Starting #SuperBetter

The past semester, as I’ve written before, has been taxing in so many ways. And my body giving out, with the culmination of it being my sister rushing me to the ER, have forced me to slow things down, take a step back, and think things over. In making such an assessment, it’s pretty clear that I haven’t been handling things very well, and among the wrong things I did was to go off my original diet and just go back to boozing and smoking and generally not taking care of myself as a not-very-smart way to handle all the stress.

So sitting in bed all day, recovering from yesterday’s breakdown (for those who really want the details, it’s not asthma or other lung complications, it was just the phlegm building up in my lungs and hardening so that they stayed there, a nice combination of stress, pollution, smoking, psychosomatic factors all leading to it) I found myself reading Jane McGonigal’s Reality is Broken (which is a fantastic, insightful book that has gotten my heart racing and has been a risky proposition as I should be keeping that in check, but it has been worth it) and reading about her project, Super Better. Super Better takes real world goals and applies game-based ways of thinking to make them more fun and productive. We feel fulfilled and excited with those goals. And so I’ve started a weight loss program with Super Better, which hopefully leads to generally better health.

What I like about Super Better is that it also addresses one’s worldview, reshaping it and making things a little more optimistic. Its developer, McGonigal, is also an introvert, so I’m happy that it incorporates those kinds of considerations. Anyways, here we go on this fun adventure.

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Hey universe, I’m not giving up, I’m just making a tactical retreat.

I am sick now. The body has given out and I’m down with nasty green things up in my throat and lungs, the throat scratchy and dry, and the nose alternating between runny and clogged. Everything seems sore and my back only feels right when I’m lying on it in bed. I believe this is my body telling me, enough, it’s time to rest.

This semester has been, without a doubt, one of the most challenging times. And I can only hope that with its end, those hard times too pass. And this sickness, which serves as proper justification to stop and catch my breath, serves too as a quick hibernation period after which I can climb out into a metaphorical Spring.

Topping the troubles is the major financial issue. In the whole semester of teaching, starting in November, I have not gotten paid. It’s paperwork and red tape, the need for suddenly needing a paper which wasn’t originally stated which shoots us back to the start of the process, and the fact that sometimes papers just sit on people’s desks for days without movement even when all that’s needed is a mere signature. And sorry friends and colleagues, but to say that, “Eh everyone’s pay gets delayed,” is no comfort, and “It’ll come in as a lump sum,” also cold comfort when your savings are gone and you’re forced to start borrowing money. When you come from a background of having no money, and you’ve worked your way out of that kind of life, and suddenly you don’t have money, it’s like you’ve taken a backslide, it’s like you’ve lost your sense of self and any sense of accomplishment that you might have attained. And so, with this whole predicament, I find myself constantly questioning myself, and as a result, my own self-esteem and self-image have taken a hit. I have been assured, as ever, that I will get paid eventually, and it has been “next week” since January.

The semester has been book-ended by romantic disappointments which have taxed a very weary heart.

In attempting to write a book about being 30, I also opened up a can of emotional worms. My issues in dealing with trauma, my family, and my life so far unleashed something I can’t quite describe. A lot of things made it to the page and I’m still trying to deal with them, recover from them. My estrangement with my family is obvious cause for concern. And always weighing heavily on me is the demand to raise my sister right; she’s a good kid, but I can’t shake the feeling that I have to be better for her.

And as I’ve faced down these major things, it seems that there are many small snags. And these small things keep coming up. There’s always something that doesn’t go right.

I’ve managed to get by with a little help from my friends. I am lucky that there are people around who lift my spirits.

Now I’m going to recover and marshall my resources. Hey universe, I’m not giving up, I’m just making a tactical retreat.