Out of Office

I booked a holiday.

No, I booked a trip. It is a holiday for me, but since it isn’t to a tropical or foreign destination and I won’t be staying in hotels or doing touristy things I assume most people wouldn’t call it a holiday exactly.

I am going to go visit friends. I am going to not work for more than just a weekend. Maybe that is a better explanation, I am taking time off work, setting my out-of-office notification and going out of town.

The out-of-town part is important, because yes, I could take time off work here at home but at home, all the stresses of daily life are still there. You can see the projects around the house that you want to get done, you can make to-do lists and busy yourself. Going out of town means getting away from the stresses.

All of those stresses will still be here when I get back, no magic elves will come while I am away to make them disappear, unfortunately, but a break from them will do me some good.

Review: 4 out of 5 Stars*

This morning, as I do on most mornings, I was standing in my local coffee shop waiting for my order to be prepared and chatting with the staff. The owner came in staring at their mobile phone with a bit of a perplexed look on their face. When they noticed us looking at them, they told us that someone had left a review of the cafe online yesterday which included the line “…the AC was just way too cold for me! almost got frostbite”.

Let me note that, like many parts of the world, here in BC we’ve been having a late Summer heatwave and yesterday, in particular, had been one of the hottest days. People were purposefully seeking out places with AC to bask in the chill!

All day though this review was at the back of my mind.

The thing that nagged at me about the review was, despite thinking the cafe was great 4 out of 5 stars (I guess only body temperature cafes get full marks), it seemed like the most ridiculous thing to take time out of your day to post online! A person took time out of their, I am guessing not-so-busy, day to ensure this remark was forever linked to the cafe via the interwebs. Why?

I even made the comment to the owner that this was why some people don’t deserve the internet.

I realize that is a slightly odd thing for me to say, as I am posting on the internet myself, but there is a big difference between me typing words into the void that barely anyone will read and going to a company’s website to make a backhanded remark that the company has no ability to remove or really comment on (because what is there to say to that?).

Admittedly, I am a venter by nature, when something bothers me I will heatedly and loudly exclaim my displeasure to my friends/co-workers…in the privacy of…the real world.

I actively think about what I am putting out into forever – because the internet is forever. I mentally determine and measure potential outcomes before I decide to post anything be it photos or writing, asking myself questions like would I be embarrassed, now or in the future, by someone finding this? Will it be injurious to someone if I post this? It isn’t that I want to put bland content into the world, but I don’t want to drag down the IQ of the entire universe with useless nonsense (some nonsense is entertaining and I’m not talking about that).

No, this innocuous little comment by a random coffee drinker (if I am being extra judgemental, they probably don’t even drink coffee. 😒) doesn’t really hurt anyone. It is just one example of how often people don’t think through their actions when they have easy access to a worldwide audience (or a few hundred in this case).

Yes, I am an overthinker of the highest order, but more and more frequently I will see or read or hear something and my immediate response is, why? Did that need to be shared with the world? Couldn’t you have just thought it through and come to the conclusion that the only reason you are doing it is so more people can “see” you? A little more thinking and less instantaneous (and permanent) reaction will do the entire world good.

Did I need to write this? Nope. Am I doing it anyway? Yup, because this is my little piece of the Forever Digital and I can.

But hey, if I knew the person that wrote that review I would have told them it was pointless too – consistency IRL and online!

*The temperature in my home is perfect, but I have no coffee so…

Dear Diary,

Er, Internet?

Tomorrow is June 30th. Another six months of another year gone. <Insert comment on time having no meaning>. It has been so long since I’ve written. (Isn’t that just how the diary entries go, bizarrely conversational as if writing inane letters to your future self about the mundanity of your current life.)

I’ve been thinking about this site, actually, that isn’t true, the idea of this site has been floating around in the periphery of my thoughts. The other day my URL was renewed, and I wondered to myself, why do I keep paying to have this thing that I rarely use?

Sure every once in a while I go through a phase of putting my thoughts out there for the world, not that anyone asked for them. It isn’t necessary, sometimes it can be cathartic, yelling into an eternal void (because yes, even if I deleted this entire website tomorrow you know there is an archived version somewhere – the internet is eternal (this is your reminder, in case you forgot)). Is there a point though?

A comic once called blogging ‘a conversation no one asked to have’, or something along those lines, the premise I suppose being that the entire world doesn’t really need to hear people whinge about <fill in the blank>. Though isn’t that what we have turned the internet into? No one is forced to come to this site and read my ramblings though (my view counts prove that), so if few to no people are reading this, then why bother?

Why not just pick up a journal and a pen to write pedantic ramblings in, to one day look back on and think ‘wow, I am good at complaining about nothing’ or ‘that wasn’t really that dramatic’? Don’t worry, I have one of those too, where I keep my most embarrassing/idiotic thoughts (please make sure someone burns those WITHOUT reading them, once I die).

Back to the point at hand, why bother having this site if I am not going to, at the very least, post occasional drivel? Since I have now paid for a whole year longer owning the domain, I guess I should get the most out of that money, which these days could have bought me at least two coffees.

So dear Internet, what should I fill these infinite pages with?

Since there isn’t really anyone to answer that, I guess I’ll just keep writing whatever randomness pops into my head. Though nothing too divisive, I wouldn’t want to start a pointless debate, that isn’t what the internet is for!

Good Night,
Likalia

Sunday Song – Italian Edition

I’ve been watching a show set in Italy which obviously has lovely music it in, even though I do not speak Italian I still enjoy the music. Of course a song can be in your native tongue and you could totally misunderstand the lyrics or you could feel something completely unintentional and utterly different from the person sitting next to you also listening.

That is one of the wonderful things about music, it doesn’t require you to understand the lyrics to be moved by it. You may or may not be moved the way the song intends, but the fact that music moves us at all is the whole point, isn’t it? A universal language.

How To Have A Nervous Breakdown

Step one: take your entire life and just throw it into a blender.

Step two: pretend like everything is totally fine while moving closer and closer to the edge.

Step three: …

Actually, I don’t know – how do you have a nervous breakdown?

Is there a guide? Am I supposed to do certain things to accomplish this task? Is it a task, or is that the problem right there, that I just tried to figure out how to schedule my nervous breakdown?

That first step up there is how mine started though. Life + Blender = 🤯

Up until 2021, I think things had been going pretty well. Sure the whole global pandemic added a new element of ick to the world, but for the most part that was manageable – there were specific things I could do to protect myself (masks, vaccinations, extreme introverted isolation). Then 2021 rolled up with an industrial-strength blender.

When the only things you need to worry about taking care of are yourself, your job and a couple of house plants; life is pretty straightforward. Then suddenly the responsible adult, who has been sheltering you from all the family drama, passes away leaving you as the responsible adult and there is massive upheaval.

Work stresses that had been growing quietly suddenly become insurmountable, but you push on, white-knuckling through, trying to put all the family drama in little boxes and organize them so you can focus back on your own life. It is difficult though.

I can be judgemental, not because I want to be, but because sometimes I don’t understand why people can’t be pragmatic and do things…well…how I think they should be done. It isn’t that I think my way is best, it is more that no one can provide an alternative and if you can’t offer that, then what is wrong with my plan? It is frustrating dealing with people who are immovable. Unwilling to make changes, despite the fact that huge changes have already occurred and they need to adapt.

I take on too much because I have trust and control issues. I don’t know how people can just abandon family and go off and do their own things. That being said, I am getting very close to just selling everything I own, buying a camper and running away.

Back to the blender, 2021 came to a close, and I did run away for a little while, visited some friends and tried to turn off. It went okay, but in the back of my mind, I was still making lists of things I needed to do.

Then 2022 rolled up and took my blender beaten life and decided to see how much more damage it could do.

The least responsible person in my life died, leaving disaster in his wake. I wanted to go running to the farthest point I could find, knowing it was not going to go well. I didn’t. It didn’t.

I tried to focus on working and organizing the other people in my life as best I could with them being fairly adamant about nothing changing. I did not manage to do so.

For a long time, there has been a growing…rage? frustration? dread? in my life. It is hard to explain, other than to say that before I was content. Things weren’t perfect, show me someone whose life is and I will show you someone who is likely lying or in denial, but I was content.

During this tax season, my boss asked me how I was doing – if I was feeling too overwhelmed by work? We’d already reduced our client base by half and work was less stressful but at the same time, I had so many personal stressors that everything was bleeding together. I think a phone call came in and we didn’t have a chance to discuss it further, which was good because I didn’t know what I would say. There was a chance I would have just said, it’s fine and gone back to my office. Would it have been the truth? No, but what else can you say?

In the past, the way I could get through stress at work was by knowing that I had my personal life organized.

The last year and a half have taken that organization, which took years to achieve and destroyed it. I feel like I am constantly failing, that at any minute the entire thing, my life, is going to explode.

Is it too much? Probably. Have I been expecting too much of myself? Absolutely. Am I sitting here typing this on the verge of tears? Yup.

My body is in pain, and my mind is screaming. I want to disappear and not have to deal with this. I want to abandon everyone and if they fail, that is fine.

Except I can’t. And it isn’t.

There is no one to take my workload on.

There is no one who will step up and deal with the family members who are struggling.

There is no one to take care of me.

I hope I can find the balance but it is seeming impossible.

So I’m asking, how do you have a nervous breakdown?

How does the responsible person lose their mind?

How do I ensure that I don’t find myself surrounded by a rubble heap made up of my mind and my life?

Even typing this I don’t know if I want to publish it? Does everyone need to know that I’m not okay? Does that help? No. Will I publish anyway? If you are reading this, then yes, but not because I want you to help me. I don’t think anyone can help me (unless someone has a couple of million dollars they want to throw my way so I can run away).

You can probably commiserate with me though because we all have problems. Big – small – real – invented; sometimes the best way to deal with them is to just scream into the void and then go back to work.

That’s how I have a nervous breakdown. This time anyway.

Sunday Song – First Easter Edition

Not what you were expecting from the title? I wouldn’t really know what song was playing my first Easter, but this song was #1 on Billboard’s charts at the time and I do have an affinity for Pink Floyd, make of it what you will.

Though I obviously didn’t discover this song until I was much older, but maybe baby me heard it on a radio while laying about staring at the ceiling and contemplating existentialism.

Sunday Song – Folksy Indie Edition

I’ve been using SoundHound for ages to quickly figure out that catchy song playing near me.

My original search history was reset when I switched phones in 2013, but this was the first song I searched for when I reloaded the app in June that year.

I’ve discovered many of my favourite songs and artists using the app*, including songs like this which, despite my eclectic taste, I probably wouldn’t have otherwise come across.

*Shout out as well to the fantastic music editors of the TV shows & movies, who selected many of those songs.

Sleep Mode

One of the worst things we seem to have embraced in North American culture, is that being busy equates to success. I don’t like being busy, how can we enjoy life if we are working so hard just to be able to afford our lives.

That drive to be successful/busy in our lives tends to mean we have a hard time realizing that in reality, we are burning out.

Burnout looks like different things for different people. For some it is emotionally breaking down, losing your mind over the smallest thing because all the big things have worn you down. Others find that they need to withdraw from the world, feeling like it is constantly screaming at them to do things that they don’t have the time to accomplish.

For me, it is hitting a wall where my insomnia has sucked all the energy out of me and I’ve only just made it through the workweek.

I usually don’t realize that I’ve been hanging on by a thread of sanity until I try to do something small and note that it is exhausting. Then I will sit down to relax for a moment and wake up hours later.

This happened today, I woke up this morning feeling alright, I had gotten a little sleep(that is big for me) and I had plans to organize the back room.

I moved three things in the room, sat down to rest for a moment on the couch and woke up four hours later.

I am not a napper, I avoid napping in general since I have enough sleep issues without using up precious unconsciousness during the day.

I had no plan to nap, I was hoping I’d get a good portion of the backroom sorted out, but that didn’t stop my brain from turning everything off.

It sent out the message that it had some thinking to do and it wanted some dream time. So I spent four hours having very odd dreams as my brain worked on reorganizing itself for the week ahead – at least something got organized.

Recently, I’ve felt it more and more, the knawing exhaustion as the week wears on and the burnout takes hold. In the past, I would hunker down for the weekend with a pot of tea and a tv show, movie or book and it would be enough to get me through the next week. Lately, even when I am finding time to make a pot of tea, it doesn’t seem to help.

These days I am up and out of the house before 8 am, work all day and then I pick up my brother at 6 pm to take him home, which means I am not even walking back into my house until after 7 pm usually. After a day of working, I just don’t have the energy to deal with anything, family can be draining at the best of times but when I just want to get home to eat some dinner and try to wind down before bed it is too much.

As an introvert, I need that time at home to wind down before bed, but when I get home late I have less time to do so and it means I don’t sleep well. My brain spends the night chattering away and no matter how much I tell it to shut up, it doesn’t.

In some ways, I should be glad I had the opportunity to nap and dream today, though I’m a little worried that I’ll be too awake to sleep. Hopefully, my general exhaustion and burnout from the week will allow me to just crash when I hit the pillow and maybe my nap will help salve some of that burnt brain matter.