7 Habits of A Reasonable Life


Hello, world. So nice to see you again - have you lost weight? Got a new haircut? Whatever you've done, you look fabulous.

I, on the other hand, probably look like I've been dragged through a hedge backwards. Twice. The last two or three months have been hard and crazy and utterly unreasonable. I developed bad habits and am so tired I could sleep until Thursday without waking up for pesky things like food and bathroom breaks. However! As of 2:17 PM Friday afternoon I've been on vacation and am not going back to work until after the July long weekend. Just as soon as I catch up on my sleep, I'll be really excited about it. So far, the most I've managed to do in terms of celebration is to when people ask me how I am, reply "I'm on vacation, how are you?" I suspect that may get annoying really soon.

After spending the weekend puttering and watching season four of The Wire, the fog has started to lift and now that I actually have time to think about things other than the next thing on The List, I've become aware of just how unreasonable things have been:. So I set myself a goal for my vacation (because work mode is apparently still so prevalent that I must have goals). Namely, to work on creating habits for a more reasonable life. To wit: 

1. Don't go to bed with more than 10 tabs open in my browser 
This one was sparked by a catastrophic crash of Firefox in the middle of last week. I lost close to 50 tabs and instead of being horrified, I felt only relief. That many tabs open and waiting - lurking? - weighs you down. It may not feel like you're aware of them, but on some level, the stress of not dealing with the craziness gnaws away at you. I'm not sure I can keep this one when I go back to work, but it has occurred to me that this thought is my not-so-inner workaholic already working on an out so I can go back to the unreasonable. 

2. Singletask whenever possible 
Talking on the phone while reading e-mail is rude to the person you're talking to and means you don't absorb what the e-mail’s about. Writing an article while answering questions on MyRACentral, tweeting and/or assessing the state of The List does nothing but convince your body that you're in a state of emergency. Body will likely get pissed off and respond by making you sick. 

3. Do not work while eating 
I know I'm not the only one who eats breakfast or lunch while staring at a monitor, madly skimming through a document that has to be read and now seems a really good time since I can't use my hands for anything other than holding food. Saturday morning, I caught myself preparing my toast and heading back to the computer. Managed to stop, make myself turn around, sit at the table and eat my toast while not doing anything but eating my toast. Well, I was thinking. Started planning this post, actually, but I decided that's okay. Because it's in moments of quiet that your brain generates ideas. Conclusion: get more moments of quiet. 

4. Make time for having a life 
Falling off the face of the earth and going incommunicado to loved ones is only allowed for temporary periods of insanity during big projects.
Don't work after 9 PM.
There is too time for a cuddle with the cat. It might even function as a break to regain perspective/sanity.
Reading a book while making lunch, brushing my teeth or cleaning is a Band-Aid that does not negate the need for time to sit still and breathe. Or to sit still and do nothing but read a book. Preferably in the park.
Go outside once a day (this rule to be amended when winter hits to prevent frostbite). 

5. Meditate 
Thinking that I can't find 20 minutes in a day to meditate is ridiculous. Until I get over myself, start with 5 minutes. Remember that technique doesn't matter, but, in the immortal words of Jan Carstoniu, meditating essentially boils down to the following

Sit down
Don't move
Shut up

Do that. 

6. Take one day off every week 
This one is pretty ambitious. I have to work in chunks or my pain levels go through the roof. My body won't allow more than 3 hours during the day and another hour and a half after dinner and when you end up with for, five or more jobs (HealthCentral, the blog, The Book, misc. committees, etc.), squeezing it all means working every day. Perhaps I should amend it to "take an evening off once a week that does not involve The Boy having to come over to sit on me so I won't work." I'll start with that. 

7. Re-read this list on a regular basis until it sticks 
Be prepared that it may take a long time before I learn this. Remember that trying counts.