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Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Neurodiversity Awareness/Appreciation

Saturday, October 6, 2018

When Life Hands You Lemons

Hi everyone!
The last time I wrote here, I mentioned that I was slipping into depression.
I am still actively trying to pull myself out. I've been making healthy meals for myself (at least, reasonably healthy... today I had a vegetarian chik'n patty sandwich and cherry tomatoes for lunch, and corn on the cob and sour dough bread for dinner) and I've been looking for activities to do outside of my apartment. Friday night, I volunteered in the children's activity area of my town's monthly First Friday festival... I helped them paint and decorate rocks. I am probably going to do that every month. I also looked into helping at an organization for homeless teenagers. And tomorrow I am going hiking with a Meetup group.
I probably blow off about 50% of the things I plan to do, based on how well I am feeling a few hours before it is time to go. Some days I literally cannot get myself out of bed. I'll wake up in the morning and feel okay, read for a while, think about getting out of bed, and then suddenly feel overwhelmed and exhausted and fall back asleep. Then, next thing I know, it is 1 pm, and I start feeling guilty about not being out of bed yet... which makes me feel more overwhelmed and exhausted. Luckily I have my dog and cat to insist that I get out of bed to take care of them (and my four fish, who would probably insist that I get out of bed to take care of them, if they could jump out of their tanks and come find me in my room) so that forces some structure into my life.
I recently sort of found a freelance writing job. I had to write an example essay and pass as test to get in. The job involves writing articles on specific topics, based on information that is given to you. It pays $30 to $40 per article. So far I have written three. I assumed it would be extremely easy because I can write pretty well, but the challenging part is that you have to make their word count (usually 2,000 words) and you have to do it using only the information they give you. Basically they give you the information, and you have to put it into an article format with 2,000 words. Except, they don't always give you 2,000 words worth of information! This can be torturous! I get to the point where I've written everything I possibly can, given the information I have, and then my word count is 1,200. I have to go back and spend about an hour trying to add small details. They don't like you to blatantly stretch your word count (such as just adding extra describing words for no real reason) so you have to work hard to make it legit. But... it is a writing job! My first two articles were already accepted. I wrote them in 1 day. I wrote the third article just now, before I logged into my blog.
So, from that, I decided... while I am unemployed, I am going to try to take advantage of the situation by living as a full time writer. I am going to make a weekday schedule for myself that will require me to get up out of bed by 9 (a lofty goal for me at this point... I really am a sleepy person even on my best of days). I will strive to write at least two articles per day, which should take me about four hours total. (I swear, that word count makes writing these articles take four times as long as it should!) I will spend some of the rest of my time working on my own writing projects, such as this blog, and the memoir I have been writing for about 20 years now. (How does anyone ever finish a memoir? If you are still breathing, there is still more to write!) I'm also going to schedule in self-care activities such as going to the creative writing group and other groups at the mental health center. And I am going to try to do at least one outdoor, physically active thing per week, such as hiking. (I love the outdoors once I am actually out there, so this is a good thing... it is just a matter of pushing myself to actually go, instead of hiding under my covers making excuses to stay indoors!)
I'm telling you all this because I'm hoping that, if I write it here, I will actually do it. Instead of just squandering my life, I will try to make the best of it and do what I've always wanted to do, which is write for a living and have free time to do the things I enjoy.
Last week, life literally handed me lemons... in my Imperfect Produce box! (It is a box of imperfect looking fruit and vegetables that cannot be sold in stores. It is like a subscription box, where twice a week a box shows up at your doorstep full of oddly shaped fruits and vegetables! That is where my corn on the cob and cherry tomatoes came from! And also, the lemons.) So I made lemonade! It was so good. Did you know that if you take the sugar, mix it with water, and boil it, before adding it to the lemonade, you won't have to worry about the sugar all sinking to the bottom? At any rate, that is what I want to try to do with my life... make lemonade!