Sunday, March 11, 2018

Getting Back on Track

"Cold" seems a far too bland word for whatever it was I am getting over, but I don't know what else to call it. It was some sort of upper respiratory virus (not the flu!) and it absolutely flattened me. It knocked me off track in several ways. My exercise routine is gone. I am not sure when I'll be able to pick it back up. I can't really work out until I can go for a walk without dissolving into a coughing fit. I will try to start easing back in this week, by picking up my lunch time walks again.

I had just been finding my footing at work, and that feels lost now. I expect I'll get that sorted out pretty quickly, assuming I can actually go into the office like usual this week.

Probably worse of all is that my ratio of news consumed to actions taken is waaaaay off. I have found that the best way to fend off despair in this current political moment is for me to not spend too much time scrolling through Twitter reading stories (as interesting as some of stories are) and absorbing everyone's angst and anger (as righteous as some of that anger is). Rather, I like to dip in and out of Twitter, and not stay there too long. I have some key sites I check to keep up on not just the news but useful analysis of the news (Talking Points Memo being a big one of those, but also The Washington Post, Vox, and a couple of the columns at Slate, and I check in on the LA Times when my daily local news check turns up a big California story). I also have a Twitter list of journalists that I check in on in the evening. With all that, I feel like I am informed without being completely immersed in the terrible things going on. However, when I was flattened on the sofa, it was far too easy to just scroll and scroll. I tried to read my book and couldn't focus. I tried to watch something on TV and couldn't settle. So I ended up scrolling.

The other piece of my plan for fending off despair is to take action. That is a really important part for me. I need to do something concrete every week to feel like I am fighting back against the rising ill tide. I am not a big activist. I am not making a big impact. I just hope that my little bit adds in with other people's little bits and helps move us back away from the abyss. I have decided that the most useful thing I can do is try to influence the midterm elections. I still feel like these will be the most important elections of my lifetime. So every week, I usually write some postcards, and I might also send a small amount of money to a candidate I think will make good use of it. For the last two weeks, I've been too sick to do that. This week, I need to pick that back up, for the sake of my own sanity. Luckily, that is something I can do even with a lingering cough!


  1. I needed this post... and I need to write a pep talk activism post for myself too. I’m still doing something each week, but last week all it was was my weekly proofreading and making one phone call. With the 2018 elections on the horizon there’s so much that can be done.

    I guess an easy place to start is donating to swing left.

  2. Socal dendrite10:35 AM

    Are you *sure* sure it wasn't the flu? It sounds exactly like what knocked out me and my family in early-Feb (high fever, cough, crippling fatigue for a couple of weeks). I feel like I'm only just climbing out of the hole we all ended up in, so I know how you feel. Anyway, whatever it was, I hope you get back on track soon.

    1. I had a flu test, and it was negative. It was some other virus that was going around!


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