Category Archives: Basket of Crazy

Name It, Box It Up, Move On

Last night, I went and saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier after work. It was something I had planned to do for most of the week since I worked last week to watch the rest of the movies in the franchise, and I really enjoyed the movie. As my nights go, it was one of the better ones: I got out and  did something I wanted to spend my time on, felt like it was worth my time, and should have come home feeling quite pleased about how adult I am and other such nonsense. The key word in that last sentence was should.

Instead I came home full of The Emotions, and I’m sitting down today to try and unpack everything a bit more. It wasn’t until this morning that I even realized what I was feeling, which says quite a lot about the complexity of the emotion and how much it ate at my mind overnight.

The reason I was in the throes of emotionally-infested waters was that as I left the theater, I realized my former roommate, her new roommate, and their neighbor had all gone out for a brief night of unplanned but rousing camaraderie. At this point, I’d like to think it was the fact that my only three friends in the city went out “without me” that got me feeling all FOMO. I immediately went into FOMO recovery mode, which is to say I felt lots of things, talked too much about it, listened to some music really loudly and walked most of the way home.

(The quotes in the above paragraph, and any that follow, indicate my perception, which is to say the lie that my brain is telling me.)

Okay, so my coping strategies aren’t half bad–after a year in London, I finally have ways of dealing with the fact that I feel like I am missing out. But that’s not right, is it? Because normally when I call an emotion out, I feel better. When I say to myself, hey this is just FOMO and you know what to do with that feeling, I do the things and I feel better. This morning, and this post, are an indication that I don’t feel better. It took until this morning to realize that the reason I didn’t feel better wasn’t that my strategies didn’t work; I don’t feel better because I didn’t call out the right emotion.

In what is still considered pop psychology, FOMO (feeling of missing out) sits squarely on the anxiety spectrum, based out of misperceptions that things are going on which are infinitely better than the current situation we find ourselves in. For those of us with them, our anxiety brains amplify and distort the thoughts about what fun others are having until we’re so miserable where we are that we can’t enjoy the life we currently have. This happened to me a lot in London last year, when people were out “having a good time,” (to be fair, they often were having a good time) and I spent much of the year miserable about how my own life was still so depressing. I worked really hard in the last few months of my time in London to let it go, to enjoy whatever I was doing as I was doing it, everyone else be damned. It was then I learned the only cure for FOMO: YOLO (oh yes, I went there). Embracing the current moment, losing oneself in it, is the only thing that makes FOMO better, because it proves that where you are is the best place for you. Reassurance seeking (asking others if it’s fun, if you should go, if you’re missing anything awesome) only feeds the anxiety; proving false the hypothesis that you can’t have fun doing your own thing actually reduces the anxiety.

tumblr_inline_myopzty10E1rmfd9gAll this to say, I know FOMO. I get it, I know all the feelings, and I’ve learned how to deal with it in my own way.

What I felt last night was not FOMO. What I felt last night was a genuine sense of feeling left missing out, not a misperception of missing something. I was not purposefully excluded from the social encounter, and I missed what happened because of other plans–I wasn’t just sitting at home watching a movie, I paid the hard-earned money to go sit in the theater and have that experience. Even more so, I loved the experience. I had no idea I was missing out when I was in the theater, I wasn’t plagued with anxiety about it in the moment, and my in-recovery anxiety brain was totally absorbed in the awesome action scenes I was watching.

I did not have FOMO; I just missed out on something else fun that happened too.

When I said that to myself this morning, it was empowering. I had found the emotion: mild regret. Regret I hadn’t been available to go do that thing, but not regret that I had been doing something I wanted to do. Life is about choices, compromises, and an acceptance that with 7 BILLION people in the world, there’s probably other fun things I’d like to do in addition to what I’m currently doing (heck, the whole city of London is something I’d rather be doing). But, I have my life here, full of things I like. Spending too much time in that space of regret is a recipe for certain unhappiness.

I’m allowed to feel my emotions for their time and their place, but not for so long that they interfere with what is happening next. It’s time to get back to YOLO.

(Photo credit for featured image: http://positivechick.com/)

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“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”

I have lately come to find myself in possession of a large amount of latent anger. I don’t think my possession is the thing which I have lately come to have, but rather my perception of my own anger. My tone of voice, and my thoughts, all betray some anger I don’t ever know that I have realized.

I am pretty sure I have been angry for a long time, but I’m not entirely sure what for.

I mean, shit has happened in my life. Things that–while A) entirely the product of my own behavior, B) consequences I feel that I should have faced, and C) nowhere near as bad of situations as they could have been–I don’t think were fair. I often get after my generation for assuming that our lives should be fair. We were born into a cohort which has been saturated with an entitlement to an easy life, when our parents and parents’ parents worked hard to put us in this position. The difficulties they faced in their lives were meant to make ours easier, and rather than appreciating that, we often complain that life isn’t easy enough.

“I don’t have the perfect relationship,” or “I can’t find anyone who wants me.”
“I can’t seem to figure out what I want to do,” or “my job is too hard.”
“This shouldn’t be so hard,” or “why isn’t this as simple/easy/meaningful as it used to be?”

But as I said, I often scoff, shame, and guilt my peers when they express these sentiments, though I think I must feel the same way inside. If I didn’t, I doubt I would be as hostile as I am. It may not be a causal relationship, but I have no doubt that my own perception of injustice in my life doesn’t endear my fate to be a happy one.

Maybe my life hasn’t been fair (though in fact facing the justifiable consequences of my own behavior is entirely fair, it’s just facing consequences that most of my peers haven’t had to face for the same behaviors that makes me resent them), but being a bitch about it isn’t going to help me either.

This is going to be an exploration for a while.

Weigh-in Wednesday #5

It’s another week, and I’m a little bit late, but I gave it my best go this week. Strangely, the thing I have most noticed is that I have incredibly inconsistent habits. See?

The Good

SleepSleep
As usual, I am the queen of sleeping. I’m still sitting well above my minimum seven hours, sleeping without an alarm, and waking up quite consistently at 7:36am every day. I don’t always get up, but I always wake up. I don’t think this is the kind of thing that’s really at risk, but it’s something to keep track of. Maybe one day I’ll be busy traveling or something at it might get interesting to look at!

FV - goodFruits & Veggies
I’m finally on the up-and-up with this metric–I’ve been doing Pact, and stepped it up so that I either eat the fruits and veggies, or I pay. I don’t want to pay, so I’m eating more! As predicted, I realize that my digestion is much better, and while my weight isn’t doing anything fancy, I feel good, I don’t eat as much junk, and I’m not hungry as much. That’s what really matters in the end, isn’t it?

The Bad

Calories - BadCalories
Okay, so I’ve overshot, and I wasn’t even good about recording my food intake. I overshot several times, most noticeably when I ate four cheeseburgers for dinner on Tuesday. To be fair, it was a special occasion. So… I’ve got some work to do. Namely no cheeseburgers, more veggies, and an occasional treat here and there. I’d love to get to an average of 1500 per day, so the goal still stands.

StepsSteps
Unlike my high-stepping last week, I didn’t travel at all, but I did have a pretty good week. I had several days near or above 7,000 steps, and then some highly inactive weekend days–there is real room for improvement there, and that’s what I hope will only get better as the weather improves and the sunshine comes back to this ever-alluring city.

The Ugly

CFP - UglyThe Nutrient Breakdown
Instead of looking at the original goals, I’d just like to point out balance is key. I’d like to cut my fat proportion down below 25% next week, and trade that for protein. Really, I’m not sure how this will help my health, other than that it’s made me really aware of how much fat and protein I’m consuming. Nonetheless, I’ll pay attention because I think that I’m probably not aware enough yet, and certainly haven’t adjusted my diet yet!

MilesMiles
I did better this week, but not as much as I’d like to do. The problem is (just like every winter) I hate running on treadmills. I hate ellipticals. I just want a good bit of concrete and a decent view, and I can do my seven miles no problem. I’d love to get up, go run for 10 each morning, and then have my cuppa coffee. But  for now, I’ll keep having bad data, if it’s all the same to all of us. Maybe I will also count each ‘workout’ as a mile.

The End Results

WeightStability is a start, though it’s also discouraging. Stability means that I have to find a new way to kick-start my weight loss. One would argue that I know what to do: improve my diet by cutting down fat and increasing fruits and veggies, and improving my activity by either working out or running, and increasing my step count. I’ve probably been saying those things all along, but we’ll see how I do next week. One week at a time, right?

Weigh-in Wednesday #4

I’ve been wondering if my winter depression has manifest in a new way this year–instead of mood disturbance, I’m just completely unmotivated to do anything. Yes, this includes dieting. I have fallen off the wagon completely. I keep waking up with good intentions, but the diet is contrary to what my body asks for (it’s trying to make me eat too frequently!). Then again, as you’ll see, my lack of focus has not helped me reach my goals.

The Good

Sleep
SleepAs always, you can count on me to get enough sleep. I did not do as well this past week due to a day where I had to get up really early to catch a bus back to Seattle (long story, nor a pleasant one). Nonetheless, I caught up on my sleep well enough to still be plenty above average. My average is falling over time, but I don’t think there’s anything particularly notable about that; just that I’ve been staying up too late. Zzz on!

Calories


Calories

Still doing well here, though slowly creeping toward that 1500 ceiling. I would like to point out for the record that no human requires 2000 calories a day if they live a sedentary lifestyle, because as you can see, I am plenty healthy, and eating a lot, and still have another 25% of “my calories” available. I’d like to continue to strive for making healthier choices, despite doing well in this category for now.

The Good(ish)

StepsSteps
I had a rise in my steps–again! This is primarily because I put in a day over the weekend with nearly 17,000 steps. Whenever I visit Portland, that seems to happen. But, I’m starting to get an itch to run outside, and as the sun returns to my part of the world, I hope to start biking and riding more. I’ve been incredibly inactive lately, a chicken-and-egg issue with my motivation.

The Bad

F&VFruits & Veggies
I didn’t drop off, but considering how hard I am working to add veggies, I would have predicted my average to be much higher than 2 a day. That’s okay; my pact this week has me at 3/day, so I’ll have to step it up or (literally) pay for it! My digestive system will thank me too, if I can just get in the habit. I guess as soon as I finish this, I’ll go find something fruit or veggie-ish to put into my system.

The Ugly

Nutrition

 

 

The lesser of two evils this week. I was, quite genuinely, a fatty. I upped my fat intake by a ton, and I’m not even sure why. I ate out more than in previous weeks, and didn’t make good choices, I guess. At home, I started eating candy. My body is trying it’s hardest to stay on the foods it knows: processed, sugar-heavy foods. NO, body!

MilesMiles
For shame. Really. I am hardly moving my body at all lately, and I’m not even getting any younger! There’s so many easy ways to get fit, and I’m being lazy. I brought my gym gear home today, thinking that might help motivate me if I work out at home. I’m hoping to go to sleep early and get up tomorrow for the gym. And as many days after, until it is warm and I can start running outside again!

The End Result

WeightWeight
I for one am not surprised at all that my weight stabilized. First, that is what it always does, no matter what I do, diet or exercise. I get a few weeks of improvement, and then it stabilizes, each time a few pounds higher. Second, I haven’t been taking care of myself, so of course it has stabilized! It’s going to be harder to get it moving again, but I really want to! I just need to make myself eat salads and veggies, and occasionally move more than just a few thousand steps today.

Why does that sound so easy yet turn out to be impossible to make myself do?

The Whole ORCA Card Thing

Try and pretend for a minute that I’m not an Anglophile. Is that possible to do? Try and just accept for a minute that it might be possible that the English people have a really good idea and for some reason, the people of Seattle don’t seem to be on the same page.

The backstory is that in both London and Seattle, most people use a card to access public transportation. Obviously this is pretty normal in most major cities across the US. Strangely though, nobody seems to have adopted the Oyster card holder. The slim wallet which a kindly (or sometimes not-so-kindly) Transport for London employee hands you as you buy your first Oyster at Heathrow. The little piece of plastic holding inside an even more important piece of plastic that you learn to put in the same pocket every time. The holder you tap on every yellow disk in the cities of London and Westminster, and somehow manage never to lose.

It is, in a word, genius.

No card in the wallet, no loose card in a pocket. No RFID getting confused because it sits next to your credit card. Just a separate little wallet that your fingers know the feeling of–if you have the wallet, the world (London does feel like the world sometimes) is your oyster.

No pun intended, honest.

It just doesn’t make sense–why would you get your wallet, with your ID, cash, cards, and worldly identity, out of your pocket to get on the bus? Someone could grab that and run off! Better to leave wallets in pockets and only risk the oyster. Erm, I mean Orca.

Can you see how I would get confused?

Weigh-in Wednesday #1

I wrote it as a resolution, and there’s no better time to start doing my resolutions than the present, right?

4. Complete the Weigh-in Wednesday challenge

This is a new idea I have this year, because I’ve realized that my body is not as young as it once was. Since turning 26 in April, my metabolism has clearly shifted, and I notice a major difference in how much energy I have, how stable my weight is, and how good I feel. I’ve decided I’m going to do the “Weigh-in Wednesday challenge” (something I made up) as a way of trying to become more accountable for my health.

Each week, I’ll be straight up honest with myself (and you) about my health for the week. I’ll give a few statistics I’ve tracked–total calories; caloric breakdown into fats, carbs, and protein; miles run; steps taken; fruits and veggies eaten; and weight.

By weight, I mean that picture above, “boldly” displayed for all to see–here’s a test of whether I am actually able to share anything on the internet. By the way, there is simply no sexy way to take a picture of ones feet on a scale. Get used to it.

So there it is, a starting weight of 149. I’ll report back next week with a bunch of numbers and see if I can start to gain some control over my nutrition and health. I’m going to quantify as much as I can, to see if there are patterns I can identify and behaviors I can change to make me feel more like a 25 year old again.

(Maybe I’m being a bit silly about this, but I prefer to workout alone, and this will be my group motivation.)

To Be a Better Person

Imagine you took a test one day and realized that you could taste better than almost anyone else. Your tastebuds were really really good at their job, and because of this, most of your life had been–and would continue to be–a bit tough because you could taste flavors that others couldn’t. That lemon zest? Too sour for you. That olive? Too bitter. Even candies and chocolates were uncomfortable in their sweetness. Everything was amplified, and you came to possess that knowledge.

Would you willingly keep engaging with flavors you know are so strong they make your eating experience less enjoyable?

Now imagine that instead of “taste,” I said “feel.” Imagine you–like me–could feel better than almost anyone else. Only instead of “better,” you meant “more,” as in more acutely and more deeply. The lows hurt more deeply, and the highs were much more euphoric. Your whole life had been what felt many times like a rollercoaster of feelings, and only when you conscientiously chose what behaviors you engaged in did you feel like you were able to have a reasonably enjoyable emotional experience.

It took me over 25 years to fully accept that my own emotional experience is different than other people. I still resent it sometimes, like someone accepts but still resents a different difficulty in their life. I see others living cavalierly. They lie, they cheat, the knowingly and unknowingly hurt other people. They do things I can’t do, because if I did, I would be wrecked about them for months. They fall into love, experience the utter joy of bliss, and I stand and watch them negotiate life’s emotional swells while it looks like they barely dip their toes in the water. I learned long ago that this isn’t entirely true–everyone feels emotions, it’s just that not everyone feels them the way I do. Not everyone can be easily ruled by their emotions.

People have told me I shouldn’t think so much, as though there’s this magical connection between my willpower, my thoughts, and my emotions. That’s like telling my lungs not to breathe, or my eyes not to see. My brain is designed to think, and my thoughts directly relate to my emotions. My emotions exist because human beings were built with an emotional neural pathway. I can’t turn that off, or turn it down. I can just avoid situations where I set myself up to think “too much” or feel “too much,” or where the people I surround myself with make me feel like my emotions aren’t part of who I am. I don’t feel like my life is any worse this way, in fact I think it’s better. I’m a better person because I feel so much–so maybe my emotional system does just work “better.”