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fast, slow; high, low

March 12, 2016

When I was still employed, I remember my brain working faster than it does now. When I took ADD medication, my brain, on occasion, was lightning fast.

Nowadays, my brain is slow, ponderous.

I generally have very little (physical or emotional) energy.

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It’s occurred to me to wonder — if I could somehow regain the energy I think I used to have — what good use could I put it to? My days don’t require much achievement. Wouldn’t I then be frustrated that gobs of energy were going to waste?

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The best job I ever had {where I was ~30% satisfied} was administrative. Lots of (mostly pointless) paper pushing, that, since I left, has been automated.

I felt really good about 5 projects I did there. I estimate they each required +/- 3 weeks of work. 15 weeks is approximately 3.5 months.

I worked at that job… for 51 months. So, I was happily productive for <7% of the time I was there.

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Back when my brain was really fast (which it was, on that job), if I paced myself, and tried to go as s-l-o-w as I could stand to go (so I wouldn’t run out), I could sometimes manage to find… 10 whole hours of work to do, in a week (37.5 hours there). That’s approximately 27%. The rest of the time, I was required to “look busy”, even though I was bored stiff. That’s where I took up Sudoku, timed online Sudoku. I surfed the ‘net. I read books. I did (grad school) homework. I looked for stuff to help my coworkers with. I daydreamed. I found classes I could take for ‘professional development’. I attended local conferences.

I thought about… how I could better use the time & energies I had, in a job that was a better fit. I applied for any job posting I saw that looked suitable. I talked to the head of our department about making better use of my talents. I also came up with an idea for a job I could originate, and proposed that idea to a (different) higher up. None of that came to any useful result.

My brain was… a cheetah. Yoked to a plow 5-10 hours a week. Sitting idle in the barn another 27-32 hours a week.

After 51 months, I quit ‘to do something more creative’. It took me, hmmm, 2.5 years to find something truly more creative.

Basically, it wasn’t until I wasn’t employed anymore that I could actually create whenever I wanted to. I got on Flickr the day before I started this blog, in October 2009. I’ve taken ~ 30,000 photos. I’ve written >500,000 words. I’ve written 100+ poems. I’ve painted. I’ve sewed. I’ve woven. I’ve decorated. I’ve cooked. I’ve dyed fabric. I took a singing class. I knit (knitted?). I attended a writer’s retreat. I’ve embroidered. I’ve been a stylist for Spouse’s photo sessions. I’ve made garments. I took a science writing class. I attended environmental conferences. I created an art exhibit catalog (tapestries); I was a volunteer curator of a fiber art exhibit (crochet, knit). I’ve not-gardened.

Except for the stuff I’ve posted on my blogs, or Twitter (or Flickr), no one but Spouse has seen any of my individual efforts. Oh wait, I’ve submitted poems for publication too; they were all rejected.

I felt anonymous at my admin job, a cog in an enormous wheel. In my everyday life, I’m also anonymous, unsung, incognito.

No matter what I’ve worked on, how much I totally love it seems inversely proportional to how much anyone else cares about it.

I want to RUN, flat out. And I could. (Probably. For a short distance anyway.) But no one cares. I’m not part of anything larger — although I’ve tried to be, over and over. The ways I want to contribute are not what any group will accept from me. Definitely, positively, none of my efforts will be, in any way, celebrated. Or encouraged to go further.

So… what do I need more energy for?

Isn’t it possible that my brain/bodymind has looked around, realized the niche I’m currently filling, and decided there’s no point whatsoever in going to the trouble of Creating Gobs of Energy that will sit idle? Or that I’ll try to use, only to be frustrated yet again.

I was certainly almost-continuously frustrated in the 20+ years I was working. I was frustrated during college and grad school.

My whole life has been intensely frustrating.

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With my current levels of low energy, I… don’t have the energy to be ‘intensely frustrated’, except in unusual circumstances.

I don’t have the energy to fret about how I could be doing great things, for something somewhere, but no one cares about helping me do that.

I don’t have the energy to keep doing cool projects that I know no one will ever see.

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Why is that bad?

Why am I trying to ‘fix’ that?

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Maybe my ‘low’ energy is, finally, a perfect fit for my environment.

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