Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Good and not so good

This morning was gym and then library for NaNoWriMo. Our library will be closed on Friday, which means that Monday will be my next and final NaNoWriMo commitment there. I told a friend that having the library NaNoWriMo project has been an added stressor during this time of preparation for moving, but at the same time, it got me out of the house and gave me something else to think about. And it helped keep me working on my own novel, however much or little help it has been to the other participants. So all in all, it was a good thing for me to do. This was probably my last contribution to the life of the Kilbourn Public Library. I got a lot from the library during the ten years we were in the Dells, as patron, as volunteer and as staff member. It feels good to go out on a proud note.

I have joked before about being OCD. Those are the initials for the Latin name of my former religious community, the Discalced Carmelites: Ordo Carmelitarum Discalceatorum. For three decades, I added those initials after my name: Fr. Michael Dodd, OCD (or as time went by, ocd).

They also stand for obsessive-compulsive disorder.This can be informally described as a mental disorder where someone repeatedly needs to check things (returning to the house five times to make sure the oven is off) or has certain thoughts over and over and over (Am I obsessing about this?) or constantly needs to perform certain routines/rituals (hand-washing) and so on. 

It is only a clinical disorder, of course, if it has significant negative impact on everyday life. I don't think I am there.

But I do tend to get carried away with things, even good things. 

Watching what I eat or going to the gym, for example. That is a good thing. My doctor loves me for it. (I compulsively do things to please my doctors.) I feel better. But I notice if I miss several days of exercise, I get antsy. I had to make a conscious decision to stop trying to increase the time I spend on the treadmill. Admittedly I am retired and have time to do whatever I want, but do I need to spend an hour and a half every morning on the treadmill? Do I need to check my Fitbit several times a day to see how close I am to 10,000 steps? Do I need to think that 10,000 steps is a minimum, not a goal, that somehow I should be doing 20,000 steps and more every day?

Or what about earning bonus points online for using certain apps or search engines? It is nice to see those points pile up and to have my Amazon gift card balance (where I apply all the money earned) grow and grow and grow. 

But do I need to spend the time tapping my tablet or clicking my mouse to earn these paltry rewards that I hardly ever use and that I certainly don't need?

Or NaNoWriMo. Only about 17% (I read somewhere) reach 50,000 words during the 30 days of November. I reached that on November 18. While going to the gym and getting ready to move and ...

So I have decided that as part of starting a new chapter of my life with the move to Madison, I am going to try to cut myself some slack. I want to maintain healthy habits, but I want them to be happy habits, not compulsions. 

There is more to life than walking on treadmills and poking tablets. And life is too short to waste on a lot of stuff.

Breathe in, breathe out. Relax.

But not compulsively! Breathe, don't pant.

PS -- I can become compulsive about blogging, too. So if you notice I am not here as often, assume that I am enjoying some free time. And feel free to enjoy the time you would have spent reading this blog doing something else that makes you happy.

But do check back from time to time!


Mitchell is Moving said...

My OCD (or ocd) is more along the lines of turning all the fruit tins to face the same direction and, of course, align; alphabetising the spices and cookbooks, even thought I don't cook; straightening the chairs in a restaurant and stools in a bar as I walk by. I admire you for sticking to the NaNoWriMo commitment. I never even started!

Ur-spo said...

(I compulsively do things to please my doctors.)

Oh that sounds good to me on many levels.