't care about it because I don't really use it.  Which makes me feel terrible.  I'm degrading myself in my head right now as I write this: "You are such an ungrateful little snot!  This man spent a significant amount of money on something and you never touch it!  Bad girlfriend, BAD GIRLFRIEND!!!"  
  3. This same wonderful and generous boyfriend also shared with me recently (in a conversation a month or two ago) that he wished there was more of a sense that we were in a home we were sharing, rather than just having me come in, store 80% of my belongings in boxes in the basement, and basically go about life in what continues to feel like "his house."  And from a financial stand point it still is - he continues to take care of the mortgage, utilities, cable/internet, etc. and he has not asked me to contribute monetarily to these expenses due to our incomes being at drastically different levels.  In exchange I handle our weekly grocery runs and a majority of the daily basic chores: kitchen and bathroom cleaning, laundry, vacuuming, etc.  I would really like to start approaching this from a different angle, and with more pronounced determination.  As in, I don't want to just be cleaning up after our day to day routines, I want to be a part in improving the home that we should be seeing as something we share.  In my mind, this would translate to taking on more house projects by the horns, myself.  Not necessarily carrying out the changes alone, because it's important to me that what my boyfriend wants and needs out of the home be implemented, but moreso spearheading the start of these projects on my own.  The most glaring example to me are things like updating the window treatments, replacing broken door handles and crown molding, and slapping a fresh coat of paint in rooms that are in desperate need of a refresh.  For all of the home decor and mommy bloggers I follow, this shouldn't be a hard mindset to put myself in.  If I want to actually get progress started though, there's probably an Excel doc in my future with budget outlines, calculations, and estimated timelines.  It needs to happen.  I want it to happen.

One of the things I'm constantly terrified about is that I'm letting down the people I love most by not living up to the expectations they have for me.  I'm afraid I'm disappointing more people than just myself, but I'm also scared shitless of going about change in the wrong way and then having to suffer the consequences.  As a result, I do a lot of hiding in my own head, not sharing myself with others.

That.  Has.  To stop.

Fit of Anxiety

That's what I'm currently in right now, so in an attempt to stop my shaking hands and rapidly beating heart, I opened up this tab and will just do some stream of consciousness writing.

I really hate the things that set off my anxiety, mainly because it is usually such trivial, first-world-problems, minimal shit.  Right now it's something that's so middle school-esque I'm rolling my eyes in between shaky gulps of breath.

My body apparently only has three modes: off, on, and full-blown panic.

I'm going to be 30 in less than a year.  I do not feel 30, but I don't feel like I'm 18 either.  Thank fuck for that.

The compulsion to get my shit together has been increasing, but nothing really productive has come from it because when I look at everything I have on this hypothetical list, it all seems too overwhelming.  Including, but not limited to:

  1. Develop the goddamn discipline to stick with a work out routine.  Not for weight loss reasons, which was what was able to keep me in a running three times a week schedule for nearly all of 2015.  Now that I've lost the excess pounds, this has more to do with wanting to increase my strength and exhaust my anxiety.  I have terrible posture and I hunch over my computer even though I know I'm not supposed to - the reading I've done has told me that strength training can really help chronic back/neck/shoulder pain.  
  2. Clean up my finances.  It isn't nearly as bad as what the national average is (and what the national average is, I have no idea; I just know that I've had people laugh when I admit my debt number), but it could use a lot of improvement.  For someone that doesn't make a ton of money and who is always looking for the lowest possible price I can pay for just about anything, I don't spend a lot (any) time balancing my accounts, something I vividly remember my mother doing at the kitchen table when I was a child.  
  3. Work on my attitude and feelings surrounding social media.  This one is tough, because I truly don't know how to approach it.  Social media has become such a booming presence in everyone's day-to-day life.  It's become the main way people interact, or so it seems.  I logged out of my Facebook at the end of October 2016, and managed to not log back in until midway through January 2017.  Granted I had some very personal reasons for doing so that I don't want to get into here, but what I will say is that I became very conscious of the unhealthy feelings that would erupt in me when I'd scroll through my news feed; "Oh, look who was able to afford another vacation to an expensive beach side resort..."  "Oh, look who's pregnant [again]."  "Oh, look who was just got a promotion at their amazing job that's actually in a field they've always been interested in."  "Oh, look at those people that you used to be so close with, they look like they're having fun together without you."  It was terrible, and I hated having those thoughts - especially because I know all the people on my Facebook friends list personally, at least on some minor level - so I should be feeling happy for them and their accomplishments, not seething with jealously and bitterness.  
  4. This sort of goes along with #2: knit and crochet as many gifts as possible in 2017.  I'm very conscious of my bad habit of overspending, especially when it comes to buying gifts for my family and friends.  Very early on I got addicted to the feeling of joy I would get when seeing how much a recipient loved the gift I had chosen for them.  Unfortunately this has led to a habit of overspending on my part, especially at the year end Christmas-palooza around every corner.  I really want to pull back from this habit, but I know that's a tall order to expect me to buy ZERO gifts throughout this year, especially when I have a few people in my life that are so, SO easy to shop for, thus I see things they would love whenever I'm out and about.  I really, truly, DESPERATELY want to reign in my spending.  I'll say it again: I'm about to be 30.  THIRTY.  I need to get better at allotting how much money I spend on the things in my life, and the biggest most obvious place to start, I feel, is my gift-giving.  I've been a casual knitter for over ten years, and I know a couple basic crochet stitches, so as far as I'm concerned this should be more than enough of a solid platform off which to birth handmade projects.  Ones that were made out of love, patience, determination, and crafted with a particular person in mind.  Right now the project on my needles is a basic black brimmed beanie hat, and it's intended for my boyfriend's father, whose birthday is coming up next month.  Boyfriend has a brother with another quickly approaching birthday, his hat will be the next to be cast on.  This seems to be a good start, LET'S HOPE I STICK TO IT.
  5. Fuck, I need to find a therapist.  A good one, someone I feel I "click" with, but who will also play a more maternal/paternal role when it comes to giving me advice on how to get through life.  I had an amazing therapist that I saw throughout my early twenties, and I was absolutely aware of how our weekly hour long talks were helping me in my life outside of his office doors.  But, now a few years have gone by since I was seeing this wonderful, godsend of a human being, and my particular logistics have changed: I don't live within the city he works in anymore, and even though I still work in this city and evening appointments aren't totally out of the rehelm of possibilities, the thought of the hour drive home, in the dark, after the emotionally exhausting process of laying out all of your fucked up feelings, urges, and worries to someone... just thinking about trying to make that work makes me tired.  If only he had an office within the zip code I now live in....  I did try a new therapist a couple months ago, someone that came recommended to me by the former partner of one of my best friends.  I met with the woman for three, or maybe four times, and while she was nice and fairly easy to talk to, I didn't feel like I was getting constructive suggestions on how to go about changing my thought process and actions.  Part of me wondered if this was because she turned out to be my age (or at least around my age; I didn't ask for a number, I'm just going by context clues of what she looks like, and truly, she's maybe a handful of years older than me, if that... )  My previous therapist was a baby boomer, and a soft-spoken, incredibly kind and compassionate man.  Maybe I should've just reached out to him first, regardless of the inconvenience of his office location, I don't know...


Maybe this is an alright place to stop, at least just for right now.  

But really, I need to do this more.  More than I have been, more than I think I should.  More, more, more.