Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #16

  1. When I came back to Twitter this time around, I decided to stop being so stingy and just fave and retweet whatever strikes my fancy. I don’t know why I’m like this. Perhaps because I remember the earliest days of Twitter when we couldn’t do either. You couldn’t even talk to people then, not directly, not with an @. And in those earliest days of Twitter, I was the only one of my friends there. My timeline was just me. But that’s not true anymore.
  2. I’ve been using the official Twitter app because I’ve been trying to use stock apps when available. The one thing I don’t like is the ads. This week, I started blocking every promoted tweet that shows up in my timeline. It’s made for an interesting look at the variety of brands that pay for tweets. After nearly 11 years on Twitter, you’d think they’d have a better idea of what kinds of things I want to see.
  3. When I came back to Twitter this time around, I also decided to follow a whole bunch of people. For the longest time, I had kept my followers below 50, mostly people I actually know, have actually met, friends of friends, or writers I really love. But that low number meant I also had a quiet timeline, and sometimes in those quiet moments, I’d go searching random timelines just for something else to read. It’s a bad habit that has trapped me many times before. So I just followed everyone who seemed interesting.
  4. But now that it’s been a month of being back on Twitter full-time (and I regretfully do mean full-time), I’m unfollowing again without prejudice. Everyone uses Twitter differently, and that’s OK. The promise of the internet, 20 years ago, was that we get to make it what we want. 20 years later, I’m still figuring it out, but I have a better idea of what I’m looking for.

I’m housesitting for the next few weeks. The good things about this are: a cat to pet, a back porch to sit on, and a different point of view. The bad things are this are: the terrible wifi that had me offline most of the day when I needed to be working in Google Docs.

I don’t want to be addicted to the internet, but my anxiety was the worst it’s been in months during those few hours. So that’s another bad thing.

Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #13

  1. My parents’s pool is finally up for the summer. Even though I live just up the hill from the beach, I would always rather swim in a pool than the ocean. Fewer kids, fewer fish, fewer people flying drones overhead.
  2. I have always been the kind of person who inches their way into the way. I grew up swimming in lakes, and our lakes here in BC, they’re not just cold; they’re glacial. But my first time in the pool this season, I jumped straight in. It felt good. Not the water–that was cold. But just doing it felt good. No hesitation.
  3. After I swam, I read magazines and played cards. I’ve been trying to do more AFK lately. Playing solitaire with real cards on the table, instead of an app on my phone. It’s nice not looking at the screen.
  4. Milos Raonic has been winning at Wimbledon, which makes me proud and nervous at the same time. It’s always nice to see a Canadian athlete succeed. But he’s never been very good at closing out his matches. I’m always anxious when I watch him play, so I’m grateful for the wins.

Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #12

  1. Not exactly sure yet what the Twitter app is doing for me this week, but we are what we repeatedly scroll. I didn’t have a cell phone when I joined Twitter in 2006, but in 2010, when I bought my first–the iPhone 4–Tweetbot was among the first apps I bought. This time around, though, I’m trying the official Twitter app, and except for the ads in my timeline, I like it.
  2. As I look at Twitter now, at 9pm on the west coast, all the brands are firing up their social media celebrations for Canada Day tomorrow. If you, like me, are looking at that celebration and finding a lot of emptiness, follow @resistance150 for some different voices.
  3. My anxiety management group ended this week. In two years, I’ve worked my way through most of the groups the mental health program has to offer. Now I wait, my name on a six-month list, for the last group, the next level: advanced self-reflection. Until then, I’ve expanded my list of little achievements in the back of my notebook to an hourly time log. It’s too easy to let the morning get away from me, but having to face the truth of catching myself four hours in a row on Twitter makes me get up and do something else.
  4. Häagen-Dazs gelato was on sale at the grocery store. Little achievements lead to little rewards. That’s how I get myself to the end of every week.

Every night I tell myself, I’m going to go to sleep early, and I’m going to get up early. Some nights that happens, but most mornings, it does not. It doesn’t seem to matter what time I went to sleep, or how many alarms I set, I will always find a reason to stay in bed just five minutes longer.

The good thing is every night is another chance, and every morning is a new day.

Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #11

  1. My sleep schedule still needs work, but the one habit that’s sticking is showering and getting dressed first thing after getting up. It’s too easy to laze around all morning in my pyjamas, but if I’m dressed, I’m motivated to find something to do. Maybe even get out of the house.
  2. When I do go out, I’m trying to pack food and not spend money. In my Christmas stocking one year, I received Rubbermaid Take Alongs: segmented plastic containers. They’re perfect for lunch on the go. There’s a big compartment and a small compartment, and you can put anything you want in them because they don’t leak.
  3. Another way I’m saving money is growing my own vegetables. My grandmother started the plants, and then I took over. I have big sunny windowsills, but the containers weren’t thriving there. Now they live on my patio where it’s more shady. The basil hasn’t done well, the parsley didn’t survive my landlord power-washing, but I still have chives, kale, and Swiss chard. (The tomatoes aren’t ready yet.) I pick a few leaves when I come home from work, and then figure out what to make for dinner.
  4. Container gardening is so much easier, and I’ve been thinking a lot about how my best work is tiny work. Short stories, blog posts, zines made with a single sheet of paper. Tiny art, tiny books, tiny yoga?

Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #10

  1. Casual Friday, when I wear leggings, t-shirt, sports bra to work because I teach elementary kids after school, and they literally don’t care.
  2. Last week, I met some of my friends from my yoga teacher training, and we all admitted we haven’t done much practice since graduating. And then we created a class on the whiteboard (“Coming back to yoga”), and it was the first time I had been on a mat since March. As much as I needed that break after the six months intensive, I needed to come back, too.
  3. I had almost forgotten about the OMs and the chanting. They’ve never been my favourite part of yoga, the biggest reason being because they’re in Sanskrit, which I don’t speak. I am not Indian. The chanting feels a lot like praying to me, and I am not religious. But I am spiritual. I do believe in connecting with yourself and the earth. When I meditate, a chant that works for me is, “I am OK.” It’s four syllables, like there are four elements, four directions, and four items on this list.
  4. This weekend, I have no plans. That feels so good.

I used to work a monotonous factory job, 7pm-7am. It was easy, but it was long, and the machines were so loud, we couldn’t socialise. I learned how to keep my brain busy while my hands were working.

One thing I would do was challenge my memory. I would write all the lyrics to songs I knew. I would recite poetry. I would make a list of every US president. It’s worth noting that this was the early years of Wikipedia, but well before the iPhone, so it didn’t even matter. If I couldn’t remember something, there was no way to look it up. I had to wait out my shift before I could satisfy my curiosity.

With all the publicity about the 150th anniversary of Confederation, I wondered if I could name all the Canadian Prime Ministers. We’re a hundred years younger than the US, and we don’t have term limits, so the list is much shorter than presidents. I wondered if I could name more US presidents than Canadian PMs. That would be embarrassing.

So I made two lists in my notebook. I looked up the numbers, so I knew what to aim for. I missed 9 from both lists, which is a weird coincidence. Of course, by the percentages, I lost my challenge. I named 80% of US presidents, but only 61% of Canadian PMs. The most embarrassing Canadian PM I forgot is John Diefenbaker, which is a name you’d think I’d remember. The most embarrassing US president I forgot is James Madison, who is a main character in HAMILTON. Sorry, Oak.

Four Things That Are Working For Me This Week #8

  1. This weekly post is the easiest thing I write every week. As I do more therapy, I’m thinking more about routines and habits. They’ve often been very hard for me to maintain. But I can see (and feel) the difference, the benefit. Every day, I write down my little achievements in the back of my notebook, but this post is a celebration of the bigger things.
  2. One of the hardest habits for me to maintain is a consistent sleep schedule. I used to be an inveterate night owl, but over the last few years, I’ve managed to curtail staying up past midnight. Getting up early in the morning, though, is still hard. So I bought a cheap battery-powered alarm clock to help. I used to use my phone as my alarm, which has its benefits. The alarms are automatically reset, and you can set multiple times. My new clock only has one alarm, and I have to remember to turn it on before I go to bed. But it means I’m not bringing my phone to bed. I’m not looking at the screen last thing before I sleep and first thing in the morning.
  3. I’ve done something else to discourage me from reaching for my phone. I deleted Safari, Wikipedia, YouTube, iBooks, and all games. Not only does it mean I’m more likely to write in my notebook when I’m out than stare at my phone, but the battery lasts longer during the day.
  4. My students got me sick again last week. It’s mostly a head cold, but terrible nonetheless. This is the second time I’ve been sick in a month. This is the risk of working with elementary school students. The cough is proving hardest to get rid of this time around. I hadn’t noticed before that Halls has encouraging messages printed on the wrappers. “A pep talk in every drop.” (en français: “A pastille qui en a dedans.”) Being sick makes being alone so much harder. It’s nice to know the brands are rooting for me.