A Little Too Much
Sometimes, I make bad decisions.
In fact, I would argue that I am better at making bad decisions than the average person — which is to say that, because I am a tad impulsive, I probably make them more often than most people do.
I’m not normally prone to catastrophically bad decisions (once in a while, sure — but for someone with bipolar and ADHD, I’m doing a reasonably decent job not burning my house down because SQUIRREL!).
Rather, it seems that I rather often find myself saying, “…It seemed like a good idea at the time.”
Anyway, this is one of those stories, but it’s an instructive one. For me, at least (consider this another “note-to-self,” I guess?).
Yesterday, I decided that I should stop at the grocery on the way home from the studio and pick up a few things. Dancers gotta eat. (Isn’t that a song? “Birds gotta swim; fish gotta fly; Dancers gotta eat if they don’t wanna die…*”)
There were five items on my list; five — I think I finished up closer to twenty, including five pounds of potatoes, a couple of pounds of quick oats, and some other things that are packaged by the pound.
In short, my purchases were rather on the heavy side for carrying home without, say, a proper backpack (my dance bag is tiny), shoulder bag, bike with panniers**, or what have you.
Anyway, just purchasing heavy groceries wouldn’t have been a terrible idea if I’d then decided that, as I usually do, I should call Denis to come collect me at the store.
Instead, as I was still in a mildly paranoid frame of mind, I decided that it annoys him when I call to ask him to pick me up, and that I should try to get home without doing that.
So I schlepped my purchases down to the bus stop and got on the bus.
…Which, in and of itself, might have been an acceptable decision.
Except then, without bothering to consult Transit App (Which, you guys, has made my life SO MUCH EASIER. I love living in the future!), I decided that there was no way the current bus would actually make a timely connection with the bus that would get me closer to home, and that it would make more sense to get off and walk 1.7 miles with my heavy-ass bags (I did have the sense to stuff my potatoes into my dance bag, at least).
WTF, you guys.
It seemed like a good idea at the time?
So I started walking.
Now, 1.7 miles really isn’t that far (for me). I will walk that far for fun without even thinking about it.
But a 1.7 miles with twenty-odd pounds of groceries in flimsy plastic carrier bags (because I forgot my reusable bags, because ADHD I guess?) and no free hands with which to scratch your perpetually-itchy nose; 1.7 miles of which the last .5 mile traverses three transverse moraines with short but steep climbs?
That was no fun.
Needless to say, by the time I got home, I was both drenched in sweat and more or less ready to lie down dead on the floor. And my shoulders hurt. And my arms. And my hands. And, in fact, even my legs.
And it had taken roughly forever and a half because every five or ten minutes I would have to stop put my gloves on (because the bags were eating through my hands, even though I double-bagged everything), take off my hat(because it was too hot), take off my neck tube (ditto), take off my sweater (erm … thritto?), or scratch my by-our-lady nose, which answered my attempts to use Applied Zen with an escalating arms-race of itchiness that quickly approached Thermonuclear Zombie Apocolypse levels.
After arriving home and quite literally sitting on the floor for a few minutes, being angry at the world for … let’s face it, who even knows? Sometimes, when you have bipolar disorder, your thoughts don’t really make a lot of sense.
…Um, where was I?
Oh, right. So after literally sitting on the floor for a few minutes, I got up, put the groceries away, washed dishes, and made chili for dinner and the best freaking chocolate muffins in the universe (reduced-sugar version; the basic recipe is vegan, though these ones have non-vegan chocolate chips in) because Denis loves them and I am a sucker.
And then we went out to the live-in-HD production of A Winter’s Tale, capping off a day that might have already been a little much by staying up past our bedtime (though, to be honest, that has nothing to do with why it took me ’til 4 AM to get to sleep).
Perhaps unsurprisingly, today I am not feeling so very peachy. I woke up with my wildly-underutilized upper body muscles feeling like they were full of ground glass*** and the rest of me feeling, well, really just kind of meh. Puny, icky, achy, under the weather, and … I don’t know, swollen or something. If that makes any sense.
And I realized that, in a sense, this was what I felt like when I was getting back to class after the recent Pneumonia Campaign (except, then, the ground-glass sensation was in my legs).
Which has led me to a revelation that really seems like, you know, it shouldn’t seem revelatory.
Specifically, that small expenditures of energy can still add up to one big expenditure at the end of the day, even with dribs and drabs of recovery in their midst.
You’re still burning matches, even if you don’t just light the whole book on fire and watch them all go up in a blaze of glory (or, alternatively, you’re still using up spoons, even if you don’t just throw them all at the smug-faced hipsters at the next table all in one … hm. Maybe I’m still feeling a little grumpy today).
Over time, of course, conditioning can help you start the day with more matches (well, not always: health conditions can get in the way, of course). The trick is figuring out how many you’ve got, since they’re invisible, and you don’t know they’re gone ’til you’ve used the last one.
So it turns out I might have overdone it a little yesterday, whereby I’m taking a rest day today (as if I ever do anything on Tuesday in the first place).
Some part of me, of course, continues to complain vociferously about this idea: You don’t need a rest day, it insists, You didn’t even do that much yesterday.
Except, as it turns out, I did — not just the walk (over the moraines) to the bus, then Brian’s class (which felt fairly easy, but was still pretty athletic), then the walk to lunch, then the walk to the other bus, then the walk through the grocery store, then the walk home with all those freaking groceries, then the cleaning and the cooking, all of which involves being up on your feet and moving … yeah. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
Does this mean that, the next time I feel the need to do two days of hard classes and all the other stuff back-to-back, I won’t?
No — in part, to be honest, because that’s the life I’ve chosen for myself. Dancers gonna dance.
But it does mean I’ll consider the process of conditioning, and maybe I’ll learn to go easier on myself when it is time for a rest day.
…But does it mean I’ll learn to make better decisions?
In all honesty, in a general sense, probably not.
But it might mean that I’ll learn, eventually, to figure out roughly how many matches I’ve got without burning the whole book and half of tomorrow’s book.