Thank you for stopping by for a bit of coffee and catching up. We’ll have to be quick though, I have a full day of Christmas shopping planned and it’s probably best to start early, before the crowds and before I realize how much I really don’t want to do this. I’m hoping a cup or two of strong brew will wake me up, and I’m hoping a lovely conversation with you will get me in the mood to go out into the world today.
“‘Delectable,’ Ulysses said. ‘Of all the drinks that I have drank on all the planets I have visited, the coffee is the best.’”
― Clifford D. Simak, Way Station
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I’m finding it harder and harder, the further we get into the winter weather and the holiday season, to keep up with writing. I’m working more and worrying more. It’s cold outside. It’s dark when I leave home and dark when I return, and I never seem to sleep well. Winter has never been conducive to my creativity, but this year I’m aware and determined not to let a little thing like seasonal depression get me down and keep me from doing what I love. So, I’m trying to do things a bit differently.
Last week work was beyond hectic, and I had little time for this blog, but I wasn’t idle. I finally have an editorial calendar set up—I’ve already been adding to it regularly, though I still have to work on sticking to it—and I have really, actually, seriously this time started working on my “death anxiety” project.
I spent my lunch hour at work at least three days this week brainstorming essay topics, art, titles, and structure. I won’t pretend any of my ideas were actually good but I my gut tells me this is a numbers game. The more bad ideas you get out there, the higher your chances of finding a good one, right? So I’m churning them out as fast as I can. I have a whole notebook dedicated to failures and bad ideas, and at this rate, I may need another very soon. It’s been great fun, and I feel like I’m getting closer to doing the kind of writing I always wanted to do.
Through all of that brainstorming and I learned a few things about the way my mind works. I learned that the best time for me to focus on one project and get tangible work done is in the middle of the morning, between 8:00 and 10:00. I learned the best time for me to let my mind wander, and to connect fragments and inspiration in ways that aren’t obvious at first is in the middle of the afternoon, between 1:00 and 4:00. I’m hoping knowing this about myself will make my work more efficient and lead to better ideas faster.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that in an effort not to get sucked into negativity and false perspectives I’m practicing gratitude with greater intensity than ever. I’m taking time to acknowledge that even on my worst days, during my greatest frustrations and inconveniences, I have every reason to be happy and all the opportunity I need to change whatever I don’t like about my life.
Being alive is scary, embarrassing, annoying, confusing, and painful, but it’s also a goddamn miracle and good things happen just as often as the bad. Here are some that happened to me:
- I had a delightful conversation with my sister and her kids this week. I’ve been a bad sister and aunt, and I haven’t called in far too long, but only because I missed them so much and had no idea what to say. I will do better from now on.
- I got a ton of overtime at work, and even though I didn’t really want it, I’m still grateful for it. I got to take care of things for my coworkers who are going through some tough times, and my paycheck won’t be so bad after winter break.
- A wonderful friend of mine loaned me his copy of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick and bought me the definitive director’s cut version of Blade Runner as an early Christmas gift.
- Another wonderful friend who I haven’t seen in far too long invited me out for dinner ad drink for her belated birthday celebration. It felt good to be there to celebrate her, to catch, and let her know how important she is to me.
- I’ve started cooking more and more, and I am actually starting to enjoy it. Last week I made Creamy Vegetable and Tortellini Soup with Pesto and Oven Baked Lemon Pepper Wings. Both of which my girlfriend—the best cook I know and the only one I am ever trying to impress— loved!
- We made big party plans for New Year’s Eve with some other wonderful friends entirely, and then those plans got canceled, and then they were back on again! And I might wear something I would never ever usually wear, and I might look amazing in it.
- Black Mirror finally revealed it’s release date for season 4! December 29th people! A perfect end to a very disorienting and anxiety-inducing year.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that I am looking forward to the coming week which I am almost positive will be a lot less stressful than this past one was. My workload ought to be much lighter, and warm weather is returning. I have a new book to read, a bunch of new posts to write, and a ton of podcasts to catch up on. I can’t wait to get started.
Actually, the entire rest of 2017 should be easy peasy and thank God for that because I cannot wait for this politically infuriating and disorienting year to wrap the hell up. Not that I expect 2018 to be any better, in fact, I foresee things getting a lot worse as one side begins to tire and the other simply waits us out. They are going to start winning, and no matter how we scream and fight, they will go on doing just as they please.
But a New Year is always encouraging and the way time has been flying since summer I know it’ll be over before I know it. I’ve only got to get through this week and the next of Christmas prep and small tasks at work, then Christmas day, and it’ll be smooth sailing into 2018.
I feel good about that. Or, I feel just as good as I do bad about that. This year has been hard and as happy as I am to see it end, the forward march of time is always a little sad. Every day on this Earth is one day closer to your inevitable end. I’m learning to cope with that too.
If we were having coffee, I would tell you that our coffee date had gone on much longer than I planned and as much as I’m enjoying it, I really must get going. The mall is filling up by the minute I’m sure, and the more people there are, the more anxious I’ll be. The more anxious I am, the less effective and efficient I am, and if it all goes too far, I’ll be in tears. God, I hate Christmas shopping.
I hope you had a good and productive week, if you didn’t I hope you have no regrets. I hope you’ll drop a note in the comments and let me know what you’ve been up to. I do love hearing from you.
Until next time.
P.S. Excuse the time discrepancy between the time of day I described and the time of day you may have read this. I wrote it early in the morning shortly after waking, but I failed to hit publish before I left, and so, didn’t post it until late in the evening.
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Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli