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Monday, 24 June 2013

Limits: Balancing Positivity, Grief, Reality and Escapism

I thought I was going to have a tougher day today than I did, but even though a vast majority of it was very positive, and turned out better than expected, there was one really hard part. Every Monday is a bad day for me right now, and unless I happen to sleep through it, noon is the absolute worst. Right at noon, every Monday, is when grief kicks the crap out of me. I actually have a reminder set on my BlackBerry that allows it to do that. Does that sound strange? Maybe it is. However, because I'm more afraid of losing my emotions than I am of feeling them, I choose to face up to them whenever possible.

It was noon on a Monday, eleven weeks ago, that I lost the love of my life. If you think I'm sick and twisted because the love of my life happened to be a ferret name Stimpy, that's too bad. I don't actually care what anyone thinks about that. It wasn't a romantic thing by any stretch. I'm not actually that sick and twisted. No, he was really like a child and best friend to me all rolled into one, and there was a connection there between us from the moment I met him. So, losing him at the age of five to pancreatic and kidney cancer was absolutely the worst thing I've ever been through. I've lost a lot of people - people who were family and friends that I truly loved - and none of those losses hurt me like this one. I'll never be able to explain it to anyone who hasn't felt that connection, and who didn't know his personality. He was family, and he was the epitome of love and companionship in my life. I love animals in general, particularly ferrets, but Stimpy was special beyond that.

Many people try to avoid and ignore grief, and some people revel in it. I do both within set boundaries. I have my Monday ritual, and for the rest of the week I try not to think about it. I get on with my life and do my thing. I distract myself with the myriad parts of life that have the ability to do that for me, whether they're work and writing related, or simple escapism. I learned a long time ago that escapism and denial were healthy and necessary, within limits. Facing reality is healthy and necessary, within limits. Even drinking wine is considered healthy and necessary, within limits.

The nature of humanity is that extremism isn't good for us in anything. When we become obsessive about things, it's simply not healthy, and it doesn't matter if the things we become obsessive about are actually in the realm of health. There are people that work out constantly, thinking they're doing their body a lot of good, but the truth is that constant use of joints and muscles will tear them down and age you prematurely. As much as I like lifting weights, I'm very well aware that to gain visible muscle mass you actually have to lift more weights, more often, than is optimum for your physical health.

Bodybuilders limit the damage as much as they can by choosing to alternate body parts, but that's mostly because they've discovered it's counterproductive to work the same muscle group two days in a row - it tears the muscle down rather than building it up, because muscle is scar tissue that needs time to heal. They're not actually taking into account the real health of their bodies, however. According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, ten minutes of resistance training, three times per week, is what is needed to maintain and build muscle mass and slow down aging, without causing damage to your body. I'll be the first to admit that I go over that when I'm doing my weight routine, but I'm pretty tame. My routine is around fifteen minutes every day, and I combine isometric and dynamic tension while I lift - when I'm doing it and not being a lazy git, that is...

As much as I prattle about balance in life, though, you'd think I would be better at it. I have a tendency to go all-out on things sometimes, and burn myself out so that I don't even want to look at it anymore. I'm being more careful about that. I'm just sitting back and enjoying what I'm doing, and not forcing myself to do stuff I'm not in the mood for. I was actually doing too much writing at one point, and realized I needed to slow it down. It was getting to where I didn't want to write at all. The depressing subject matter didn't help. When you write about nothing but the crappy things people do to one another, and to other living things, it can suck the life right out of you.

I've also been scattering my focus too much for me to find real balance, or to achieve anything real. Not to mention doing stuff I never wanted to do. It's hard to be passionate about things when you just don't care about them, and if something is worth doing, it's worth being passionate about it. Not obsessive, just passionate. Mostly I'm talking about my writing, and how I haven't been doing the fiction stuff that got me into writing in the first place. In my head there have always been those, "What would it be like if..." thoughts. I wanted to walk through a scene in my head, watching it play out. I would talk to myself, out loud, as I ran dialogue between people. Well, to be fair I do that about real people, too, and not just my characters, but I can pretend it's a writing thing so people don't think I'm completely off my nut when they hear me having a full-blown conversation with thin air.

Now that I've finally sorted through the crap that needed so desperately to be handled, I can take a moment to breathe and see where I'm really at. I can pat myself on the back and play for a while. I can make a few lists about my goals for the future, and then I can get on with doing the things I enjoy and do best. To start, I'm going to relax and do pretty much nothing tonight. I'll play for a while, eat, and then go to bed and read. Tomorrow is soon enough to crack the whip, and you know self-flagellation has its rewards, too. It's all about balance.