For those of you who read my previous post, I would like to report that my mental state is somewhat better this week but still not back to normal. I spent most of the previous week working on presentation and demonstration materials for my day job for an event that has me lowkey excited. It's a new event, and it's always nice when my office is asked to participate in such things. However, the thing that boosted my mood the most as far as home life is concerned was buying new a new calendar and yearly planner. These seem like such simple things, but being able to look forward to the year ahead helps.
It's been a while since I last posted, partly thanks to the Christmas and New Year's holidays but also due to the fact I recently hit an emotional slump. Little things in my daily life snowballed, and minor comments and unintentional actions which I would normally have no problem shrugging off built up too fast for me to ignore. I was left feeling as though my voice doesn't matter and that the people in my life are undermining my personal goals. This perception of the world around me makes it difficult to find motivation to do much of anything, because gaining even a modicum of consideration from friends and family turns into a struggle.
It's about one-third of the way through November, and I've already had a busy month thus far. Every year I know once Halloween has passed, my winter holiday preparations will begin and there will never be enough hours in the day to accomplish everything I wish to do. This is why I am disappointed in myself today. Instead of working on any of my many projects, I spent a lazy day in front of the TV and laptop and did quite a bit of pleasure reading too.
As one of those people who has limited time to work on my personal projects, taking a working vacation has become a regular occurrence year after year. For me, this means taking my camera and laptop along on my trips so I can work on two of my hobbies at once, photography and writing. This year will be no different.
We had another beautiful weekend in western Pennsylvania, and my family and I took the time to attend another history/craft festival. Unlike some of the other festivals we visit, Penn's Colony festival has multiple, small shacks which hold individual vendors in between the typical canvas tents commonly seen at other regional craft shows. These shacks range between 100 and 200 square feet of floor space and will have either shelves or hooks for displaying crafters' goods. Some of the larger shacks host food vendors as well. They're built of rough-cut boards nailed together vertically in the traditional American barn-style and are tall enough to hold a loft under their A-frame roofs.
Much of this weekend threatened rain, keeping me inside where I spent most of my time editing my novel manuscript. I'm hoping to pitch or query it this winter, but putting the final polish on it is difficult for me, perfectionist that I am. I realize some other writers have the same problem, but such knowledge is not enough to silence my inner critic.
Over the weekend, I joined my parents in attending a gun show. Normally I find these events to be a waste of my time. Most of the vendors display modern weapons with composite stocks, overly-priced shotguns, antiques from WWI and WWII, or handguns with slides and clips. But none of these guns interest me. I'm not into shooting sports (although I was an archery instructor for a summer camp), and hunting in my little neck of the woods is not good enough to justify spending more than $300-$450 on a shotgun.
Today I am sore. Over the past few days, I started a new exercise routine in order to try to regain the muscle I lost in the past year. I don't like being sore. I know some people who love exercise enjoy the pull and protest of muscles that have been pushed to their limits, but for me, I find the sensations restrictive and depressing. But if I want to be able to take on certain hobbies without this type of pain in the future, then I need to retrain my body for those tasks.
I've had trouble finding motivation or inspiration to create much of anything this past week or so. And if you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed I've been fairly quiet there as well. I've fallen into a nihilistic mood that is often hard for me to shake. Being halfway through February, I am only a handful of weeks away from my busiest time of year, when my work schedule encroaches on my free time, and it becomes increasingly difficult to make progress on any of my personal projects. This is a very disheartening time for me, and I question the worth of working on any major projects as I know I'll end up interrupted during critical stages by a variety of obligations.
For me, New Year's Eve is a night to stay in and relax. I may watch one of the First Night countdowns on TV, but chances are better that you'll find me tuning in to some educational marathon or a good movie. Many of my friends and relatives do the same. We're not late-night party people. (Most of us prefer caffeine to alcohol!) But with 2019 starting in just a few hours, we are trying to set some goals and make plans for the new year.