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low energy, optimized

December 21, 2014

Earlier today, Spouse gave me side-eye for not changing out of my pajama bottoms until afternoon — which is actually what I do almost every day, unless I have some pressing reason to go out into public places.

Didn’t have the energy to spare to be defensive about it, but it kind of bugged me. He “unwinds” from his stressful job by watching sports on TV. Which is fine. Except that, on weekends, that means hours and hours and hours of the TV being on: football all day on Sundays; college basketball all day on Saturdays.

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As I was feeling downhearted about how many low-energy days I have these days, a stray tendril of a thought occurred to me — an unsettling thought.

Spouse has one major hobby, still photography. He’s branching out into video lately.

He spends hours and hours on Tumblr, or looking at cameras online. There’s the above sports-watching. There’s watching one of the LOTR movies for the quadrillionth time. He does read books, but only before bed.

He hasn’t written poetry since we were newlyweds, 20 years ago. He doesn’t write letters, cards, or emails to people. He doesn’t blog. He played bass guitar in a band as a teenager, but no longer owns the instrument.

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I get down on myself for “not accomplishing much” (now that I’m chronically ill) but . . . I’m doing stuff, usually creative stuff, for most of the time I’m awake. Every day.

It’s true I don’t have a job, so I have hours and hours available that Spouse doesn’t, but . . . I never watch TV during the week. (And extremely rarely on the weekends, when I’m usually sitting with him for hour, watching football or basketball. It’s not shows I picked out.)

I’m not on Tumblr or Facebook anymore. I am on Twitter a lot, but I have a bunch of friends there, so I’m being social with them, and/or learning. I’m often inspired to make things for my friends, or because my friends sparked ideas. This past week, it’s been snowflake stencils (for illustrated envelopes of the winter holiday cards I sent out), which morphed into the snowflakes being a separate thing that some people are getting mailed to them. If I didn’t have friends to send things to, I’d never have thought of that whole project.

Early last week, I sent out a box of gifts to one set of friends: New Year’s, and birthday gifts: 6 in all. I wrapped and be-ribboned each present in a different way. These friends are all artists — they were delighted with the care I’d taken, and how pretty everything was. They posted photos on Twitter. They were so excited and happy, in real time — that was the most joyful day I’ve had in a long while.

{And because of it, I discovered joy for me can be social, outside of childhood Christmases. Who knew?}

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Spouse probably has me beat on the number of photographs he’s taken this year. That’s his primary hobby after all.

In 2014:

I’ve still taken several thousand photos.

I’ve become friends with at least 4 people on Twitter; I’m part of larger friend-groups, so I have friendly relationships with ~20-30 people I talk to pretty regularly; and a lot more people, infrequently. [I currently have >800 followers on Twitter.]

I wrote letters to 23 people (some, more than once).

I more than doubled / almost tripled the number of poems I wrote in 2013.

I experimented with hybrid poetic forms.

I attended my first poetry festival.

I was a fiction and poetry beta reader for 5 people.

I read so many books on poetry, of poetry, literature, writing, translation . . . n = 120, out of ~ 200 books altogether.

I went to DC to attend (a very small part of) a professional conference for neuroscience, and to meet in person a Twitter-friend.

I kept the potager [garden of potted plants on our balcony], as I have every year since 2011.

I practically dismantled my entire wardrobe, and rebuilt it almost-from-scratch.

I was an integral force on visits to Spouse’s ailing mother, overwhelmed father.

I did 6 months of weekly sessions of very intense psychotherapy, including releasing bodily trauma patterns; dance movement; dream interpretation. (Requiring driving 100+ miles round-trip)

And I wrote 98 blog posts, comprising >95,000 words.

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None of the above suggests “lazy person who barely does anything worthwhile”, does it?

I think I’ve reflexively been being way too hard on myself.

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