It Took Me Thirty Years to Vacuum a Closet

I took five minutes to vacuum my closet the other day. It was part of my routine cleaning, no big deal. It was just a quick thing to check off on my cleaning list. I removed some boxes of stuff in the bottom, a few pairs of slippers, and vacuumed. I replaced the stuff and went on with my—

No. I didn’t.

No, I looked at the bottom of the closet in a state of shock and burst out laughing.

I have spent a large portion of my life trying to get organized. When I was a child, “cleaning my room” really did mean tossing everything I could think of where to put it in a closet so that it looked tidy when Mom poked her head in. I was the child with the cubby under the desk in grade school so stuffed with papers and junk that it was simply impossible to add or find anything.

This level of disorganization bothered and embarrassed me. It really hurt and made me feel like a failure.

As a teenager, my backpack also became a mess of papers, random items, books, and paraphernalia (no, not that kind. In many ways, I was hopelessly square)

As an adult, it wasn’t much better. My desk was full of bills to be paid, papers I didn’t want to face, things that were vaguely sentimental but not enough to display anywhere. My closet?

That was still the place where I hid stuff I didn’t have a place for but wanted the room at least to appear a little tidy.

How long from a stuffed closet to a tidy closet?

It took about thirty years.

I wasted a lot of that time, though. I addressed it in cycles. “Starting now, I’m finally going to get organized!” I’d spend several hours a day over a few weeks cleaning, organizing, and playing possessions Tetris with my home. After a month or so, know what? The house would look great!

Then, inevitably, the house would no longer look great. I’d clean the kitchen well enough to prevent food poisoning, but more than that? Not so much.

Ever done that? C’mon, it’s okay. We all have.

Being tidy over time is all about consistent action.

You can, indeed, get the house clean with heroic effort, just as you can work really hard to train for an athletic event.

The problem comes in when you do something intense for a short period. As I mentioned in my last post, heroic effort is unsustainable.

Several of my favorite housekeeping systems (Flylady and Unfuck Your Habitat) talk about starting very small – shining your sink or making your bed. They are so right!

It’s not about getting tidied or organized quickly. It’s about developing consistent habits. For a lot of people, that’s enough.

But for some…

Executive dysfunction can interfere with consistency.

If you have organizational or distraction issues, habits may not be enough. Autism, ADHD, and a host of other neurodivergent issues centered around executive dysfunction make it hard to do things that seem pretty obvious to the neurotypical person. What? You need to wash the dishes after a meal? No kidding. Go do it!

As I was writing this article, I broke for dinner. Guess what is in my sink right now?

I thought about it, got up, scrubbed the pan a little, realized it needed to soak some more, and sat back down here to write. Sure, sure, I’ll get to it after I finish this, no biggie. But if my sink was full of dishes other than that pan, if I had laundry on my sofa, a desk drawer full of unaddressed bills, and my phone beeping that I needed to get up and get my car to the garage to get the brakes done, would I be getting back to that pan in any reasonable amount of time?

*Hollow laugh*

People with executive dysfunction issues can find their problems painful.

Maybe some people laugh and think it’s cute to be disorganized. It never felt cute to me. It hurt because I had a hard time doing what I wanted to do. I was utterly desperate to get my life under control. Completely and utterly desperate from the time I was nine years old. That’s a heavy load.

Jokes about executive dysfunction aren’t cute.

I know the whole “squirrel!” joke about distractibility is mean to make people feel better and okay with themselves. I never wanted to be okay with chaos. I wanted the chaos to stop. It hurt. It interfered with accomplishing what I wanted to. It was exhausting. It used up time I wanted to spend on other things. I wanted a clean canvas so that when I jumped from obsession to obsession to obsession, I could feel like I was using that time intelligently rather than as a distraction from things that were bothering me.

Late fees, court cases, and lost jobs aren’t cute, either.

There’s an ADHD vlogger that I really like named Jessica McCabe. She’s brilliant and adorable, and being a little bit of the manic pixie thing is part of her brand. It gets people to listen to broad issues of executive dysfunction. People will accept and listen to that stuff sometimes and find it palatable if someone is small and young and cute. (She’s a LOT older than her looks or mannerisms would indicate, by the way).

So, the brilliant part. Quite sure McCabe knows what she’s doing with that because sometimes she drops the adorable thing. The pain of being disorganized or having a hard time directing attention is very, very clear. If she weren’t so cute, it would be unlikely as many people would listen to the important things she is saying. There’s more to her than cute by a long shot. (And don’t get me started on the sexism of it).

But that whole “cute” thing about disorganization. It’s not so cute when unpaid bills land you in court. That has happened to me. With money in the BANK, that has happened to me! (Or without money. *shrugs* That, too). It’s not cute when you have to buy a car at interest rates that are close to what you’d pay on a credit card. Yeah, that’s happened, too. That we’re in good financial shape now is a miracle.

There is a cultural narrative of *giggle* *giggle* “I’m so distractable!” to try to ameliorate the pain of being disorganized. Know what? It’s not funny. It hurts.

Proscriptive solutions won’t work.

I use a Bullet Journal just about with the out-of-the-box method that Ryder Carrol posted in that first video he did about it. I tried it, and it clicked.

Know what wouldn’t have clicked? Someone making me do it when I was fifteen.

This is where you, if you have problems with executive dysfunction, might wonder if I can provide an answer for you. Know what? I can’t.

I can say, “You need a Bullet Journal.” I mean, I’ll think it. I wouldn’t say it. Know why? It won’t necessarily work for you.

What I will say is that you need to find methods that work for you.

“Okay, smartybrat,” I hear you cry, “if you can’t offer a solution, what do I do?”

Create systems that support you

This is going to look different depending on how you think. Does a beepy reminder go bing! and prompt you to do stuff? Do you like to have a menu of tasks that you choose from depending on how easily they grab your attention in the moment?

What primes you to take action?

What plans have you followed through on (c’mon, you do have some if you’re alive past 20), and what about them made you feel good?

My husband doesn’t use a Bullet Journal. He plans his day using a calendar app. If there’s an interrupt to a task, he’ll move it to another free time. When you first try this, I strongly encourage you to multiply your estimation of task time by at least four until you get good at estimating how long something will take. If you have executive dysfunction issues you’re struggling with, I’d bet at least a nickel that you’re not good at estimating how long things take yet.

What stops you from taking action? Can you remove the interrupts?

A simple example would be to take the dirty clothes hamper’s lid off if that’s enough to discourage you from tossing your clothes in the hamper. Still, I’m not talking about “Tips ‘n Tricks” here. I hate tips ‘n tricks! They’re like taking a Tylenol when you cut off your leg. You need to extrapolate that to life systems to support how you want to live.

Your system is useless until you define “good enough.”

I could skip the next two or three times I need to vacuum my closet, and I wouldn’t care. If I get to it every year or so, it’s absolutely good enough. “Good enough” means I address my paperwork file once a week and clear it out. I don’t have to do it every day unless I feel like it. “Good enough” is walking for five minutes on the hour around my living room until I get my 10,000 steps in. I don’t have to walk for three miles unless I want to. “Good enough” is spreading up the bed and tossing the shams at the head. I don’t have to bounce a quarter off the damn thing unless I get a wild hare to do that sometimes. Don’t give yourself an image of perfection you have to attain, or you’ll do nothing.

It’s okay for “good enough” to change

Remember how it took thirty years to get to vacuuming a closet? There was a time when that chore wasn’t on the “good enough” list, and ya know what? That’s fine. Have your “good enough” be slightly, but only slightly, ahead of what you’re currently doing if you want to make improvements. Incremental improvements over time, and I mean decades, are pretty dramatic when you look back.

Good enough can stay good enough

My exercise parameters have me getting in an average of 10,000 steps a day as measured over a month. That is never going to change. If the Spirit moves me, I’ll do more. But I’m not going to keep raising the bar over and over and over. This is it. I’m good. I’m maintaining.

It takes decades to get your life in order. What small thing will you do today?

Are Standards Stuffy?

A Tiger? In Africa? The Meaning of Life - John, Michael and Eric Monty Python, You Make Me Happy, Meaning Of Life, Meant To Be, Take That, Africa, Movies, Cinema, Type

Raise your hand if you thought Ma was uptight for keeping to a cleaning schedule in The Long Winter.

I was thinking about that this morning as I forced myself out of bed, even though I have no appointments. I got up, did my usual Saturday stuff, made coffee and breakfast for Peter and I, then sat down with my Bullet Journal and thought about how to lay out a schedule for next week.

As I was doing it, I thought about another novel of Hard Times set in the Victorian era. A favorite book of mine as a teenager was Zemindar. It’s about the Indian Rebellion of 1857 where the main character (who narrates the story) is snarking one of her Sisters in Suffering because the good lady is trying to keep to the same timetable she did while at her station rather than sheltered at a compound in Lucknow.

At the time I first read that, I was fifteen and I cheered for the main character for not being so hidebound and stuck in propriety.

It ain’t about propriety. It’s about living while surviving. That’s quite a trick, really. Survival mode can and does take all of one’s energy sometimes, and that’s real. But deciding who and what you are in the face of bad times?

That’s living.

The little ceremony of tea in a shelter, the dressing for dinner at war — they seem such weird things when you take them out of context. They seem as if you’re clinging to a fantasy and ignoring reality. It’s not that they’re “necessary” to survival. Of course, they’re not.

But thinking about who you are and who you want to be? That’s more crucial than ever. You can’t control what goes on around you all that much, but you have some control over what you do with it.

In many ways, I am very, very Victorian.

Unnecessary Parameters: When Good Enough is Actually Great!

Do you have goals you want to accomplish?

Do you get excited about getting something done, or reaching a milestone?

I do. I also do something else, and I’m curious if anyone else does this, too.

You’ll set a goal. Maybe you’ve joined some kind of challenge – to pick something completely at random, maybe your gym had a challenge for you to swim 50 miles by the last day of September. (Completely random, I swear). Say the challenge starts May 1.

Okay, you have five months to complete your goal. You need to swim roughly 10 miles a month, or two and a half miles a week.

Are you the type of person who would then decide, “Oh, no! That’s too easy. I’ll swim four miles a week and get done at least six weeks early!”

If you are this type of person, I have another question:

Have you ever made it too hard on yourself and quit on something because of this foolishness?

I caught myself doing it twice today. I’m in the middle of a really busy time. My client has a go-live and a lot more training to be done than usual (meaning there’s a major, major software change that I’m on the floor helping people use), I’m doing that Completely Random 50 mile swim challenge, and I’m taking a programming class.

I caught myself doing a couple of things and realizing how I was actually making a few things that are genuine challenges far more difficult obstacles than they needed to be.

I was saying I was going to swim four miles a week. Sure, I can… Some weeks, I probably will. The reality? If I get in my ten miles a month now through September, I’ll hit my goal. No biggie. I don’t need to push to do that Every. Single. Week. I will reach my goal without driving myself crazy. So, why drive myself crazy? I’ve done that before and quit.

I was also doing some extra credit work on a project for my class.

Am I done with the required work on the class?

I am not.

Do I have plenty of time to complete the required work?

Well, yeah, I do. But if I get tied up in the extra, I’m not going to finish the required stuff properly.

While excelling is important, something I’m slowly learning as I am getting older is the value of calmly plodding along. The body of work you leave behind and what you accomplish when you don’t add unnecessary parameters to what you want to get done is more impressive than the frantic nonsense you can push yourself to do.

So, are you adding unnecessary parameters to goals and making it so difficult you quit? I’m curious to see what people are encountering.

 

Yes, I Make My Bed

I’m reading Make Your Bed: The Little Things That Can Change Your Life…. and Maybe the World.

Things a SEAL might have to say might be things I can go along with, or things that might make me chew my lip a bit. And so this does. However, I do not necessarily have to unilaterally agree with everything an author puts down to find it valuable. (Being a Heinlein fan, the world oughta be grateful for that, just sayin’)

ADM McRaven says something quite early on in the book that rather struck me between the eyeballs.

Now, I am a bed-maker and have been since toddlerhood. Mom taught me to do so and it’s What One Does. You know things you kinda do without question? I do that. So, it was easy for me to agree with the idea that you start the day with making your bed. His commentary – that you start the day with a completed task and see the evidence of that completed task when you complete your day, really hit home to me.

I will sometimes complain of Not Having Accomplished Enough at the end of a day to have my husband send me to my Bullet Journal in irritation, telling me to review and see if my day was really as lazy as all that. (In general, it was not).

The idea that an extremely successful man in a very tough career looked to something to remind himself that he did at least one thing well that day was an interesting one and made me realize all these years I was doing only part of the task of making my bed.

Acknowledging I do it is actually important, too.

Have You Broken a Habit?

You’re going to die.

I was listening to an audiobook about creating the life you want that was unusually good, when this little gem came out.

Okay, true. I’m going to die. The moments I have in this world are limited. So, why am I listening to this audiobook and playing this mindless matching game? I mean, the audiobook is fine, but if I need to do something while listening, there’s that sweater I’m knitting for Peter sitting within arm’s reach. I could just as easily be knitting that and listening. Which one is Future Me going to be happier about?

I got to thinking, as is my wont, and I decided to make a rule for myself.

No listening to audiobooks and not doing something else productive.

That was the whole justification I gave myself for spending that monthly fee on the Audible account, wasn’t it, that I was going to be more productive. I can knit, clean house, go for a walk outside or on the treadmill… anything. But it must be working towards a goal or useful task of some sort. For the most part, I kinda do this. My house’s organization owes itself almost completely to audiobooks. However, it is clear I am slipping on my use of this medium. There’s just no excuse, though, for listening and playing Popit. None.

I started thinking about the hooking in a bad habit with a somewhat decent one and remembered from my teens and early twenties that I used to like to read and snack. I even used to joke if I never snacked and read, I’d be rail thin.

Thing is, I broke that habit. I’ll read and eat a meal if I’m eating alone, but in general, I don’t snack much. I’m not rail thin, either, but that’s neither here nor there.

The point is, I broke that habit. Totally broke it more than fifteen years ago, and you know what? I never really noticed.

So, I have a question for all of you.

Is there a habit you have broken, but never really thought about? Maybe it deserves a little Go Me right now!

Avoiding the Post-Holiday Blues

Happy New Year!

I have hated taking down the Christmas decorations for as long as I can remember. It meant the end of the holidays. It meant that the pretty, shiny things had to go away. It typically meant gray skies (I grew up in Virginia, which is cold and rainy most of the winter) and as I got older, the austerity of New Year’s Resolutions in which I tried once again, to be some who actually had her life together.

We always took down the Christmas decorations, though close to New Year’s Day. My grandmother used to think it was bad luck for Christmas decorations to see New Year’s.  Mom wasn’t so fanatic, but we did usually take them down close to then.

So New Year’s just meant going back to the damn grind for me.

I’m not doing that this year. While I have goals I want to accomplish, that’s not special to January 1. What I am going to do instead is actually decorate for January. No, it’s not as elaborate as how we decorate for Christmas, but it is still special decorations and colors.

I’ve chosen ice colors – blues and whites and crystals for this.

I have the snowflake table runner and the cranes in the glass vase filled with blue glass gems. It’s a simple and easy centerpiece to make, and I like it. I’m still waiting for the blue candles that I ordered to arrive, and that will complete the table setting.

I put some of the leftover glass gems in crystal bowls and put a pillar candle in each one to keep with the theme.

However, I also miss Christmas lights. So, I decided to buy a strings of blue ones to use for the month of January. While the days are lengthening now that the Winter Solstice has passed, it still gets dark pretty early and will for the rest of the month. Once the sun starts setting at five in the evening, I’ll probably feel the need for strings of lights a little less.

This really didn’t take a lot of money. I did buy the glass gems, origami paper, and the fabric for the table runner, but other than that, I went searching around the house for things I already had that were blue or silver or glittery to get the effect. But I can tell you that you can often find glass bowls at the dollar store, and you can often get pretty fabric fairly cheaply.

Is this high-end decorating? No, of course it isn’t. But that’s not the point. In fact, the point is that sometimes you really need to do something special with your environment, and you’ll find if you’re creative about it, you can do something nice without necessarily dropping a lot of money.

Though am I going to have pork and black-eyed peas for good luck?  Why goodness me yes! We visit my family in Virginia every Christmas, and I’d mentioned that I needed to pick up some black-eyed peas (you can’t count on finding them in New Hampshire), and Daddy bought me a bag of them to take home.  So, yeah, making Hoppin’ John.

How Else Can They Become?

‘All right,’ said Susan. ‘I’m not stupid. You’re saying humans need… fantasies to make life bearable.’

REALLY? AS IF IT WAS SOME KIND OF PINK PILL? NO. HUMANS NEED FANTASY TO BE HUMAN. TO BE THE PLACE WHERE THE FALLING ANGEL MEETS THE RISING APE.

‘Tooth fairies? Hogfathers? Little—’

YES. AS PRACTICE. YOU HAVE TO START OUT LEARNING TO BELIEVE THE LITTLE LIES.

‘So we can believe the big ones?’

YES. JUSTICE. MERCY. DUTY. THAT SORT OF THING.

‘They’re not the same at all!’

YOU THINK SO? THEN TAKE THE UNIVERSE AND GRIND IT DOWN TO THE FINEST POWDER AND SIEVE IT THROUGH THE FINEST SIEVE AND THEN SHOW ME ONE ATOM OF JUSTICE, ONE MOLECULE OF MERCY. AND YET— Death waved a hand. AND YET YOU ACT AS IF THERE IS SOME IDEAL ORDER IN THE WORLD, AS IF THERE IS SOME… SOME RIGHTNESS IN THE UNIVERSE BY WHICH IT MAY BE JUDGED.

‘Yes, but people have got to believe that, or what’s the point—’

MY POINT EXACTLY.

She tried to assemble her thoughts.

THERE IS A PLACE WHERE TWO GALAXIES HAVE BEEN COLLIDING FOR A MILLION YEARS, said Death, apropos of nothing. DON’T TRY TO TELL ME THAT’S RIGHT.

‘Yes, but people don’t think about that,’ said Susan. Somewhere there was a bed…

CORRECT. STARS EXPLODE, WORLDS COLLIDE, THERE’S HARDLY ANYWHERE IN THE UNIVERSE WHERE HUMANS CAN LIVE WITHOUT BEING FROZEN OR FRIED, AND YET YOU BELIEVE THAT A… A BED IS A NORMAL THING. IT IS THE MOST AMAZING TALENT.

‘Talent?’

OH, YES. A VERY SPECIAL KIND OF STUPIDITY. YOU THINK THE WHOLE UNIVERSE IS INSIDE YOUR HEADS.

‘You make us sound mad,’ said Susan. A nice warm bed…

NO. YOU NEED TO BELIEVE IN THINGS THAT AREN’T TRUE. HOW ELSE CAN THEY BECOME?

Hogfather, Terry Pratchett

Assistive Technology and Being a Grown Up

assistivetech-1

I genuinely, no kidding, need assistive technology to be a grown up. I’m 47, so I was in my thirties before I had A) the technology, and B) a system to help get around this. It is not always perfect, but this helps.

The technology means I have beepy reminders to do things. I use these for everything from making my bed and washing the dishes to making sure I work on contracts for clients and keeping up with relationships with people I care about.

Thing is, as anyone who has this problem knows, beepy reminders are not enough. You’ll go down a rabbit hole chasing something that isn’t important pretty quick and still not solve everything.

I have to combine this with a pretty strict schedule. If I don’t stick to it, my llfe falls apart. My schedule would seem crazy and oppressive to someone who doesn’t share my issues. It deals with bedtimes, when to do paperworky stuff like calling for and scheduling appointments and doing bills, making sure I get enough exercise, making sure I take some time to do something chosen at a whim, making sure I contact people that are important to me or doing the shopping and even scheduling opportunities for naps (I need a lot of sleep)

It helps a lot. I find I need something from the store? Its goes on the list for my scheduled shopping day. Barring an emergency, I only shop then. I get a bill I need to deal with, or some other taxy-kinda thing? It goes on my pile for Paperwork time. (Filing Time comes after Paperwork time). Tasks are broken down into very small units and I’ll think ahead to plan out what is needed for each step of a task to make sure I have what I need for the task before I go on. And yes, Plan Tasks has its own place on my schedule.

Thing is, if you see me in an office situation, you’ll think I’m really organized and together. I worked for a man for THREE YEARS who thought I was really organized and had this great memory until he played a joke on me before my last day, asking for some work I’d never agreed to do. I didn’t catch that he was being outrageous and goofy because I was automatically going to my computer to look up what I’d agreed to do and see what progress I’d made on it. He was surprised when I confessed to him that I had a system to take care of stuff because I get so distracted and can’t remember things.

Some people can just DO this stuff. My mom can. She sees dirt or clutter, and she just CLEANS it, and doesn’t get distracted. I can’t do that. it isn’t NATURAL to me, so I had to develop some very rigid routines to take care of it instead. To someone who does not have my problems, it probably seems like a terribly regimented way to live. In some ways, it is.

But the house is clean (enough), I get enough exercise, bills get paid and paperwork followed up on. That things get taken care of is better for me than the anxiety and confusion I experience when I do not have these rigid systems in place.

You Don’t Have to be Beautiful

I’m tired of the “All Bodies are Beautiful” rhetoric.

Why?  There’s still the goddamned pressure to think of yourself as beautiful above anything else.

Am I beautiful?  As in photogenic?

Hell no.

Does that mean I feel badly about my looks?

Not unless I have to deal with some asshole deciding to be mean to me because I’m not beautiful, and therefore need to be punished for it in his eyes.

And that’s exactly the point.  If we do the “all bodies are beautiful” thing, what we’re really saying is that beauty is the most important value to have, and trying to make people who aren’t physically beautiful focus on that as the important value.

I’m not beautiful.  And you know what?  That’s okay.  It’s cool for people who are, and goodness knows they should enjoy it.  I enjoy being smart.  I enjoy being determined.  I enjoy that partners find me attractive.  (Beauty and charisma are two very different things. Charisma is a skill, and yes, I can turn that on if I want to).  I am blessed with a strong, agile body and I love that.

Do I like my body?

Good heavens, YES!  I am an extremely physical person and yes, I like my body.  I love the way it feels when I pull through the water during a swim.  I love the agility of my fingers as I knit.  I love dancing and letting my body and mind merge with music.  I love the way I can use facial expressions to communicate volumes without saying a word.  I love the feel of well-tailored fabric and admire the way good clothes move with my body.

I love these things independent of any aesthetic view of my body, and it takes the pressure off to be goddamned “beautiful” all the time.

‘Cause, come on, I’ve got stuff to do!

springscream

What if Happiness Isn't an Emotion?

I’ve often talked about love not being an emotion, but a set of behaviors, a commitment, and a way of interacting. That’s true. Sure, sure, emotions are included in that, but it is not the sum total of what love is.

One thing I’ve often pondered, chewed on and driven myself crazy with is the idea that happiness is an emotion and there’s something wrong because I don’t often feel it.

What if happiness (as in a state of being with one’s life) is like love, and actually an emotion, but a state of being over time that has to do less with actual emotion and more to do with life and choices in relationship to it?

(I know this is weird, but stay with me here. I just asked this question about thirty seconds ago when my To-do Beepy Reminder went off to tell me it was time to get some writing done. This is not a planned-out essay.)

There is some background to this. I am always looking at systems for things. It’s just kind of the way I am built. If there’s an underlying logic or method to doing or being, I’m going to run in that direction. It’s just the way I am, and in general, I like it that way.

So, I was feeling kind of upset and depressed and frustrated about things a few months ago when I downloaded a mood monitoring app for my smartphone. (How Are You mood tracker. You can get it on Google Play, I know).

You’re asked to rate your mood on several criteria — how determined and ready to act you feel, how frustrated you feel, etc. You get a beepy reminder to do this three or so times a day, and the results were kind of interesting to me.

No, more than interesting. They were an uncomfortable revelation.

My mood was pretty consistently above 70% on the scale as an average. Oh, sure, it dipped from time to time, but overall, my mood as I was self-rating in the moment was generally pretty damn high. You’re asked if you’re feeling: Alert, Hostile, Friendly, Determined, Active, and a couple of other things I forget. It’s nine different questions, anyway. You have this circle slider where you drag to estimate how much of each of the different states of being you’re feeling at that moment.

I just took the test and it had my mood at 86%. Now, I’ve been pondering Life, the Universe and Everything most of the morning, and it’s a gray day, so I wouldn’t have said I’m all that happy at the moment.

But, maybe I’m tagging the wrong state of being as happy. I mean, the test could be a load of crap, but I’m wondering if my point of view is really what’s been messed up. I’m wondering if I’m mapping joyful to happy, and happy is a quieter thing. Seriously. To me, happy is being on a boat on the ocean or being at the beach or swimming or finishing writing a novel or teaching a class or knitting something or being with my family.

Maybe those things are better than happy. Maybe those things are joyful. Which is cool, ’cause I get a lot of joyful stuff in my life, and that’s pretty awesome.

But if happy is really more about some ratio of Attentiveness, Determination, Active, and Inspired over Upset, Hostile, Nervous, Afraid, Ashamed (yes, I looked it up rather than guessed), Determination, Attentiveness and Inspiration are almost always pretty strongly present in my mental landscape. They’re gonna be there whether or not I am feeling what *I* would call a positive mood in the moment. That means, I’m going to be rated as “happy” by this scale more often than not.

While I’d never really considered myself a particularly positive person, I’m beginning to wonder. Maybe I kinda am, and while I’m moody as hell, that may have less to do with my overall state of being than once I thought. Maybe it’s like waves, you know? They knock you down, or you dive under them, but if you know how to swim, and pay attention to the push and pull of the water, you generally can cope and even have fun with them.

Maybe it’s like my view of love, and happiness isn’t entirely an emotion, but a amalgam of many sometimes conflicting things, just like swimming in the ocean can be.

Whether or not it’s true, it kind of makes me feel better about Life, the Universe and Everything.