people as palimpsests and other geeky things

Warning – this isn’t a garden post

If only my work was this clear...

If only my work was this clear…

I stumbled across Wil Wheaton’s blog yesterday*. He’s not an actor I think much about; mostly I link him to the Star Trek: The Next Generation character Wesley Crusher who was generally disliked – by me too (I have enjoyed his more recent roles in The Big Bang Theory and Eureka). Now that I think about out it, I should have liked Wesley, because at the time we had so much in common. It was the late 80s and we were the same age. I was an air cadet in high school wanting to get into military college and become an officer – plus I was (and still am) a science fiction fan. Wesley, was also a cadet of sorts, wanting to get into Starfleet Academy and become an officer. Wesley’s fictional life was parallel to my own (minus the aliens and saving everybody). What turned out to be related was a podcast I recently listened to about palimpsests – ancient manuscripts over written by other manuscripts and how that idea can be applied to people in that our current self has over written our previous versions of self. So my teenage 80’s version of myself has been overwritten by other versions of me to the point I can no longer remember why I didn’t relate to Wesley Crusher.

As an aside, my teenage self over wrote my nature loving, garden keeper child self which is probably why I can remember what the garden looked like on the the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D – I can’t imagine it was featured in many episodes.

Back to my current self – Wil recently posted about the things he did to reboot his life for his 40s version of self that I related to (minus the depression and anxiety which I’ve luckily avoided). I’ve been in a tired funk, my PhD work has reached a non-exciting, but necessary stage full of ongoing drudgery. I’m near enough to the end that I spend a lot of time (often in the middle of the night) wondering what I’ll do when I’m done. I wonder if I even want to be a scientist. Graduation will result in a new version of self no matter what I choose to do. Plus, being around a small child with bountiful energy makes me wonder where my own energy has gone. Some days my tiredness extends to a brain fog which sucks out my creativity. I often think about all the projects I want to get done, but I don’t have the energy to get up and do them. So here’s my list, completely inspired by Wil’s list, of how I’m performing my own personal reboot.

1 – Get more sleep
I’ve always been an insomniac – at night my mind races, keeping me awake. If I’m not careful, my monkey mind takes over leading me into negative loops where I think up all the bad things that could happen but probably won’t (I do have tricks to deal with this). I’ve known for a long time that meditation can help racing minds, I just need to do it regularly. I got some relaxation herbal tea and epsom salts for my bath, both of which might help (at the very least, the placebo effect is real). I’m also going to bed earlier because sleeping in no longer happens here.

2 –   Exercise regularly
Since I became a mom the amount of exercise I get has dropped off. I used to do (and love) both Cross Fit and martial arts, now I don’t have time to do either. It has become incredibly easy to slip into a cycle of inactivity where I become achy and tired-er. What I can fit in is running and yoga/stretching, so I need to stay on the band wagon with these. Plus when I regularly run I sleep better.

3 – write everyday
For over 20 years I’ve kept a journal. When I consistently write in it I feel more balanced and creative ideas start to flow. I need to take the time to be consistent with my journal writing. I also need a creative outlet to vent into while working on hard stuff (currently my Phd). In the past, I’ve used writing fiction as a this outlet – I’ve written four novels this way (I’ve done nothing with any of them). So, last July I started puttering on a new novel which I’m going to keep poking at.

4 – socialize more with like minded people
I generally work alone, so I don’t get much workplace chatting. I’m also an introvert, so I’m happy working alone which is a bit of a trap as a lot of new ideas can come from others. I do get together with friends once a week to play board games and chat which is awesome. I need to find/create more of this kind of socializing as it can energize me.

5 – do something with my hands everyday
At this stage, my work is in my head with some reading, writing and computing. I need to balance this with working with my hands and creating something tangible. Besides, while working with my hands ideas churn somewhere in the bilges of my brain often resulting in interesting new thoughts. My garden counts towards this kind of work as does cooking and preserving food (hence all the writing about my urban homestead). Now that the rainy season is approaching, I need to keep that momentum going.  My answer here has been sewing, which I haven’t blogged about before. I’ve been making clothes for my husband and myself (my daughter insists of wearing items with animals on them and has bags of hand-me downs so I’m not making stuff for her at the moment). Sewing presents an additional double good in my view as I tend to worry about the origins of things and the garment industry is laced with poor worker treatment – if I sew my own clothes I don’t have to worry about sweatshops while ending up with clothes that fit.

Image is from here

* I think I’ll start following his blog as I’m finding his writing more interesting than the characters he plays.