Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A few extra goals, and the word of the year

I don't usually do a "word of the year", but I have one on my mind, so why not?

It was going to be "persevere", but after two conversations with the folks at the sandwich shop next door, I've decided a more appropriate word is "allow".

Many of us are too hard on ourselves. If I had a superhero name, it would be The Overanalyzer. I look at numbers and societal norms, and I try to fit in. It's a bad idea, and a futile one at that. I'm not normal, and my circumstances aren't normal. Normal is based on the majority's accepted ideals, but I have to accept the fact that I am not in the majority. I have to set my own ideals, based on my life, no matter what others think of me. It's not their existence and not their business.

In my immensely-exhausted state, I have managed to make a few plans that I did not include in my list of annual goals. They're not very interesting, but I'm going to talk about them anyway.

I plan to cook (and eat) only as necessary.

My abilities are limited, to say the least. Sometimes, I spend too much time cooking (and in result, cleaning the kitchen), which ultimately makes me too tired and weak to do anything else. Bulk cooking soup for the freezer helps, and Schwan's has been beneficial to an extent. I plan to continue to do that during the cooler months, but it's not an ideal thing to do year-round in a tropical climate (storms = power loss = food loss). I want to make life easier with high-protein sandwiches, drinks, salads, and other foods that don't require a lot of effort. I'm not able to eat as much as I used to, so I'm going to eat smaller. I want to get away from "combo" meals when I go out, and I'm trying to get out of the mindset that a balanced meal is necessary. I don't have to follow guidelines for consuming food - meat, grains, dairy, vegetables, etc. - that are set for a typical adult. If I want to buy a rotisserie chicken and spend the day eating it, and nothing else, I am allowed to do that. If I want to eat a bowl of green beans, and nothing else, I am allowed to do that. If I want to eat peanut butter with a spoon out of the jar, I am allowed to do that. If I want to shovel in a handful of chocolate chips and call it a meal, I am allowed to do that.

I've had enough of the metaphorical flashing sign that demands that I eat a certain number of calories (and protein, and sugar, and fiber, etc.) per day. If I'm not dying of obesity, anorexia, or other acute food-related medical condition, do not intervene. That's me, talking to me. That's also me talking to anyone who says I'm wrong unless I do things the way they think I should. I told the sandwich shop manager today "We need to allow ourselves to live and stop being so hard on ourselves about everything. We only get one life."

Interestingly, my bathroom scale bit the dust on New Year's Eve. At first I was like NOOOOOO but then I said to myself "Self, this is a great opportunity to not replace the battery. It's doing you no favors anyway." That said, I will allow myself to stop looking at the scale. I still see doctors 4 to 6 times a year, and they always weigh me (whether I like it or not). Therefore, I won't be completely in the dark. I think about my weight too much, and I feel that I'll be better off mentally and emotionally if I cut myself a little slack.

I plan to sleep more, no matter when, where, how, and so forth.

I never, and I mean NEVER sleep at night. Sleep happens, if at all, during the average person's awake time. People love to bring this up to me, as if I wasn't aware, and as if I haven't strove for typical human slumber. Trust me, I KNOW. This has been a lifelong problem, and you pointing it out is not a solution. If the only time my body rests is during the day, so be it. This is my #1 battle in life, and I'm going to fight for it. For the sake of all that is right and good in the world, just let me rest, whatever it takes. I'm often my own enemy, but that's over. I will stop trying to fit into the societal norm of being up and around during the hours of blah blah and sleeping during the hours of whatever. I am tired of feeling guilty for lying in bed trying to sleep when everyone else is being productive. Everyone else doesn't have systemic disease. Everyone else doesn't have weak, failing muscles. Everyone else doesn't feel the non-stop pain or have to deal with debilitating, life-threatening symptoms on a regular basis. Everyone else would be doing the same if they never slept at night, and I wouldn't judge them for it. I've been alive 39 years, and I'm lucky I've made it this far. I will allow myself all of the rest that my broken body requires to make it through that annoying part of the day called "awake", no matter how abnormal my schedule becomes.

I plan to budget, somehow, without fear and obsession.

I am a heavy-duty financial planner. I am determined to know where every dollar goes, and I have done so since I was a teen. That's a great thing, and I highly recommend it for anyone with an income, but I let it get to me to the point of anxiety and depression. I run out of money before the end of every month, and that's a challenging way to live. It's hard not to panic and meltdown. I think about what I shouldn't have spent money on. I beat myself up and try to find ways to avoid it the next month. I don't care for shopping. I don't have many possessions. I've done things like reschedule doc appointments and try to force myself into an unreasonable grocery allowance, and I still have no money by the end of the month. I have to allow myself to face the facts and remember that worrying isn't going to solve anything. I have to eat. I have to go to the doctor. I have to have transportation. I have to pay for insurance and keep the power on and buy toilet paper. I'm really good with money, but the fact of the matter is my income is too meager to not run out. It's just reality. While prioritizing my budget and basic necessities, I must also allow myself to exist in the real world as much as possible. That means occasionally participating in a pot luck, or attending a cheap local event with my walker in tow, or visiting relatives, or watching a movie with friends once a year. There's nothing wrong with living. It would be of more concern if I didn't try to do these things.

In a nutshell, I need to allow myself to do all things in the way it suits my survival and well-being, without regard to expectations or judgment.

Wish me luck.