October 4th, 2015

Me 2 (B&W)

More Anxious Than Needed: The Chris Walsh Story

"I'm not going to be good company."

When does that thought lead to needed self-care and when is it me justifying being a shut-in?

Thursday night -- after a difficult news day -- I first thought that first line, then thought about the idea in the second line. I CAN SEE BOTH SIDES. And I feel I'm doing a worse job, lately, of knowing the difference.

I have another justification of time alone: "I don't want to inflict my mood on others." As much as I try to minimize it in my in-person dealings with people, I can be moody and serious.

(For a while in my youth I could not minimize it. Be glad, most of you, that you didn't know me then.

(It was one of several reasons that I needed, and got, therapy. Huh: I honestly have never mentioned that on this blog, or in fact anywhere online, before now. My parents got me into it in junior high, back in Northern Virginia. All I'll add is: it helped.

(It can help.)

The thing is, I've had a lot of experience being moody and serious. A lot. I try not to hide it but, again, my habit is to minimize it. It's my issue, not yours, and I want to keep it that way. If I feel my being serious would make me bad company, would make it tough to be around me, then going off by myself is an easy answer.

But maybe too easy an answer, to the point where it becomes a bad habit. Even here in infamously passive-aggressive Portland, I've generally become a friend or acquaintance of people who would tell me if my seriousness were bothering them. And tell me in ways that aren't confrontational or mean. I'm anxious because I worry I'll rub people the wrong way and not notice it, when come on, I'm wired to be empathetic. I'm likely to notice, if it starts happening. And I can adapt. Being around people but mainly just listening, not doing much talking: that's one way to adapt.

I did that for a bit last night, on the patio of a bar hanging out with people I know, after first being off in a corner of the patio where I could concentrate on watching some college football, eating some food, and reading. I had my mostly-alone time; I then had my with-people time. Both worked. Both helped. Both felt good.

I am usually trying to overcome my issues. And I do want to be less likely to say "I'm not going to be good company" because maybe -- likely -- I still can.

Step up the pace?

This, I honestly feel a little weird about: so far this year, I've read only 24 books.

Usually I'm faster than that.

Like a lot of bloggers, I track my books read. I keep my list in a private entry on my blog, then publish it as close to Dec. 31st or Jan. 1st as I can. The lowest yearly number of books I've read since starting to track that is 30, in 2006. I'LL AT LEAST BEAT THAT.

My ideal pace is a book a week. I've done that more than once. It's possible. So many books still to read, chew, digest...