Clinically speaking, blahs are not a particularly worrisome condition. Think of it more as an extended feeling of stasis. As much as you’d like to have movement or activity, you just can’t settle on something to do. That’s pretty much where I am at the moment.
Work wise, things are quite slow. No major deadlines, a short trip coming up in a few weeks depending on what kind of blow Hurricane Nate deals the Baton Rouge area. Next year could be pretty darned busy but for now, it’s mostly housekeeping work. And training, I’m doing lots of training which is interesting and inspiring but not the same as accomplishing tasks. This is particularly frustrating as I feel like I just got my productivity mojo right where I want it to be and I’m anxious to try it.
Fitness-wise I’m in a bit of a rut as well. We’re heading in to winter and so bike touring options are fading. I know many folks who ride year round, but it isn’t quite the same for me. I’m on an extended hiatus from running after some nasty shin splints. I have orthotics waiting for me at the foot clinic but those take time to get used to so I’ll be starting from a standstill there – and the weather’s cooling so it’s going to be treadmill or dismal winter outdoor running for me. So running/cycling are pretty much out until spring.
Oh wait! There is one pretty great thing. I can ride all I want in a virtual world all winter. I know, that sounds a bit sarcastic but it really isn’t. Zwift was a revelation for me when I started with it last winter. I could hop on my bike indoors, train or race with other people and not have to worry about the weather, when the spin classes are scheduled for or how traffic/transit was to get there. And while I did it I could have whatever music I felt like and choose my own song to do my final sprint at the end of the race to. I’ve been riding several hours a week there even now and I’m loving it. That said, it would be nice to have a sense of purpose to go with the riding and eventual running. A long bike tour is a great way to motivate myself to push during the hard parts. At this point I haven’t anything planned and nothing is really speaking to me in that sense. That could change.
Travel would be awesome to do. At the moment, though, our travel budget is pretty small. We just paid off all of our debt – we weren’t carrying much but we had a constant level for almost a decade. That is no more. But the last thing I need to be doing is to, hypothetically, book a month long trip to India. I’ve got some travel credits in North America but I’m going to hold off on using them. Canadian destinations will be getting cold very soon and quite frankly, non work-related destinations in the states are off my list until at least January 20th, 2021.
I’m pretty excited about local adventures like the Library project I’m doing. I’ve got a few nearby destinations in the works for day and weekend trips which should be pretty cool.
What I’m really looking for and am not finding as yet is something that meets a few criteria:
I really love things that put me out of my comfort zone and especially in (safe) situations where I really don’t know what’s going to happen next. This is what bicycle touring is for me. This is also a great deal of what traveling to India is. (And someday I hope to combine those). In both those situations, I would wake up in the morning, walk out the door and have no idea what was going to happen that day or what to expect but it would be fascinating and I’d look back on it for years to come.
The other thing I really like to have in a project is an element of challenge. Training for a bike ride, for example. Learning to speak another language before a trip. Preparation that pays off is really exciting.
One of those two conditions without the other leaves me cold. Learning/training for no particular reason just seems like drudgery. At the same time, stepping out of my comfort zone without working for it isn’t fulfilling. This is why I don’t see myself doing something like the Edgewalk on the top of the CN tower.
So my search is on for something that meets those requirements. It would be especially great to find something that would meet both those criteria without requiring a ton of money or time off from work. (To be fair, training for the half marathon I didn’t get to run – but whose distance I ran anyway – was pretty close to that. I can’t wait to be able to run again). Any thoughts on what kind of productive “trouble” I can get myself in to?
And in the meantime, how am I dealing with the blahs? Well partly I’m just accepting them. This always happens to me between big projects that I’m passionate about. I get really excited about them, have an amazing time doing them, and then feel like…
…until I find a new thing to do.
But mostly I’m working on the things I enjoy doing and trying to increase the amount of time I’m doing the things I love like:
- I’m going from studying Hindi every few days for just a few minutes to writing to one or more pen pals every few days and doing 30-60 minutes of watching videos and practice every weekday. It’s time to raise the bar.
- I’m going to be increasing the frequency of the library visits. They don’t usually put me in crazy situations like a bike tour or international travel does but it reveals really interesting things about our city.
- Like I said – I have a few day/weekend trips figured out for outside the city to places I’m curious about.
- I’m behind on my goal of 15 books read for 2017 – and I’ve got a few books I’ve partially read. Time to wrap those up.
- I’m starting to cook more new dishes – things I’ve loved at restaurants but that I haven’t tried cooking at home before. This does two things: we eat well, I enjoy cooking and feel pleased at my successful attempts, and we eat at restaurants less so our travel budget grows.
Tonight, for example, I’ve done most of the prep for a Chettinad style chicken dish I’ve only had in restaurants. The masala paste is ground up and just waiting for Sage to come home with the chicken. And then, after years of intending to, I made this – the first mithai I’ve made in about 15 years:
This is my favourite Indian sweet: gajar halwa. You can get it at restaurants here but only some of the time is it warm. Often it’s cold which is really disappointing. Mine is hot, delicious, and I can have as much as I want. Of course now I also know how “healthy” it is for you. This took a pound of carrots, a cup of sugar, and a cup of ghee (clarified butter). It’s a heart attack in a bowl but oh what a way to go. It came out pretty good – I did use a pre-made masala so next time I’ll have to try it completely from scratch.
So there you go. No great answers how to get out of the blahs but it doesn’t have to be boring there either. I intend to be doing interesting things if not knocking myself off-balance quite as much as I might like. And of course we’ll all be eating really well while I do it.