Banished from Pemberley

I have banished myself from Pemberley.

I thought long and hard about what to give up for Lent, but all along I knew I needed to give up the thing that I most crave in the world: reading Jane Austen fan fiction.

It sounds silly, I am sure. It is silly, in fact, but I can’t help it. Reading about Darcy and Elizabeth is escapism at its best for me; it takes my mind off everything else in the world, and does it in such an easy fashion that it takes very little effort on my part. (I always say that I don’t read much fantasy because I don’t like being introduced to new worlds and having to learn about them. With my Darcy stories, I don’t have to learn anything at all; the characters and locations are already familiar.)

I have been going crazy for the past 24 hours, though. I have built some powerful habits around this addiction, so every time I sit down to eat a snack, for instance, I find myself reaching for my phone. It’s going to take some time to reach for something else — or nothing else, really. It would be much better for me to live in the present and heighten my awareness of the world around me.

This world, however, is much more difficult for me than the world of Regency England, of entails and suitors and Lady Catherine deBourgh, of balls and fine eyes and ten thousand a year. This world is challenging and messy and stressful, and for whatever reason I find myself less and less able to handle that stress.

My hope is that the time I would have spent reading on my phone will now be spent in doing healthier things. Perhaps that will go a long way toward enabling me to live in the here and now, and no longer in days of yore (and yesteryear.)

Lyme Park Snowdrops IMG_0083aBR by Brian Rogers / CC BY

I’m leaving you for Darth Vader

I’ve decided that I have to break up with my phone. We’ve been sleeping together for far too long, and it is disrupting my sleep and my health and my sanity.

I have all sorts of “reasons” why I need to have the phone in my hand until the moment I fall asleep:

  • I like to read before I go to bed, using the Kindle app;
  • It helps distract me from the CPAP when I first put it on, until I get used to the breathing pattern; and
  • The phone is actually my alarm clock, so I need to have it right there with me.

Obviously, all of these — while true — are just excuses. All of them can be easily overcome. I could read actual books before bed, which would actually tire me out instead of energizing me as the light from the phone does. I could meditate when I put the CPAP on, which would help me get to sleep, rather than keeping me up. Last, but not least, I could just use an actual old-school alarm clock.

Enter Vader. Darth Vader. Continue reading “I’m leaving you for Darth Vader”

Tackling the energy deficit

One of the metrics I’m using to determine the state of my health this year is my energy level. I’m taking a measurement every day on the following scale:

1 = stuck in bed all day

2 = bare minimum tasks (up, dressed, ate something, went to work or doctor’s appointments)

3 = also got some necessary things done (dishes, laundry, bills paid, made an actual meal)

4 = had energy left to have some fun! (see a friend, play a game, watch a movie, do a craft)

5 = had enough energy for plenty of fun! (something big: see a concert, go on a hike, go to a day-long event)

When I was working five days a week, I was living at a level 1 or 2. I was going through the motions to accomplish the bare minimum, but nothing else was getting done. I’d basically drag myself home and go straight to bed, then wake up and do it again. Weekends were spent in bed trying to recuperate to get ready for the next week.

The three-day schedule has given me a lot of that energy back. I still have days in bed, but I’m pretty solidly at level 2 or 3 most of the time, with an occasional foray into level 4.

My hope, of course, is that improving my diet and exercise will help with the MS fatigue, and that my energy level will rise accordingly. I need to hit level 4 on a regular basis so I can actually see my friends outside of work!

Dr.Zarkov, Begin the Energy Flow !” by Lew (tomswift) Holzman / CC BY