Day 18 – under the weather

Challenges, challenges, challenges. This task I dared myself with is beginning to show its true colours. It asks a lot of me, and I am having a bit of a rough time with it. I am feeling a bit under the weather, if I may say so. For day 18, my last day in the city, I therefore cleared my schedule. No reunions, no challenges, no meetings, no appointments, no to-do lists, nothing. Just a full day for me and my love to enjoy. It will soon be time to say our farewells again after all, and that gets harder and harder. We’ve had a lovely breakfast and my boyfriend nipped my upcoming urge to perform in the bud by suggesting to paint a wall in the flat. You remember my tremendous efforts of the last week , right? I was sceptical at first, the weather was fairly nice, and again, my nagging voices told me to go outside, to do something, to earn and achieve. But then I thought, heck why not. I slept terribly the night before, 5 hours at most, and I felt very tired. I felt too tired, to do anything, let alone, painting a wall. I did what I could and then stepped back, to let my boyfriend do his thing. I even fell asleep once shortly, while sitting on the sofa. Me! Falling asleep whilst sitting somewhere! That never happens. Seriously. It never happens. I am usually the kind of person who’s awake after an 18-hour flight, who’s wide awake on the train, the bus, no matter for how long I’ve been awake before. I am a terrible sleeper. I sleep badly in my own bed. I need it to be dark, quiet and to be absolutely undisturbed, to be able to fall asleep. And even then, I wake up a lot with long periods of being unable to fall asleep again. So, for me to fall asleep in the middle of the day, sitting upright, on the verge of painting a wall, was a very, very clear sign that I needed some rest. This tiredness and the lack of sleep actually slowed me down so much, I didn’t even start to think, I should get my lazy butt up and to do some work. Well, I thought it a bit, specially when I watched the wall getting near completion, but I was too tired to do anything. I am not sure if this shameless display of laziness is actually worth mentioning in the same sentence as the word challenge, but it was challenging-ish to, for the first time, not work to exhaustion or doing something I know would make me feel worse. I comforted the nagging voices by telling them, it was his idea to paint today, after all. I told him, I was tired, right? Right. It didn’t help a lot, but it helped a little. And then I went to bed, to try to sleep for real. Without any luck. Apparently, sitting on a sofa, in the middle of a home improvement, accompanied by chaos, is the way to go, sleep wise. Body, you are silly. Mind, shut up, you also are silly.

We had planned to go for dinner in the evening, to celebrate our three wonderful weeks together and to make the farewell easier. I felt so tired, I was shortly before calling the whole thing off. Hunger prevailed, and off we went. It was a nice evening, even though we never made it to the little wine bar I had spotted close to our flat two weeks ago and wanted to check out before I left. I usually am quite good at telling myself what a sour loser I am, that I had so much more planned to achieve and do. Again, my boyfriend provided a great solution to calm myself down, before I could get lost in my depressing thoughts and self-critique, by reminding me, that I still had a lot of packing to do and that the wine bar will most likely still be there, when I return. He is right, of course. And depression lies. Always. One day I will learn to like myself and to be proud of my achievements. Without the friendly reminders and me half-heartedly agreeing with them.

 

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Day 8 – is staying in really the new going out?

Yesterday was a bit of an up and down rollercoaster. I had made plans, thought of challenges the evening before and was determined to see them through. When I woke up, I sensed, that something was wrong. I slept way longer than usual, yet I felt incredibly tired and was unable to get up. It took me almost an hour, to put both my feet on the ground and to take a step. Not to worry, I said to myself, this is nothing, you didn’t sleep well, just go easy on yourself, you are not late for anything. Well, it didn’t get better. I felt frustrated, I tried to find out what it was, that has changed, since I arrived in the city. My usual drive, motivation, positivity, reliance, strength and relaxed manner seemed to have gone down, down, down since two weeks. That’s pretty unfair, don’t you think? I already had all of them again in my life, so what the hell is happening? I couldn’t find an answer and felt very sad, helpless and depressed, so I reached out to my therapist, whom I consider to be very wise and always really helpful. After our talk on the phone, I felt a bit better. It was already late in the afternoon and I was tempted, ooh, so tempted to just call it a day and stay comfortably at home. My inner chicken though, let me down. And so I gathered all my remaining confidence and courage and went outside.

Sunshine, warmth and spring welcomed me with open arms and I was very happy to have managed to leave my fortress of solitude. Instead of taking a long errant trip, I decided to just walk down a street and see what I’d find. Well, that is half a lie, actually. It was 4 pm already and I haven’t had a bite to eat yet. The girl of today knows what to do: google. You see, I had my mind half made up on the route, but then, fate intervened. I stumbled across a wall colour store – and went inside! Alone. With just half a plan and maybe a colour in mind. Half an hour later, with less money in my pockets and two really heavy bags to carry I stood outside the shop and marveled about what just happened. Not only did I go into a shop that was unbeknownst to me, I went there alone, spontaneously, I talked to the sales assistants (yes, plural, because one is not enough challenging and able to tell me what shade of grey looks warm or cold) and I even bought something. Without lamenting the loss of money or questioning my decision. (That’s no longer true, I am afraid, now that the colour is sitting in front of me, waiting to be applied to the wall, I dare not to open the lid. What if…!). And yet again, I changed my plan and went home directly to unload the bags. I still felt hungry, but in no mood, to cook something. I went outside again and sat down at a near restaurant. Alone, without my phone (it’s a trick you see, my phone works as a shield for me a lot of the times) and no occupation whatsoever. I had a small bite to eat, watched the sun go down and went home. Writing all of this down, just reminded me and showed me what a great challenge that day had been and how positive the outcome was. Thanks blog, thanks inner chicken – you made it work in the end. I didn’t do what I set out to do and I had no energy to move a muscle, let alone cook dinner, after that short afternoon, but it was fine. I was fine with it. I even was fine with me watching a couple of episodes of a tv show, because I had no energy for anything else. I bought a wall colour, had a drink and a falafel sandwich, what more do I want? It’s the little things on days like these that challenge me, and sometimes, its stuff, that used to be really easy for me in the past or was beginning to get easier for me in the last months. I am moving forward, nevertheless, one step at a time.

Day 4 – being alone, doesn’t mean being lonely

Today’s challenge seemed easy, was easy, but is quite a fundamental one for me.

“One is the loneliest number.” I really used to agree with that. I would wait with going out, doing things, starting projects, even food shopping, cooking or cleaning, until anyone would go with me, do the errant with me. Sharing is a beautiful thing, no doubt about that. I still prefer being together with my love instead of being alone. I still love doing things as a couple. But I do not depend on it anymore. During my time at the countryside I lived alone, mainly. I consider this as one of the hardest tests I have ever done. I didn’t fail the test. The first weeks were hard. Lots of knitting, staring at DVD’s, not being able to get up to get a glass of water, no drive to cook a nice meal, if it was only for myself, no strength to clean, shower or do anything really. And the gloomy mood, oh boy! I couldn’t stand myself like this. But after a while my I started doing things on my own. For myself. If I loved food shopping together, it surely couldn’t be so bad when doing it alone? It wasn’t. I had a great experience one day, when I asked a friend, if I could join her while food shopping at a quite exclusive shop. I usually would have grieved the whole time, thinking about my love and how bad it is, to be doing it alone now. None of these thoughts occurred. I really, really enjoyed myself alone, with a friend. The best thing was, that she told me afterwards, how much she realized in that hour, how often she is sad, when she doesn’t share things with her sweetheart, and what a pity that was, since she really enjoyed herself too, that day. And slowly, day by day, I enjoyed doing things on my own more and more. Up to one point where I actually thought “its nice to go on a walk together, but hell, I’d rather be outside alone right now”. That was a bit of a shocker. Time to do a little socializing!

Today I was still upset about my lost files and it took me hours to get up and start the day. Nevertheless, I was determined to go outside, to a home improvement center (my idea of a nightmare) to look at wall colours alone. As this is my idea of a nightmare, I naturally wasted a lot of time preparing breakfast, having a shower and making myself ready. When I was ready to leave the flat, it was almost time for my love to arrive back home. One year ago, I would have waited at home. I would have waited grumpy, and already way too exhausted to go through with the plan. Any minute of a delayed arrived would further challenge my mood and energy. And the trip would have been a disaster. I would have wanted to leave the horror place as soon as possible, without looking at things or being constructive in the slightest. I would have gotten angry at the mass of people. I would have hated every single minute of the journey there. It would have been a complete waste of our time.
I was tempted to wait but I saw the challenge through. I had set my mind on being as independent now as I was at the countryside and I didn’t want myself to get in my way. I went there, I browsed, I took some colour suggestions home, I didn’t get angry. I was very exhausted and tired after just 20 minutes though, but one thing at a time, right? It felt good nevertheless. I wanted to think about a new wall colour, so I went to get some inspiration. I didn’t need anyone to be the driving force, I didn’t need a helping hand. I totally count that as a huge success, even if it’s just going out alone, when I could have gone out with my love. I do believe, that this is also a huge relief for the people close to me, to know, they are not responsible to do the things I want, for me or with me. I will do my projects from now on, although I won’t ever say no to a helping hand. Double the fun!