Monday, March 24, 2003

All right. When things aren't working, go back to the basics.

Hygiene -- check. I haven't fallen far enough to stop washing, dressing, and brushing my teeth.

Sobriety -- check. I am not regularly ingesting any mood altering substances, and by grace, I've never failed this checkpoint. Unless you count chocolate.

Home care -- check. The house is a little less clean and orderly than I prefer, but there are no leaks or holes. We have clean clothes and clean dishes. All within the normal range.

Diet -- hmmm. Getting a bit too many prepared foods and too much dairy, too few vegetables. Slight loss of balance here. I'll see what I can do about that.

Exercise -- better than usual. We joined a health club, and have actually improved the frequency and quality of our exercise. This should help in the long run, though it may be a stress in the short term.

Sleep -- getting enough hours, but not waking as rested and energetic as I'd like. Hmmm.

That seems to cover the physical needs. A couple things to work on, no huge red flags.

So, where's Maslow when you need him? What's next?

Ah, Google. Thanks.

The next level is security needs.

Safety -- check. I do not feel threatened in health, life, or ability to meet my physical needs. Although there is a war on, I'm reasonably certain that I will not be attacked. And although the economy is poor, I'm reasonably certain I will still be able to afford food and shelter.

Ah, the next level is the emotional/social level. Now here is where it all breaks down. I have my husband, who is unbelievably great, my best friend, my daily support, my fellow adventurer. I have my family, and we enjoy seeing each other now and then and would absolutely come to each other's aid in times of trouble. But I haven't got a single person I can call to go out for lunch. I know no one that I feel would actually care to listen to my problems. I don't belong to a group that shares my interests and appreciates me for who I am. And this is a sore point. (poke, poke, ouch.) I have joined a couple groups since moving here -- I just haven't felt as included as I did in the ones I left behind.

The next level is esteem. I've already written about my difficulties telling whether my creations are any good. I very often have no confidence in the quality of my writing, my singing, my homemaking and all the other things I do. Sometimes I think I've done something good, and the next day, it looks like trash. Some days I think I'm fairly competent, and others I wonder why no one has shot me yet for being such a burden on the planet.

I hear a lot of writers suffer those ups and downs.

Strangely, some days, I feel I've made it to the top level. I've had hours of clarity, when I feel I am becoming the best person I can be and improving the world with the gifts that were mine alone to offer. I remember a few of those moments.

Meanwhile, I'm not sure what to do about not having a local friend or group. I've tried several avenues, so far without success, and at the moment, I can't think of any more to try.

So back I go to the basics. Home, food, sleep. And maybe tomorrow I'll wake up with a solution, or I'll learn of another group to try, or I'll connect suddenly with someone who shares my interests.

And I do feel better, just for taking the inventory.

Best wishes to all. Anna Paradox.

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