Here we are again with another check-in. How’s it going? Well, we’re still in a global pandemic but we’re still here. When will the world get back to normal? There are two answers to that question: 1. Never, probably; or 2. New day, new crisis. Hasn’t there always been a viable reason to be stressed out, burned out, or toughing it out?
There are two big things on my mind these days. The first is my heart problem. The second is that it’s closing in on time to submit applications for grad school. I am stuck at the crossroads of desiring two things: to pursue a major challenge, and to drop out completely and sleep twelve hours a day until I’m not tired anymore.
About the heart problem. Supraventricular ectopy with episodes of tachycardia throughout the day. Could be nothing, could be something. Either it’s no big deal and it will go away on its own, or… increased risk of atrial fibrillation, stroke, and sudden death.
Not much is known about this condition. Therefore my doctor didn’t give me any advice. He says I’m fine.
I could be having these episodes 5x as often and still be in the “normal” range. (I didn’t find that out from him - I had to look it up).
I don’t feel fine. My chest cavity feels like two otters wrestling in a tumble dryer. An eagle fighting a cobra. A blender making a margarita with a heavy pour. Sometimes the feeling of the erratic heartbeat just goes on for minutes at a time. It’s happening more and more often and lasting a little longer and a little longer.
COVID-19 did this to me. I was a perfectly fine multi-sport athlete, and then an acquaintance came to brunch with a sore throat, and then I got a contagious virus, and then tachycardia entered my life and I thought I would die. A year later, I started being distracted by a weird heartbeat, and now I have no idea if it will ever go away.
Until, eventually, it does.
I read up on supraventricular ectopy. What do I do? Maintain a healthy weight, increase exercise, and reduce stress. I like to go around saying “I have to quit smoking” because I have never smoked a cigarette and it makes me feel ahead of the game. The trouble is that cutting calories and working out both seem to make the heartbeat issue worse.
Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. When chased by the hounds of hell, keep running.
I’m down 11 pounds, almost back to where I was before I got sick. If I keep it up at this rate I’ll be done in a couple months, and then I can settle in at maintenance. I need to find out if being back at “healthy weight for my height” makes a difference. Nobody can answer that question for me but me. To my knowledge, nobody has ever suggested adding adipose tissue to treat heart disease.
I decided to put in the applications to grad school and see what happens. If I don’t get in, then it’s a moot point and I can apply again in another year. If I do, then the decision points change.
Sometimes something new enters your life and changes the strategic landscape. It’s still useful to look over your old goals and see if they still feel true and necessary for your life.
Personal: To expel my math anxiety. I’ve started tentatively going through math tutorials. Alas, I’m in the third grade, trying to understand this thing called the “number line” and how I have managed to forget how to multiply fractions. Nothing I have ever set out to do has been this depressing and demoralizing. At least I don’t have little children who rely on me for homework help.
Career: My career goal is to become a futurist. I am pleased to say that our quarterly futurist newsletter is coming out on Monday and it’s going to be public-facing. My new boss says I can spend a quarter of my time doing futurist work, which is incredible for an administrative assistant. I’m on my way.
Physical: Back to my goal weight. I am on track and feeling proud and optimistic.
Home: Probably move to a larger home. When the pandemic is over. Basically we’re waiting until it feels safe to hire movers.
Couples: Save for a house. Savings are doing great, real estate market is too hot for us to handle right now.
Stop goal: Stop hoarding reading material. I am doing very well on this goal, although it has been a hard fight. I found a combination of apps that will read my news queue aloud, and one of them goes to 4x. Then I found out that one of my lesser-used library apps also reads at 4x! Not only am I almost done with my perennial bookmark backlog, but my list of books to be read has quit expanding. This is probably the area of greatest excitement in my life right now.
Lifestyle upgrades: New bed. We were finally able to pull this off, although the mattress delivery guys showed up maskless and thus earned zero tip. We have an actual bed frame! I Googled “fancy a** sheets” and ordered what came up, and the mattress guy threw in new pillows, and now our bed is the nicest furniture either of us has ever owned. We would never have splurged like this before the pandemic. Now it feels like we’ll be at home forever so we might as well make it nice.
Do the Obvious: Assume another year of working from home. Yup. I’m officially categorized as remote through at least February 2022. I was wildly wrong with my Do the Obvious assumption for 2020, but achieved the appropriate level of pessimism for 2021.
Ultralearning: Data visualization. When I chose this goal I had no idea just how much of my time would be spent looking at various kinds of charts. This is going to wind up being the goal that wouldn’t leave.
Quest: 50 for 50 ultramarathon. That means running a fifty-miler for my fiftieth birthday. I have no idea whether I will be able to do this. Right now I don’t even know if I will be alive for my fiftieth birthday. But I am doing my cardio every day and I’m committed. I can keep going until I barf or pass out. Where that will end, nobody knows.
Wish: My wish was to be able to visit my family safely, and that came true. Now I hope I can do it again.
How about you? How is your year going?
Personal: To expel my math anxiety - IN PROGRESS
Career: Become a futurist - IN PROGRESS
Physical: Back to my goal weight - IN PROGRESS
Home: Probably move to a larger home - PENDING
Couples: Save for a house - PENDING
Stop goal: Stop hoarding reading material - IN PROGRESS
Lifestyle upgrades: New bed - SUCCESS
Do the Obvious: Assume another year of WFH - SUCCESS
Ultralearning: Data visualization - Tableau, Excel, etc. - IN PROGRESS
Quest: 50 for 50 ultramarathon (2025) - PENDING
Wish: To visit my family safely - SUCCESS
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.
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