I Repeat Myself When Under Stress

There are two major themes running through this blog: how often I go long periods of time without writing and my health.  Well, that might get old, but those are two of the major themes running through my life, and they’re actually linked quite closely.

I’m a busy guy. I try to stay organized, I try to stay motivated, I try to stay focused and I try to stay on top of things. Yet, no matter what I do, it never seems like enough. There’s always some important task I missed, something I didn’t prioritize properly. The one thing I always fail to make a priority is myself. I rarely (if ever) take the time to pursue my own interests or desires, or even just kick my feet up and relax. That needs to change.

One of my interests is writing. I get a lot of satisfaction from getting my thoughts down in words, and I frequently find that the process of choosing those words helps to clarify my thoughts. So, I’m going to try to write more, first in this blog, and maybe eventually getting back to the book I started. I have plenty of other interests and desires, but for now, let’s just see if I can do some more writing.

My failure to take care of myself has resulted in a wide array of health issues, many of which can be linked quite easily to stress. When I get stressed, I try to compensate by putting in longer days. I get worn out, and when I get worn out, I eat. The more worn out I get, the more I eat junk food. Then I start piling on weight, which aggravates my back, knee and foot problems. Those problems generally make me work more slowly, which makes me fall further behind, which stresses me out. Repeat as necessary.

I can’t stand it anymore. Things have to change. I have to take control of my physical and mental health.

I’m the kind of guy who needs some hard numbers to work with, so Monday I ordered a scale online. It arrived Wednesday. I hopped on. 276. Two hundred and seventy-six pounds. That’s not good.

So I signed up with Weight Watchers. I typed in my information, and came up with 190 pounds as a healthy goal. (Yes, I know, weight should not be a sole indicator of one’s health, but at this stage, I just need to drop some weight. I have other goals, like touching my toes and spending a few minutes a month not in pain, but those will get addressed later.) That means I have 86 pounds to lose. Eighty-six pounds. I need to 86 those 86 pounds.

Now, here I am, on day 3 of my new Weight Watchers lifestyle. I carefully look up everything I eat and log it in to my account. By early evening, I’ll be trying to figure out how much I can eat before bedtime. If things go well, I’m guessing I’ll need to do this for about a year. I really hope this translates into feeling better relatively soon, or it’s gonna get pretty tough.

My mental health is another issue. To kick things in the right direction, I just bought my ticket to see the Adrian Belew Power Trio and Stick Men (Tony Levin, Pat Mastelotto and Markus Reuter) at the Cedar. They’re each playing a set, then teaming up to perform some of the King Crimson double trio material. I saw Stick Men at the Cedar last summer, and it was pure awesomeness. Now, it shall be pure awesomeness with some Adrian Belew on top.

I’m also getting more aggressive at seeking out paying work. Bills are stressful, and money helps pay bills. I have no problem working for free, as long as I know it up front.

An a related note, I’m also weeding out some negative influences in my life. I’m getting a little tired of ‘friends’ who only contact me when they need help with a project, offer to pay me for it (usually at cost plus beer, ’cause they’re friends), then stiff me and disappear. (The best is when I do a CD for someone, I get stiffed, then they ask me to BUY a copy of it.) I like friends more than I like money, so I’m always happy to help out and I don’t always need to get paid. But quite honestly, if I only hear from you every 18 months, and you just happen to need my help when I do, you’re stretching the word ‘friend’ to its limits.

So, it’s a start. I’ve got a long way to go, but it’s a start.