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Still time to salvage the week?

6 Feb

I can’t say much now; I’m running late to pick up the boy but I wanted to check in quickly, if only so I can fill in one more check box on my to-do list for today. So far the fate of the day is still up in the air as, is my habit in recent weeks, I kept myself busy with minor housekeeping and chores…at the expense of the single job application I’ve been kicking down the road for two weeks now. In the small victories department:

  • Today I actually opened the laptop and Word AND my cover letter for the job.  I got to the application, just too late in the day.
  • Compared to where I was in December, I’m miles ahead in the amount of daily time I spend being productive, and not in the viscous cycle of beating myself up to the point of all-day inaction.

Still, the smallness of these victories screams loudly to me.  How much longer am I going to keep putting this thing off? Am in in denial about my true capabilities? Am I really ready for full time work, or even the task of finding it?  I’m terrified of the alternative.

You’ll know I salvaged the week if:

  • I finish this post in under the 5 minutes I set aside for it.
  • I start my next one by reporting the job application submitted.

How do you say “crazy” in Nigeria?

31 Jan

It’s Saturday today, and so far it’s shaping up to be a day of bare minimums: putting garbage out, running the dishwasher, driving the boy (late I should add) to soccer, turning off the TV.

Continuing the trend, for my daily #just5 minutes of writing I’m taking a passage right out of the book I just finished, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. It’s a vivid and beautifully written story of love, loss, race and identity. There was much in these topics I found very relatable, but this passage struck a particular nerve:

“Depression was what happened to Americans, with their self-absolving need to turn everything into an illness…

…she refused to accept the diagnosis of panic attacks because panic attacks happened only to Americans. Nobody in Kinshasa had panic attacks. It was not even that it was called by another name, it was simply not called at all. Did things begin to exist only when they were named?”

What do you think? Are my anxieties real, or merely a luxury of my privileged (and white) Western upbringing?

Either way, look out for Americanah and other great reads for crazy people on goodreads.com or the widget on this page.

Bad start to the day wakes my inner critic…will I catch him in time?

28 Jan

Well today’s not off to a good start.  It’s just past noon and I’ve spent…

…45 minutes making the boy’s lunch and getting him off to school

…5 minutes tidying up the living room

…2 hours playing Call of Duty

…25 minutes fiddling with my WordPress profile

…15 minutes rolling and smoking a joint

…0 minutes on my top priority, submitting a single job application (my first in months).

Suffice to say, my inner critic is foaming at the mouth. The question is, by calling him out and writing this entry, did I catch him in time to save the day from failure?

Manufacturing Discontent: Beware of falling crises

22 Jan

Yesterday I talked about the power that manufactured mental obstacles have to distract me from perusing more important goals. I was worried that updating my LinkedIn profile and perfecting my resume would prove manufactured obstacles to the much more important process of applying to my first job in months.

I think by writing about it, I was just aware enough about these obstacles to avoid them. I did not foresee, though not for lack of experience, the surprise crisis that would come out of nowhere to derail my job application.

Today’s crisis came in the form of an overdue apology I owe a few people from my past, pre-crazy life. Fans of the 12 steps will recognize this as Making Amends. I’ll get into details some other time, but the point for today is I’ve manufactured an crisis out of an years old obligation. And right now it threatens to derail my job application for another day.

Stay tuned for progress, and more on amends making in a future post I plan on calling Making up is hard to do.

Fuck Albert Einstein…Tomorrow Will Be Different

9 Sep

Say what you will about his brilliance and changes to the way we understand the universe, but I have two little words for Albert Einstein: Fuck You.

Why? Because of his (or Ben Franklin’s, or author Rita Mae Brown’s, depending on whom you ask) simple definition of insanity:

“Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

By this definition, I crossed the certifiably insane line long ago.  And there isn’t a day that goes by that I’m not reminded of it.

In recent weeks, I have awoken every day to face myself in the mirror and pledge, “Today I will not drink.  Today I will make music.”

What I mean music is some form of art or accomplishment; learning new chords on the guitar, writing a paragraph or page for the book I’ve been thinking about for 3 years, fine tuning my resume to apply to a job posting, and more.

What I mean by drinking is…drinking.  I’ve beaten several addictions, ones I think are much worse and certainly more costly, but I still struggle with the obvious need to part with a substance that has taken so much from my passion, ambition, family and pocketbook. I know how alcohol is a silent killer of a substance, one made easy to abuse by its wide availability and societal acceptance.  I know when I was abstinent or only an occasional drinker, I was a better person; a better father and husband; a productive and proud provider.  I know that while posing as a useful resource or even a “friend” alcohol has robbed me of all these things.

And yet…even as I make my daily pledge, there is a point in each day – usually just after noon – when I find a way to convince myself that, just this last time, alcohol will be my friend again; that just 1-2 drinks will give me the one-time boost I need to rise to the mounting tasks in front of me.  Just one drink inevitably turns into 3-4, cutting deeper into my growing debts and draining me of what little motivation I had before first putting a glass to my mouth.  I end the day with a further motivation-draining joint, fading into sleep with the voice of an alcohol-fueled rage ringing in my head for letting such a familiar pattern repeat itself.

Tomorrow will be different.

Today is no exception.

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