Monday, April 11, 2011

monthly projects are hard

The Month of Xtreme Thr!ft was great. I ended the month feeling happy and well balanced and in control of my wallet. I learned more about my spending habits and spending style and, even if I did spend a lot in March, I am very confident in nearly all of my purchases. yay.

The Month of No Complaining was horrible. I did learn a lot. I learned that I complain a lot. I learned I complain most to those I love the most. So not cool.

In exchange for not complaining, I offered myself treats--lots of cookies! Very bad idea.

For the past three weeks or so, I've felt very off balance. After I turned in the first draft of dissertation chapter two (March 16, not that I noticed) I read several memoirs about silence and the search for silence. One of these books (A Book of Silence by Sara Maitland) was wonderful. I look forward to reading it again and I am worried to read it again--what if it doesn't live up to the feeling I currently have for it? I digress. Reading Maitland's book, I had a two-pronged "aha" moment--first, I require a lot of alone time and second, I don't like to multitask when it comes to sound.

I enjoy my time with others much more when I have had enough quality solitary time. I knew already that I am and can be quite satisfied with my own company. I hadn't quite realized that I need solitary time of a certain kind (or of certain kinds) in order to relax and behave around others. Wasting/wasted time is not quality alone time. Sitting on the couch wondering what to do next, wandering from kitchen to office putting off chores, lying in bed when I am no longer sleepy are not restorative for me. Time spent reading fashion magazines or trashy novels is not restorative. Watching movies can be mildly restorative or neutral.

Following a routine with my chores and keeping up on them is restorative. I vacuum on the weekends. I do dishes morning and evening. I do laundry once every week. I sweep every other day. When I am not overwhelmed by mess, maintaining my space is relaxing.

Time spent reading lovely books is restorative. Time spent walking along the lake is restorative. Time spent exercycling--as long as I make it at least 20 minutes--is restorative. Time spent in the Art Institute and reading certain blogs is restorative.

I seem to require an aesthetically positive and/or productive element in order to feel whole, balanced, and prepared to engage with others.

I don't like music when I take care of housework or when I read or when I write. I find it very distracting. I would rather do nothing else if I am listening to music. When I perform chores, I would rather focus upon them as chores.

Learning this was and continues to be very helpful.

Perhaps the fact of new or heightened awareness about my needs has left me a little sensitive, and perhaps this contributes to my sense of imbalance. Certainly learning how frequently I complain, feel sorry for myself, and make excuses for myself has been a disappointment.

I'm sure things will right themselves soon. But I am sensitive and then I am critical and snappish and then I am aware of my criticism and snappishness and become even more sensitive and even more disappointed. I need to sit down before I tumble into despair.

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