Quickie: Spring Break II, Treading Water But Feeling OkayD

It’s Spring Break week for Ballet this week, so I have no class (I’m trying to avoid the obvious jokes here, since I’m sure I’ve used them all before). This is handy, because I’m in the middle of writing my final paper for my Buddhism class, preparing for the final exam in my Entomology class, and finishing the PorchLight Express website.

Yesterday, I met with my boss for my performance review, and it was great. That was a huge relief, as it’s actually kind of hard to figure out how well you’re doing your job when you’re in your first term as an SI leader. At one point, Ryan said, “When are you graduating, in May? That’s too bad. I mean — not for you! But it would’ve been nice to have you around longer.”

That felt really good!

I feel like I’m learning and growing a lot this semester — not just as a student, but as a person. The whole past year has been an exercise in figuring out who I am and where I fit and where I want to go … and also in learning how to be happy even though I’m not there yet.

By analogy, I came to a realization not long ago that has been bizarrely helpful (though, to be fair, if you’d told me the same thing maybe a year ago, I would’ve said you were full of crap). I was reflecting on why I liked making bread, but didn’t like putting the dishes away. Both are basically repetitive activities that you do in one place, and yet I find one of them enjoyable (even when it makes my wrists hurt) and the other tedious.

I came to the conclusion that there was, in fact, no good reason that I didn’t like putting dishes away. It was a mental thing. If I could like making bread, I could like putting the clean dishes back in the cupboards. The main difference is that putting clean dishes away involves working with a lot of small elements, much like de-cluttering does (this explains why I enjoy housework but hate de-cluttering; it took me the longest time to figure out that that was my biggest problem as a homemaker).

The working-with-lots-of-small elements part is difficult for me as someone with my particular flavor of ADHD. I think this is also why I enjoy bike maintenance, but not so much repairs — maintenance mostly involves fiddling with a whole bike; repairs often involve lots of fiddly parts that can escape and roll away and basically stress me out until they’re back on the bike.

That doesn’t mean I can’t come up with ways to find either process enjoyable, though — so I’m working in learning to like putting the dishes away, or at least not hate it. As for bike repairs — meh. Some of them I’ll definitely do (changing tires and sometimes repairing tires; fixing broken chains; stuff like that), but some I don’t mind paying someone else to do. Besides, that helps good bike wrenches stay in business, which I really appreciate when something major that I don’t know how to fix happens to one of my bikes.

On the “learning to like putting away dishes” front, I’m not going to say I’m entirely there yet. Nor am I going to say that this is something everyone can or should do — there’s lots of things that lots of people would say I “should” be able to learn to do or to like, but I either can’t or won’t, and I think that’s basically okay. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad person.

I feel like other people deserve the same consideration. People live in different ways and prioritize different things, and it’s totally okay to feel like putting dishes away is anathema to your soul. It’s okay to pay someone else do it, or bribe your spouse to do it, or just plain not do it. I personally know a couple people who have dishwashers solely so they don’t have to put the dishes away — they just put the dishes in, wash them, and then that’s where the dishes live until they’re all used, and then the cycle begins again. There’s nothing wrong with that, either.

So that’s a thing I think I’ll probably write about some more at some point.

In other news, I finally took the last dose of my tendon-exploding antibiotic this morning, so I rather expect to stop feeling exhausted and bedraggled in the next few days. I was so tired last night that I conked out before Denis got home from his night out with Kelly, and I didn’t even wake up when he got home and came to bed.

I’m looking forward to having my usual energy level back, but also glad that the break in ballet classes allows me to get more done while I’m still feeling the fatigue. The main part of my PLX job is just about done, too, so when ballet class resumes next week, I should be able to enjoy it without having to dash around quite so frenetically.

Frenetic dashing just isn’t really my style.

About asher

Me in a nutshell: Standard uptight ballet boy. Trapeze junkie. Half-baked choreographer. Budding researcher. Transit cyclist. Terrible homemaker. Neuro-atypical. Fabulous. Married to a very patient man. Bachelor of Science in Psychology (2015). Proto-foodie, but lazy about it. Cat owner ... or, should I say, cat own-ee? ... dog lover. Equestrian.

Posted on 2015/04/07, in adhd, balllet, Burning Man, life, work and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Bugs and the Buddha?
    So what’s the objective?
    Enlightened ants?

    • Ha! Fine question! You know, I haven’t thought about it in this way, but in a sense, my entomology prof does a good job presenting insects as living beings that humans can relate to — which, in a roundabout sense, is a pretty Buddhist idea.

      Right now, we’re learning about some pretty horrific insect-related biological warfare research that took place during WWII and after, which also relates as an exercise in compassion.

      As for enlightened ants … hm. Maybe they’re already enlightened! They seem to live in the present moment, have been known to sacrifice their lives for their sistren (albeit in between spells of exterminating their enemies as if they were the memory of Amalek), and don’t seem to complain much about having to fetch leaf cuttings or haul larvae. One never does know!

      • I often wonder what kind of consciousness and intellect a hive might have.

        When I was studying psychology they showed us a film of two nearby ant nests taken from a tower erected above them. The ants had been fed sugar water with different radioisotopes which the film displayed in different colours, so the images were of sort of amorphous blobs that were brighter where the density of ants was higher.

        The experimenters did various nasty things like placing food equidistant between the nests then pulling it towards one nest when the ants from the other nest had found it, triggering conflicts between the two nests. Watching the ‘amorphous blobs’ reaching out ‘pseudopods’ towards each other, suddenly retracting, spreading to the flanks and generally responding to each others actions it was hard not to see them as two animals in a kind of strategic wrestling match rather than hundreds of individual bugs that seemed to move almost randomly.

        Arguably we’re just particularly well integrated hives of cells and when you look at the behaviour of slime moulds, for example, it’s hard to draw a line between groups of individual organisms and a larger, more complex organism consisting of many integrated individuals. Which in turn makes you wonder about the ‘consciousness’ or ‘intellect’ of corporations, nation-states, etc.

      • I find myself wondering about that as well, from very much the same perspective.

        When I first learned in grade school that humans were comprised of a whole bunch of cells crammed together and sharing resources, I found myself being perplexed by the idea that I was simultaneously one entity (“I”) and a whole bunch of entities (“the cells that make up me”).

        The footage of radiographic ants sounds fascinating and says a lot about how ants behave as a communal entity, rather than as individual entities. When you started to describe them, I thought at once of slime molds (possibly the most fascinating thing in the world!), and then, by extension, the quaking aspens that appear to be a bajillion separate trees, but are in fact just one enormous tree (like Utah’s Pando, which has been given a name, is apparently 80,000 years old, and is evidently also the heaviest living thing on earth).

        I wonder sometimes, as I know other people do, if perhaps galaxies are also, in their own way, living beings made up of millions of component “cells.” It would be interesting to be able to see what we’ll learn about astronomy in the far future.

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