Self-Reflection Sunday: Managing my Inner Mule

One of my least favorite things about being a responsible adult is the sheer amount of things that need doing that always seem to get in the way of the things I most want to do. Jobs, housework, family obligations, all the things we need to do to care for our bodies; it all drains our energy and fills our hours, and most of us are stuck with scraps, trying to cobble together space for the things that rejuvenate us and bring us joy. Some folks are lucky and have a lot of overlap, but the rest of us simply make do through giant swathes of our lives.

But this is a universal problem, and while I could choose to dwell on it, I honestly don’t see the point. When things feel overwhelming and unsustainable, I will usually set my mind on a life tidy, of sorts. Toss out the things that don’t serve, fill the spaces those things leave behind with other things that prove more functional, or at least more satisfying.

What I don’t have the solution for is this: what do I do when the thing that is forever getting in my way is … me? I’ve been in a bit of a slump for awhile now, and the common denominator seems to be that I am stubbornly blocking my own progress. How do I manage my inner mule, that part of me that knows that if I just do the thing I will feel good about it, but that won’t let me start?

Here’s a great example, doubly so because I actually figured the problem out and implemented a solution. I had a cross-stitch project, that I had worked on through about the halfway point, sitting on my desk, untouched for almost two full months. There was nothing I could tell myself that would get my butt into the chair and that thread into my hands. I was bored with all my own excuses for why I couldn’t possibly work on it.

Finally, at the tail end of last month, I talked myself into working on another small project; something that would stitch up fast. I wasn’t sure if, maybe, the hobby had run its course for me, and that was why I was so resistant. But after kitting up something new, I barely put it down until it was done. I still wasn’t sure if that was a fluke, so I did it again, and I realized that it wasn’t that I didn’t want to stitch – I just didn’t want to work on that project anymore.

So, I took it off, the frame, gathered up all the parts, and put it away.

A post from my Mastodon account that says:  

Sunk cost fallacy is a bitch - I just kept thinking "I'm over half done. I've spent a buttload on materials.  Changing what's on the frame is a hassle." but I didn't touch it for over a month.

So, if I pick it up again, fine.  If I don't? That's also fine.  I packed it up carefully, and we'll see if I get the urge.

Since then, I’ve done over 7000 stitches. I’ve been sneaking off to my desk to do a little bit of stitching every time I have a spare few minutes. As it turned out, it wasn’t the hobby I was tired of, but rather, the project I’d been attempting to force myself to finish.

While I’m glad to have that problem solved, it has created a new one. My downtime activities are grossly out of balance, and I had been so sure I was finally finding a good rhythm. Now, my donkey-brain keeps telling me that this one thing, that yes, I am enjoying, is the only thing.

My donkey-brain and I are not friends, for the record.

More than 2/3 of the way through the month, and ManicTime tells me I’ve logged less than three hours all month in World of Warcraft. I’ve hardly touched my Steam Deck this month, and the only game I have had more than a passing interest in all month long has been my co-op game night pick, Sun Haven. Including my March wrap-up, this will only be my fifth blog post this month. Instead of moving forward in the direction of finding a better cadence for all things blog-related, it has instead gotten far worse than it had been for the past few months.

Later today, I am going to have a meeting with myself, and I’m not sure how it’s going to go. Perhaps the balance of things is still shifting, but I’m also not loving the feeling that I’m ignoring something that is, in fact, important to me.

One thought on “Self-Reflection Sunday: Managing my Inner Mule

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s