I made some changes

January 11, 2020

It’s snowing and has been most of the morning. It’s 17 degrees at 10am. I have a window cracked.

Things came to a head for me towards the end of the year. I was to the point that my head (dizziness, nausea, eye strain, etc.) felt more out of control than recall it being before. I had a bad month, October, which I don’t recall having a struggle for that long before. December had the additional stress of surgery for my my 1.5 year old boxer Todd to remove a growth from his shoulder. Thankfully it was benign. I had to limit his activity to nothing for over a month. I needed a big change.

My strategy for managing my head for the last 13 years was over a period of a week. I’d work until I couldn’t. I’d rest until I could work again. I’d work until I couldn’t and so on. I spent weekends recovering by sleeping or laying down with my eyes closed when I couldn’t sleep anymore. This up and down created extremes in my emotions and head which were difficult to deal with.

I made some changes.

  1. I changed my recovery period from 1 week to 1 day. The hope was to reduce the extremes and pay a smaller price more often than at the end of the week. I’ve stretched out my work day to have periods of work followed by periods of rest. I’m spending a half day in the office and the rest at home 5 days a week.
  2. I don’t spend time in my living room except to play with the dogs. My couch is difficult to get off of once seated. I’ve moved my guitars and records upstairs to an area of my bedroom. My second story has become my apartment in my own house. This means I don’t watch the TV in my living room. If I want to watch something I can use any of the devices I have. I haven’t watched anything yet. I may tonight. I cancelled all video subscriptions.
  3. I get up everyday at 5:30am if its a work day or not to keep my head in a routine.
  4. I do what passes for yoga in my world every morning for about 20 minutes in my apartment. Removing stress, either physical or mental, helps.
  5. I’ve taken up drawing. I started on my iPad with the Apple Pencil but I’ve moved to paper. Looking at LCDs has the largest negative effect on my eyes on a daily basis. A specialist I went to in Seattle told me I’d need to take on a profession that didn’t involve LCDs. I didn’t go back. Drawing gives my eyes a break and although it can be, and is maddening, it’s an activity with more options and paths to take than I could ever try. I won’t run out of options.
  6. I purchased two chairs and an area rug for my apartment towards the end of last year. I made a desk with my dad out of old barn wood from his uncle’s decrepit barn a few years ago. It’s all surprisingly comforting to sit at.

When at home the majority of my day is spent sitting at this desk in my apartment, listening to records, and working or attempting to draw. When I need a break from sitting at the desk there are plenty of tasks to perform around the house.

I’ve been at this for a week and it has made a difference. I went to an art supply store after work one day. I wouldn’t have attempted that before. I’m coming out the honeymoon period of the change now. It’ll be interesting to see what I keep and what I do away with.

I can see Rockhill Road out the window in front me. I watch people walking their dogs down the sidewalk. I’m listening to a record of a live U2 performance at Madison Square Garden contained in the Joshua Tree box set released a few years ago. On my desk I’m surrounded by pencils (colored and for sketching), pens, paper, erasers, and a lit Raspberry Vanilla candle (smells good). Todd’s sleeping under my desk awkwardly. Lucy is sleeping on my bed. It’s still snowing. I’m going to take out the Jeep for some fun.

This is good.


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