Despair not!

Are you a fan of doomscrolling? Can anyone be said to be a fan of doomscrolling? When I was a kid, I had to wait for the nightly news or go read a newspaper (the kind printed on actual newsprint) to catch the latest doom and its pal, gloom.

And believe me, there was plenty of doom to be had. I grew up during the Cold War (well, the first one, anyway) and the specter of actual nuclear war was always there in the background. There were also concerns over the environment (the Careers board game, which I loved, added Ecology as a career path. It’s probably been replaced by Entrepreneur or something now) and pollution, and wars and terrorism across the world were pretty common.

But at least we didn’t have any pandemics, and climate change didn’t yet feel like an existential crisis.

However, this post isn’t about doom. It’s about not despairing, just like it says in the title. For all the horrible things in the world, remember that we still have:

  • Kittens
  • Puppies
  • Baby ducks
  • Pancakes
  • Bicycles
  • Friends
  • People who can make words and/or pictures sing
  • Modern medicine, which is pretty nifty when you think about it
  • Smart people still working hard to help make the world better
  • Sunrises and sunsets
  • And Voyager I and II, launched in 1977, are still transmitting data!

It is breathtakingly easy to fill yourself full of bad news if you have a working internet connection, and that’s just not good for the mind. I don’t think we’ve evolved (or may ever evolve) to where we can subject ourselves to near-constant negativity and remain mentally and emotionally healthy. So I’m willing to do my tiny part in making the world better. I recycle. I treat the environment with respect. I adore kittens.

And I don’t doomscroll. Despair not!

Daily activities for 2022 and beyond: Day 1 results

Let’s have a look at how I did on my first day (a recap in case you arrived at this post directly):

  • Draw one thing (when lacking a specific subject, I will grab a prompt and limit myself to 5 minutes total time to get this done) DONE
  • Record a journal entry (using Diarium, which has a somewhat unfortunate name, but is cross-platform) DONE
  • Write a blog entry DONE
  • Take a photo of something. It doesn’t have to be good or even interesting, just a photo…of something. DONE
  • Exercise: Walk outside, walk on the treadmill, run on the treadmill or run outside. Or ride my bike, skip rope or something that can actually be considered exercise and isn’t like, “I lifted the TV remote 20 times today!” DONE
  • Spend time learning more of the software I use to become a professional expert of impressive knowledge or something. This includes:
    • Unity
    • Affinity Designer
    • Affinity Photo
    • Procreate
    • DaVinci Resolve
    • Blender
    • Visual Studio/C#
    • Obsidian
    • Various other 2D animation and other art programs DONE
  • Work in some way on my snazzy newsletter DONE

Yes, I went 7 for 7 on my first day. I gave myself an imaginary medal! I did better on some of these than others, but hey, I did it.

Now let’s see if I can maintain momentum for two entire days in a row.

Things I will do every day, starting…tomorrow. Absolutely tomorrow.

I am feeling revitalized for reasons unknown and feel it’s time to exercise some discipline, make things happen and other assorted clichés.

Here’s my list of things I will be doing every day. Note: I have excluded essential things for healthy living or just living, period, like eating, sleeping, breathing and pooping.

Daily activities for 2022 and beyond™

  • Draw one thing (when lacking a specific subject, I will grab a prompt and limit myself to 5 minutes total time to get this done)
  • Record a journal entry (using Diarium, which has a somewhat unfortunate name, but is cross-platform)
  • Write a blog entry
  • Take a photo of something. It doesn’t have to be good or even interesting, just a photo…of something.
  • Exercise: Walk outside, walk on the treadmill, run on the treadmill or run outside. Or ride my bike, skip rope or something that can actually be considered exercise and isn’t like, “I lifted the TV remote 20 times today!”
  • Spend time learning more of the software I use to become a professional expert of impressive knowledge or something. This includes:
    • Unity
    • Affinity Designer
    • Affinity Photo
    • Procreate
    • DaVinci Resolve
    • Blender
    • Visual Studio/C#
    • Obsidian
    • Various other 2D animation and other art programs
  • Work in some way on my snazzy newsletter

I think that’s enough for now. Let’s see how well I do tomorrow, ho ho.

Pleading guilty in the court of fatty foods

This week Pop Tarts went on sale, but I remained strong when I went grocery shopping, gliding right past them in the breakfast aisle.

Actually, no, I didn’t. I bought a box of Frosted Blueberry Pop Tarts and ate all of them in two days. That’s eight of them at 185 calories each, for a total of 1,480 calories spread (ho ho) over those two days.

This morning I stepped on the scale and was:

180 pounds

At least I can still see my feet when I look down. For now.

I’d love to blame work and in fact that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Everything has been off the rails since I returned from my leave and I’m not going to hide the fact that I find work an awful ball of unfun. Now I just need to find the drive (I already have the motivation) to come up with an escape plan.

File this under physical and mental health.

With five days left in the month my new weight loss goal for April is now to get back under 180 pounds. It’s about as modest a goal there is, but if I hit it, I will be…modestly pleased.

Filing up the tank

I had a virtual appointment with my doctor today (yay, global pandemic, but on the other hand, yay not having to travel to the office) and he confirmed that a lot of people are feeling extra stress right now due to the various effects of the pandemic.

No surprise there. I am one of those people and have been experiencing a lot more stress over the last few months. My doctor advised me that to stay stress-free and healthy, that it was important to keep the following five “tanks” full or as close to full as possible:

  • Exercise (4)
  • Diet regime (5)
  • Sleep hygiene (6)
  • Social relationships (6)
  • Hobbies (3)

I have offered a number beside each tank to indicate how full they are, with 0 being empty and 10 being full to overflowing.

As you can see, there are no 10s. I’m averaging what would be the grade equivalent of a C or D. This is not optimal. It is bad.

My doctor suggested focusing on a few to start, setting goals for improving each, and making the goals at least 70% achievable. This means starting out with something I think I can reasonably complete, and if I can’t, I simply scale back until I can. Easy peasy-ish.

Since I’ve all but stopped running, I’m going to start there and try sticking to my previous goal of 30 minutes of exercise per day while also insuring that three of those days are runs outside (or on the treadmill if it’s snowing/raining molten rock).

The next I’m going to improve is the one I’m doing right now–writing! But more of a fictional variety. I also have a few drawing ideas I want to pursue and now is a good time to set modest goals to pursue them.

We’ll see how it goes. I have a lot of room for improvement, but I have challenged myself to complete seemingly impossible tasks in the past and succeeded.

Next post: Discussing the other three tanks and my success or lack thereof in keeping them full.

Dear Diary (no, just kidding)

I occasionally toy with the idea of starting a journal again. While this blog mostly serves that purpose, there are things that I don’t really want or need to discuss publicly (ie. here), but might be helpful to write down somewhere. It’s kind of like how I make shopping lists, but wouldn’t post them publicly because who cares about my shopping lists?

Shopping lists will suddenly become a thing now.

I have the Day One app and despite some quibbles with it, it functions fine as an actual journal, yet I’ve only written in it a few times. Maybe committing to it on a daily basis would help my overall writing, as well as my state of mind, especially in these nutty pandemic times.

For example, a few days ago I wrote on the board on the fridge: Do something positive or productive every day. I wrote this for myself and my partner, thinking it would help us find something good in every day, even if the overall day was a bit poo. These positive or productive things would be good for recording in a journal. Today’s entry would be something like: Um…I was kind of lazy today, actually. I offered advice. I helped my partner with a technical issue on the iPad. I put away the clean dishes and loaded the dishwasher with the dirty ones. Okay, I guess I wasn’t totally lazy. But I could look back on this in a journal and nod at how I always put the dishes away, because I’m highly organized or something.

Hmm. I will have to ponder this journal thing. It seems like a positive step, with no real downsides, so I don’t have a good reason to say no to it.

We shall see.