Note to Self: It’s Okay To Take A Break

Photo By Toa Heftiba on unsplash.com

I’m so distracted and out of focus. I can’t hold onto a thought, let alone follow it to a logical and meaningful conclusion. Sure, my attention span is woefully lacking on a good day. It’s so short, calling it a span seems like a gross overestimation of my ability to process real-time information. A span implies a certain degree of quantifiable data. I can barely write two words before my mind wanders off into a black void.

There are no thoughts, feelings, or much of anything else. It’s a light switch that’s been turned off, and I can’t see a damn thing. It’s darkness in the physical, rather than emotional, sense. I walk into a windowless room, the door closes, and the pitch-black swallows everything up.

That’s where my mind is right now so, why not write something? Great idea!

If I saw something shiny and chased it down a rabbit hole, then we’d be standing on familiar ground. I type a word, for example, and it’ll look a little off. I look up its meaning, origins, and synonyms. Then one of those synonyms will give me a chuckle or it will be a word I’ve never heard of before. Such a rare and wonderful find. A new word? Yes, please.

It’s even more magical if it’s characterized as archaic. A word like? Um…Oh, I know! Mundivagant. Yes, that’s a real word, and it means to wander over the world. I’m so mundivagant! I don’t want to hang around and let my roots grow too deep. Of course, I could give a walkabout a shot. It’s easier to say and spell. Is it as much fun?

I’ll let you be the judge because I’ve lost my train of thought. It took me thirty minutes to write that paragraph. I wrote two words, then my mind switched off, powered down, and took its sweet time rebooting. What’s wrong with me?

Time for a little self-psychoanalysis? Sure, my rates are cheaper than a licensed professional.

I think the stressors of the last few months are running me down. It’s been a lot, and my brain is refusing to process any more information. Politics. Viruses. Anti everything groups with logic, so convoluted, it sounds almost delusional. In the spirit of fairness, I try to untangle the web, but at some point, I have to throw up my hands and give up.

Clearly, logic means different things to different people.

Can a human brain run out of memory? The storage is full. The cloud is saturated. If only there was an external drive that I could plug into my ears. I could clear some space for everything else trying to get in. Hasn’t it been invented yet?

Did the Jetsons lie to me? Oo, I found something shiny! 

When I was a kid, I’d watch reruns of the Jetsons because I’ve always been a weird old soul. How grand did the future look? Flying bubble cars. Jetpacks. Robot maids that cook, clean, and do laundry. Sure, we have robots that do things, but it’s not the same. They don’t talk sassy to me unless I program it. If I have to ask, then it’s just not the same.

Damn it, why did I meet George Jetson? Can you say meet George Jetson without singing the song? Impossible! Unless you’ve never watched the show. Watch it. It’s cute, kind of funny, and it has a dog. Just watch the show for the dog! He says “Ruh-roh Reorge” at least once an episode, and it’s comedy gold.

I shouldn’t blame a tv show for my problems. Especially a show that premiered in the sixties. They were experimenting with a lot of things back then. What kind of things? Look up Woodstock, and you’ll put the pieces together. Out of those things came a sassy robot and a dog who ran around saying ruh-roh.

Also, they inadvertently predicted the future. Or, and I’m just spitballing, they were alien time travellers who were leaving clues. Hoping we’d take the hint and evolve because they needed friends. Someone to play with, talk to, have a drink. But first, they needed to equalize the playing field. Which is why they created a show to inspire our imaginations.

Did I just invent a conspiracy theory? Huh, I’ve never done that before.

The show introduced us to smartwatches, tablets, and video chat. They gave us flatscreen TVs and treadmills for our dogs. There’s a long list of gear, inspired by the show. We could say, if we’re feeling frisky, that they sparked a technological revolution. 

Then again, the watch looked like it weighed ten pounds, so they were a bit off. Whoever wore it was sure to have a super jacked bicep. Clearly, the aliens didn’t know about carpal tunnel syndrome.

Sure, they didn’t get everything right, and we’ve gone further than they imagined. The watches barely weigh anything, and the computers are smaller as well. There’s one thing they nailed, though. They said we would become dependant on the gear, and they were right.

Especially now, when so many of us are separated from our loved ones. These gadgets have become our lifelines. If it wasn’t for video chat, I would’ve lost my mind ages ago. I need movie nights over Facetime or virtual dinners with family. It’s as essential to my survival as goofy cartoons.

Wait, did the Jetsons manifested our technological reality? They put the dream out into the universe and, tada: Smartphones. If only they’d invested more energy into producing an external hard drive for my brain? Thanks for screwing us over George, and your little alien creators. 

My brain is full. My memory is shutting down. I don’t know what day it is! Every day this week has felt like Thursday. What does Thursday feel like? Uh…

And just like that, the lights are flickering. I can’t believe I managed to hold a thought long enough to write a few paragraphs. Is it a sign of progress? 

I just took a forty-minute break, and it wasn’t on the schedule. I was typing, and then I blanked out. When I looked at my watch, time had disappeared. I didn’t move, my fingers were in position, and I stared out at nothing.

Do you have days like these? No matter how hard you try, you can’t focus on anything, and everything feels like a chore. Small things like getting out of bed and having a shower are so hard. Putting on clothes because public nudity is illegal? Fine, I’ll cover the required bits, but I’m not going to win any style points.

This morning, I sat on the edge of my bed for ten minutes. I wasn’t thinking about anything, and I didn’t feel any emotions. I was blank, turned off, and unplugged. I went through my morning routine in much the same way. Vaguely aware of what I was doing, but nothing really penetrated the fog.

If there’s any thought at all, it’s two words on repeat: I’m tired.

I’ve put a lot of myself into a lot of different things, and now there’s not much of me left. I’m trying to do something, create something from nothing, and the walls in front of me are very high. I’m climbing those walls and trying to build a ladder, but multitasking takes up a lot of brainpower.

I’m tired.

Then there’s the world outside of my own little sphere. It feels like everything is on fire; I mean that in the literal and figurative sense. Forests are still burning. A virus is spread. Politics is a dumpster fire no matter where you live. It’s a universal eye-roll. We can all join together and explain, “Politicians, am I right?” 

I’m so tired.

I’ve been told that it’s none of my business. What happens in another country isn’t my concern. I shouldn’t care about the lives of people outside of my family, friends, community, or my country. Clean up your own lawn before you clean up mine; or something to that effect. Well, fair, God knows we’ve got a mess on our hands and a system that needs a massive overhaul. 

So, wait, I can’t care about other things as well?

I wish I didn’t care so much, and that’s a sentiment I’ve heard from a lot of people. If only our emotional range was the size of a teaspoon, then we’d be happier. If only we didn’t give two f**ks about anyone outside of our circle. If only we could look away from people in pain. Our lives would be a lot more peaceful, and I, for one, would sleep a lot better. 

Alas, most of us have the emotional range of a tapped oil rig out in the middle of the ocean. We feel things deeply, no matter how high the waves get. Those feelings keep coming. We don’t know how to stop caring, and you know what? I don’t know if we should stop caring for others. No matter where they live in the world, we should care.

A lot of our problems centre around a small group of people who have stopped caring. Maybe they never did? I prefer to think that they, like me, got too tired. They felt so much for so long, and now they’re out of emotional memory on their internal drive.

Instead of thinking about others, they’ve swung the other direction. Their only concern is their own welfare and the cleanliness of their own backyards. The result? The earth was already a powder keg, so light a match and watch it burn.

I’m so tired.

There’s a mess in my backyard, and in my neighbours too. The house down the street is on fire. A water-main burst and, a home is flooding. What can I do? Not a hell of a lot, but that doesn’t mean I stop caring. I clean up my mess and offer you support if you need it. 

If needed, we stop what we’re doing and come together to help someone in a dire circumstance. That’s what it means to be a member of the human race. A global community. Caring, compassionate, decent, and (if you believe in this sort of thing) God-loving people. We care about each other!

Sorry, but I won’t stop caring. I can’t. Won’t. Shouldn’t, ever, stop caring.

How does that explain my current mood? I’m emotionally exhausted because I’ve given a lot of myself away. Again, I can’t, won’t, stop caring about other people, but I can take a break. Turn off the news, stay away from social media, and, for the love of all that is precious, don’t click on the comment section under Twitter posts.

I need a break, and I have to remind myself that it’s okay. Taking a break doesn’t mean you don’t care. It’s giving the brain and heart time to recharge. It’s clearing out some space so that we can keep caring about our world and the precious people who call it home. Maybe it will give us some time to come up with solutions so that we can turn compassion into action.

This weekend, I’m taking a break. I’m unplugging the fancy gizmo’s the Jetsons inspired, and I’m going to run around yelling ruh-roh. What would you do if some ran up to you and ruh-roh’d? Teehee, now I wanna ruh-roh random people.

Oh, I need a nap.

One thought on “Note to Self: It’s Okay To Take A Break

  1. I know that tiredness.
    My head has been so heavy
    and noisy lately…
    and today it was migrainey and screaming-at-me-y
    (I think I just invented that phrase),
    I thought I was gonna crumble into dust.
    I’ve been scribbling
    so much new stuff…
    while wanting to do do much other stuff
    that I can’t put into words
    because it has no words, and no image and no place –

    but I know there are folks out there like you
    who know it too,
    and feel its tiredness
    knocking them sideways
    from the edge of the bed.

    Big hugs from a place we meet in orbit, when writing around the thing we know is there.

    Like

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