In junior high school and high school, I had what I would consider a healthy fear of dying, but what most rational adults might have called oversized. My fear manifested itself in staying up way too late, mostly out of fear of not waking in the morning. Which meant, unsurprising to none, I was constantly tired from a lack of sleep. Even as a kid, I knew that my fear of dying was a result of not having lived, what with my being a fearful child and all, but that knowledge did not lessen my fear.
Some time during those fearful teen years, I visited Nina, a friend of my dad's and a woman I bonded fiercely to. I can't recall if this particular visit was before I left Indiana, or during one of my visits back to the state, but I believe it was before I left. I recall the house Nina lived in, recall the dining area we sat in during this visit. I suspect if I asked her, she could narrow down when this visit was.
During this particular visit, in our normal chatting, I confessed I was sleeping poorly, because I was afraid of dying. She paused our conversation and said, "Death isn't anything to be afraid of. It doesn't hurt, and all your pains go away."
She then began telling me a part of her story I hadn't heard before. She explained to me how she knew what she had just told me. Her tale was tragic, heart-breaking, inspiring, and memorable. It is also her story to tell, not mine.
At the time, I heard her words, but I didn't understand them. How could I? How could a healthy, active, sheltered, white, mid-teen girl whose worst pain was infrequent migraines and a one-sided, make-believe heartache understand the release of dying? I lacked the world experience, the living, necessary to fully grasp what Nina was saying about the pain.
Because at fifteen, you cannot understand that the pain an adult tells you will go away at death is not the physical pain of the body, but the torturous pain of the soul.
It is the pain of true heartbreak, the torment of breaking the one you love, the loss of safety, the fading of friendships, the sorrow of failing, the agony of your loved ones dying before you as the world keeps going, the hurt of your best friend mocking you, the weight of expectations denied, the loss of dreams left forever unfulfilled, the shame of betrayal, the hurtful words you can't take back, and the non-stop influx of society telling you, "You aren't good enough, fast enough, pretty enough, rich enough, powerful enough, smart enough, strong enough, you are never enough and you never will be." It is the memories that come, unbidden, in the darkest of night, haunting you years, decades later, with their embarrassing moments, their echoing shames, their haunting words, and their unrelenting clarity.
You can't know these at a sheltered fifteen. You don't have perspective.
When do you have perspective?
I don't know when the perspective happens. Live long enough and it does.
The weight of those pains, the words, the memories, they build up, become overwhelming, and crush you if you don't have a coping mechanism. Sometimes even when you do.
These days, I think of Nina's words and believe I understand. I believe I understand why my grandfather removed the oxygen tubes from his face. I believe I understand the sound of a different final sigh. I believe what Nina said those many years ago, and I believe that my final thoughts will carry less fear than I had thought they would, and more joy instead.
I believe my thoughts will carry the infinite release of those pains of the soul, and maybe, also, her words.
It's like Apple knew people who use the command line and keyboards a lot were going to be upset at the loss of the Escape key.
Open up System Preferences (upper left of the screen, click on the apple, in the dropdown menu that shows, click the "System Preferences" menu option).
Open up the Keyboard Preferences (type "keyboard" in the upper right search box or click the keyboard icon).
Select "F1, F2, etc. Keys" in the "Touch Bar Shows" option.
I really need to update my daily-photo code to include srcset and sizes for these images. :\
I tried scheduling for the first time in a long time today. It worked really well, mostly in the time-boxing elements of the process.
I already had my weekly review process, and my daily planning and review processes. All of these work for me, even though I know they are more rigid / routine than most people want or like to do. The process works for me, gives me a fallback when sh-t hits the fan, and helps me keep going when I just don't want to do anything. I am thankful for the momentum my routines give me when I need to rest.
One can want to do nothing and still do something. That's part of being an adult, that's part of being a responsible functioning member of society, that's part of being a good human, that's part of being able to live a life with fewer regrets than you'd have if you did the nothing you want to do.
So, I have my weekly plan, check-in, and review processes. I have my daily three-things-I'm-going-to-do today tasks. What I didn't have, however, was a plan for finishing all of my daily and weekly tasks. Sure, I'd finish most of the items on my task list, but I wouldn't start until late afternoon, and do everything in the evening and late at night. I know WHY I drifted into this mode, but I didn't have to like it.
So (again!), in the interest of experimenting to find something that works even better for me, I did the one thing I've been resisting for the longest time: I scheduled out my day.
Here are the tasks I'm going to do, and here are the times I am going to do them. If I didn't put it on the calendar or in a time slot, said task wasn't getting done.
You know, more rigidity.
The planning worked though. I stuck to my schedule, didn't have to think much when the time slots switched over, I had already done all the planning, and was able to switch to the next task and finish all of them. I learned that I needed more buffer time between tasks, but that my time estimates were pretty good.
Will I stick to this scheduling?
/me looks at the clock, sees 8 minutes remaining for "blog" tasks. Likely. Having an end time is great, time-boxing tasks is great, finishing tasks is great (Kyle Smith is great). The newness of the technique for me might be the key to its effectiveness. We'll see.
For now, however, my sh-- is gettin' done! Keepin' it real!