Bouncing Back

Today I let my legs do my thinking for me. I had a lot to work out on this morning’s walk and I wondered if my route was going to be long enough. Walking helps to clear my head but it’s only really the beginning of the day’s therapy; at some point you have to come back hit the day’s targets. This morning, tropical winds brought the dust and debris from the Iberian forest fires and obfuscated the sun’s wavelength of blue light. This caused the sun to rise a deep red, before going a sharp, neon orange- a perfect circle, and ultimately settling into an indistinct, shapeless and colorless blast. It’s beautiful, even though it comes from a place of suffering. The universe is a wholly ambivalent thing, but there is so much poetry in violent skies.

I tried not to look at the sun and pressed ahead. My legs felt weak and starved of proper use. They were reminding me that I hadn’t used them all weekend. I thought about how often I’ve been here- trying to restart my rhythm. Recently I’ve been waking up depressed, and when I have a bad start to the day it’s hard to turn it into something. I’m not entirely sure what it is, but for weeks now I’ve sensed the coiling tentacles of anxiety tighten their grip. I’ve felt immobilized. It’s been a while since I’ve had a panic attack, and 2017 has largely been a year of recovery. Hell, this blog wouldn’t even be possible if it weren’t.

What’s been so frustrating recently is that this latest dark cloud has been so hard to shake off. I’ve come to terms with the fact that there will be good weeks and bad ones, but this most recent episode has proven a resilient obstacle to my progress. Life just seems so heavy. I’m cursed with regular headaches and I’m not advancing on any of my projects. It’s not the problem I had in 2015 and 2016, where I simply didn’t want to even attempt to help myself and struggled to find the most simple reason to get out of bed and try something. Now I have ambitions. I actually want to live. The problem I have right now is enacting those ambitions.

It’s been a bit of a turbulent month as far as my work goes. I’ve been unsatisfied with the pace of my progress, and I’ve tried a few times to shake things up. I know I’m not happy with the way things are. I’m angry at myself for my lack of willpower and my failure to really get going on these projects. However, as I reached the final third of my walk this morning, a thought occurred to me. My legs were indeed telling me something. My sense of physical weakness reflected what was going on inside. My legs taught me that the most important part of a vigorous, productive lifestyle is bouncing back. The quicker the better. I’m tired of building momentum from scratch. If I’m exercising every day, then my body adapts to the routine. A single activity- be it a morning’s walk or anything else- becomes easier when it’s in the context of an ongoing routine. And it’s the same with writing or anything else you’re trying to do. Whenever you are designing a productive schedule, be sure to include a failsafe. Going forward I’m going to try and do a better job of bouncing back. Life will inevitably get in the way and sometimes you’ll just run out of steam. The important thing- the most important thing in my opinion- is the swiftness of your response.

Thematically you can consider this post a kind of sequel to my essay Notes on Productivity & Procrastination, in which I list a few tricks to help get yourself out of a rut and start being creative and productive. But in all honestly, this is more a spiritual successor to my post on The Love of Friendship. I like to think of it as a journal entry that I share with you; something unplanned and unstructured- a “thought of the day”. I intend to release more of these whenever the mood strikes me; they’re going to be short, spontaneous posts that detail my journey.

Thanks for reading!

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