Saturday, April 17, 2021

How (not) to keep your head on your shoulders

You know that feeling when you have a weeks' worth of tasks just sitting there on your neatly scheduled to-do list (in my case, tried doing the whole Notion thing) and your mind STILL has trouble focusing on one task at a time? And then, like a lightbulb that you tried turning on a couple of times but gave the impression that it needs to be replaced finally turning on - that was a really long metaphor but let's just roll with it -  you find yourself doing the thing that you love doing and were seeking inspiration to do for weeks, amongst the many chores you had set up for yourself. It's 6:11 PM Elena, you scheduled a quick shower and (a much-needed) hair wash, followed by two hours sitting on your computer finishing up the work you didn't end up completing this morning. Why the hell are you going off on such a long tangent? We have things to do, dammit! 

Pictured: Homebound on a random snowstorm in March. Gotta love climate change :)

If you managed to read that whole previous passage and not get lost, then hooray! You shall receive...a virtual high five! That's the most I can do right now, sorry! Anyhow, back to what I was potentially saying -  I LOVE moments like these. When you've consumed something that just instantly strikes up inspiration to do whatever (in my case write, more specifically write without stopping to correct my grammar or the typos that mark my words with a red underline). I guess this all stems from the neverending need for others to bring out the best in you, which is kind of sad and ironic if you think about it, but I think that if I went on that tangent this post would be the size of my graduation paper. Agh, why did I have to go there? Just the mention of that thing (grad paper thesis dissertation thingy, whatever you can call it) is slowly making me lose my mind. I don't even know why these two sentences had to pop up into my mind, they threw me off my writing groove! I think that at this point, my brain can handle as little of gated (as in, condensed and narrow) information intake as it can get - so throwing a whole ass author of some kind and analyzing someone else's work, when I have enough of my own, sounds like the most excruciating thing I can do to my brain. So, I consider this sort of proactive procrastination a form of self-care. And don't you dare ask me if I'm planning on graduating any time soon because you might get blocked. Physically and mentally. 

Pictured: Those 30 minutes of rest I give myself from 11:30 AM to 12:00 PM on occasions to have a cup of coffee and read a few pages of whatever book I'm distracting myself with at the time

Okay, 6:21 PM. Shoot, where was I going with this? Agh yes, my whole point (if I even have one) is to just let the people know how/where I've been. Mentally that is because physically things haven't changed in over a year and we all know why is that :) So, after a small pause to collect my thoughts, I can safely say that I am in a constant overwhelmed state. And that's okay. Through so many conversations with friends recently, I've come to the conclusion that it's OKAY to let your mind freak out and be a right old mess because it's normal. And it's natural. And that's how our coping mechanisms work. I am yet to know a person that will (with assertiveness) say: "Oh, I adapt to changes so quickly, it's practically unnoticeable!". Huh? Like, that sentence was even hard for me to formulate, the concept is THAT foreign to me. However, the chances of someone saying "I am internally struggling and I have no idea why" are far greater, and far more consoling to me as a fellow overwhelmed human. At this point, I think that even the most chill people in the world have their brains working overtime on the weekend when the rest of us try to relax. 

Pictured: Waiting for the bus home suddenly turns fun when you find out you can take reflection photos 

Update from future Elena, editing the jumble that you just read. It's 11:38 PM on a Saturday, which is way past my usual bedtime. What can I say, I've started to get accustomed to avoiding the usual 7-9PM nap that plagued my sleeping pattern for months on end. Is this what adulthood feels like? Oh, while we're on that adulthood topic, another thing that made me stop and think was the fact that I intentionally subscribe to newsletters now. Like, never in a million years did I picture myself as a newsletter girl but I gotta admit - I'm loving it. I have to reiterate here and say that the newsletters I'm subscribed to or will potentially subscribe to are ones that offer mostly entertainment value and spark potential inspiration, with a splash of education here and there; no more - no less. The only heavy topics that will find their way into my inbox are emails from my university and the occasional Duolingo reminder saying that they miss me, which in retrospect isn't that bad to wake up to. 

Pictured: Back when restaurants were open and we could enjoy eggs on a bed of cream cheese and delicious bread

Another thing that frequently pops up in my head is the realization of the reality I'm creating for myself. I know, this is kinda jumping off the deep end but I'm not gonna swim on this topic for too long; I just want to address it. I've found myself in this predicament where I consciously make things harder for myself which consequently makes me feel devoid of joy when I do the things that made me excited in the past. So, in order to find joy again, I've taken up new hobbies. They're small, practically minuscule in importance, but make my mind take a mental break by introducing a new set of tasks for it to concentrate on. Tasks that repeat themselves, require little to no conscious thinking, yet still, make me feel creatively fulfilled. I think that's the key to fixating on something that's actually good for you - seek for something you can sense the benefits of without reaping some sort of an external validation-type of reward. We live in an age of (over)sharing, where we need that pat on the back from people we don't even care that much about and create a list of what's "bad" and "good" for us based on other people's opinions. In a way, the fact that I'm sharing these thoughts for you to agree or disagree on is ironic in itself, but it's the reality of the situation we've all put ourselves in. It's like constantly saying social media is bad for your mental health and then scrolling on Instagram the rest of the day. Duality is a bitch, isn't it? 

Pictured: Looking out into a snow-covered wasteland (not quite the one T. S. Eliot described, but pretty close) from the inside warmth of a cafe

Okay, it's past midnight and definitely past my bedtime, which is a sign I need to wrap this up before shit gets too deep (even for me). If you've read this whole thing, thank you. If you want to talk about anything I've mentioned so far, my messages are always open. And if you wanna give me a virtual smack for taking up 5(?) precious minutes out of your life, you are completely entitled to do so. I too know the useless power a brain dump holds. 

I owe you a playlist and a book review post, so keep your eyes peeled for those. I can't promise it will be anytime soon, but it will definitely be posted for mine and your enjoyment at some point. Goodnight, sleep tight! 

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