Dog notices opportunity for happiness, takes it.

There’s nothing quite like walking a dog to make one stop and take stock. Hankenstein decided to plop down in the grass, mid-walk, and stare at me with much wagging. That’s a pretty obvious request. (And he’s a stubborn little dog. So he won this one.)

I sat in the grass, let him roll around, and just listened to the sounds around me for a while.

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Think he was happy?

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TLDR: Dog notices opportunity for happiness, takes it.

Steps today: 6853
Steps this week:6853
Steps this month: 66,506

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The One Week Confession

Confession time. I haven’t been 100% on walking without listening to a podcast or audiobook.

Doing this challenge without the background noise is turning out to be harder than I thought. I thought I could just choose to not listen, but it turns out that I had to unsubscribe from all the podcasts. Then, when that didn’t work, I had to take them off my phone entirely. I’ll add a few back in when the month is done.

This is ridiculous. Podcasts, you are too good.

The Culprits:
Archive 81
ars PARADOXICA
The Black Tapes
The Bright Sessions
The Deep Vault
5 Live Science Podcast
Improvised Star Trek
Jim Harold’s Campfire
King Falls AM
Liberty
Lore
The Naked Scientists
The NoSleep Podcast
Penn’s Sunday School
Radiation World
Tanis
Wolf 359

I reserve the right to listen to Jim Harold’s Campfire and The NoSleep Podcast on Halloween. AFTER I’ve done the last post of the challenge.

I understand the importance of silence in the creative process, I really. It’s a dilemma, because it’s easier to get myself moving if I’ve got something I’m looking forward to listening to on the walk. But if I do that, I don’t spend the time brainstorming about what to write.

How about you, 31 Dayers and Five Fridayers? Have you cheated here and there? How did you get around it/trick yourself into doing better? Or did you?

TLDR: I am a cheating cheater, because podcasts are amazing.

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Steps today: 6808
Steps this week: 52,984
Steps this month: 52,984

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Hey you. Yes, you.

This post brought to you by 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes.

Today’s prompt: You.

You’re fucking awesome, you know that? From your toes to your crown, you are awesome. You’ve survived everything in your life – all the trials and challenges, all the bullshit, all the times you wanted to give up, and here you are.

Kudos.

I don’t care who you are, I feel such awe and gratitude for you, right here, right now.

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TLDR: You are awesome.

Steps today: 10,325
Steps this week: 46,176
Steps this month: 46,176

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Silence

This post brought to you by 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes.

Today’s prompt: Silence.

A large portion of the actually challenging part of this challenge isn’t the walking or the writing. It’s the silence.

I spent a large portion of my walking time today thinking about something Neil Gaiman said. It spoke to me at the time I read it, but today it really came home. In an interview with The Guardian, Gaiman said:

“People ask me where I get my ideas from, and the answer is that the best way to come up with new ideas is to get really bored.”

When I was motivated to write more (a LOT more), it was during a time in my life when I had long stretches of quiet. Outside of work, I mostly kept company with myself. I wrote letters in my head. I outlined stories and Mu* roleplaying guides. In short, I wrote like a fiend. I need to put down the podcasts, and back away slowly. (They can sense fear.)

So that’s what I’m doing this month. And Jibbers, is it challenging.

I’ve resorted to an app that rewards me for not looking at my phone or playing any sound on it. I’m also using the app to make sure I get these posts written (longhand) during work breaks. I’m sure there are a lot of options out there, but I’m using the Forest app. I think I may give binaural beats a try at some point, so that I can take a shot at walking meditation.

In the meantime, how the heck are all of you wild and crazy 31 Dayers and Five Fridayers managing to write a post every damn day? I’d love to know your secret(s).

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The day’s coming up sixes.

TLDR: Less noise = more creativity.

Steps today: 6666
Steps this week: 35,851
Steps this month: 35,851

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Storm’s coming.

This post brought to you by 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes.

Today’s prompt: Brew.

Oh yes, things are brewing. Mostly at work.

Where I work, the owner took an entire month off to take her family on a European vacation. Then she took a week off to visit Canada. We held down the fort, did her books, paid the bills, filled the role of receptionist, and generally acted as managers.

Bear in mind that we’re independent contractors, not employees. We didn’t get a penny for all this work. We worked for free, as a courtesy to keep the place running. Here’s the thing. It didn’t even earn us a thank you.

I’ve turned the work issues over and over in my head today, like a tumbler knocking the edges off rocks to polish them to a shine. When I’ve approached the owner in the past, it’s resulted in her getting angry, then punishing me by “accidentally” scheduling my clients with someone else. Again, contractor, not employee. No clients = no income.

I’m the kind of person who shows up early, checks the answering machine and returns calls, sweeps, mops, makes sure we have small bills in the cash drawer, that there are adequate cleaning supplies, and so on. I work my butt off to ensure that the day goes smoothly – it’s in my best interest, if nothing else.

And… it dawned on me that this is where I’m going wrong. I’m spending more time managing the place than the owner is. It’s making me unhappy. It’s not getting me anywhere. Why the hell am I doing it? It’s my default setting. It’s how I’ve always approached work. The end result has always been that I wind up doing the work of three people for the wage of one person. You’d think I’d have changed my ways before now, when I’m staring 41 in its beady little eyes.

Welp. No time like the present.

Beginning with tomorrow, my time is my own until the spa opens at 10:00. No more showing up early to put things in order. I did tell my fellow contractors this was going down, so that they’re not caught by surprise. I love my nail tech cohorts. They rock my socks.

Who else runs on this default setting? Has it bit you in the ass? Did you find a way to solve it?

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Yes, that’s right. TWENTY-FIVE FLOORS. My knees hate me. A lot. I guess I had some nervous energy to burn.

Steps today: 7031
Steps this week: 29,185
Steps this month: 29,185

TLDR: I’m trying to learn to do as little as possible, as well as possible.

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I hate you, door handle.

Lest you think the hardest part of my October walking/writing goal is the actual walking, let me tell you a little story.

I used to walk six miles a day as a matter of course. For years. It felt good, it gave me time to think all the thoughts I wanted to, and the strength of my writing was driven by the length of my stride.

People, early this year, I was down from walking six miles a day to walking about a mile and a quarter in a day. I also had stopped writing. Depression and anxiety were throwing daily blanket parties for me, and I don’t mean the fun kind.

I’d get up, get dressed from my hair to my shoes, and stand in front of the apartment door, with my gut churning acid and my chest heavy with dread. I’d put a hand on the doorknob, and start sweating. If I kept trying, I’d start shaking. Sometimes I’d feel like I was going to throw up.

It was like having a heat shimmer in my head that I couldn’t step through.

Sounds like fun, right? This would happen once, sometimes twice a week.

Welp. That’s no way to live. It took me four months to find and get into a behavioural health provider. I found out I’d been misdiagnosed for the past 20 years, and therefore mismedicated for that long, too. A little chemical adjustment, and now I only lose to anxiety once every eight weeks or so.

My steps slowly went up to 6500. It’s still a challenge some days, but it’s possible.

So this walk is more than just one foot in front of the other with a ridiculous little dog by my side. It’s me giving my lifelong major depressive disorder the big ole middle finger, 6500 times every day. Hard.

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TLDR: Anxiety and depression bad. Getting help good.

Steps today: 6751
Steps this week: 13,676
Steps this month: 13,676

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Wombat and Chupacabra Take a Walk

I’m boldly going where thousands have gone before, and participating in the Write 31 Days challenge, as well as the Five Minute Free Writes challenge.

My goal is to walk for 31 days, goofy North American Bristle Nosed Teacup Chupacabra* skipping by my side. Sans headphones. My goal is to walk 6500 steps a day, and then write. Yes, I know I’m meant to do 10,000 steps daily, but I’m working on “being as well as possible,” not “set myself up to fail miserably.”

Suck it, American Heart Association.

Why no headphones? Because I want to use the space between my ears to think about what I’m going to write, and also so that I can be more present to the experience. Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes**.

TLDR: Walk 31 days. Write about it.

1: Today! Right here! This very post!
2: I hate you, door handle.
3: My sights. Let me show you them.
4: Storm’s Coming.
5: Silence.
6: You. Yes, you.
7: The One Week Confession.
8: 6669 steps.
9: Dog notices opportunity for happiness, takes it.
10:
11:
12: Happy birthday to me / Sky? 5MF
13: Memento Mori (Aware) (?)
14: 5MF?
15: HALFWAY! / Move? ? 5MF
16: Little? 5MF
17: Study? 5MF
18: Neighbor? 5MF (People in my neighborhood.)
19: 5MF noticing with Hank
20: Weekend? 5MF
21: Happy anniversary to us. / 5MF?
22:
23:
24:
25: Sign? Crazy yard sale sign?
26:
27:
28: 5MF?
29:
30:
31: Here’s to you. Recap.

*aka “Hank.”
**Thanks, Walt Whitman.

PS.
If you want to be “Fitbit Friends,” drop me a line.

Steps today: 6925
Steps this week: 6925
Steps this month: 6925

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