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March 8th, 2017

Grumpiness doesn't pay the bills

It's easy to get grumpy, and not very helpful. What is helpful? Meditation has its uses. I keep intending to establish a regular practice. I recently completed the introductory 10-day course in meditation using an app called Headspace. It only took me 12 days to complete the ten ten-minute sessions. Thereafter, Headspace wanted me to pay money to subscribe to their on-going encouragement to meditate. For someone with a job in the tech industry, the monthly fee would be trivial. For a broke-ass podcaster and freelance videographer living in rural Vermont, the monthly subscription fee is non-trivial. So, I searched for and found a free meditation app, but I'm using it even less consistently than I used Headspace.

Ideally, I would meditate first thing in the morning. I do use electronic devices to achieve specific states of consciousness most mornings, just not the state of mind I'm after. I often start the day with a cup of tea and a game or 5 of Plants vs. Zombies Heros. Then comes email, and as often as not a link in an email leads me to Facebook. Most mornings I confine my Facebook use to the Friends of the C-Realm group. I'll catch up on comment threads and at least open linked articles in new browser tabs. I try to read them all, but I would guess I actually manage to read 1 in 3.

Both yesterday and today I went to the gym, got changed into my workout clothes, did some abdominal exercises to warm up and then got a familiar headache on my first set of actual weight-lifting. Yesterday, I opted for an hour of yoga in place of weight lifting. Today, I left the gym with the intention of taking a long walk. It was warm today. A good day for a walk. Did I take that walk? No. I came home and went right back to editing the video that I'd been working on before my aborted trip to the gym. Why didn't I walk? Because I wanted to listen to a podcast while I walked, but my phone wasn't charged. Can't walk without a full charge on my phone, right?

I'm bummed out that I haven't had a decent workout in nearly a week, but I know better than to ignore that intense pain behind my left eye. I got an exertion headache when I joined a gym back in 2013. I tried pushing through it, and that made things much worse. I ended up having to work with very low weights for several weeks to prevent the headaches from recurring. I don't want to lose what gains I've managed to make in the gym over the past year, but my muscles won't melt away in a week, nor will my established exercise habit go to seed in so short a time. Still, it's easy to get grumpy when the body doesn't seem to keep its end of the workout bargain.

It's easy to get grumpy about the news, about politics, about idiocy on display on Facebook. It's easy to get grumpy, but grumpiness doesn't pay the bills or connect me with fun new people or spark novel insights. Some people enjoy listening to me rant, but when I feel the rant take on a life of its own I try to remember to ease back from the edge. There's a ranter and a rager lurking inside me, waiting for its chance to run the show. It's an energetic show, but it isn't useful.

What is useful?

Meditation is useful. And money. Money is also useful.

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