Today’s Daily Stoic writing prompt: How can I be less agitated–and complain about it less, too?
I’m not really a complainer. I’ve always been of the opinion that, beyond a little initial venting, the best way to approach any issue is to do something about it. Understand what you can change and what you can’t, and do what you can about it. This is what really keeps me sane, because the issues that are important to me are the big-picture ones–the ones we’ve been dealing with especially this year: Income inequality. Racial injustice. Late-stage capitalism. Climate change. Those are huge, huge issues. I have to be realistic about what one person can accomplish–but at the same time, I have always loved the proverb “it is better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.” Even more, I have loved Margaret Mead’s words: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” This quote tells me that in finding community–even a small community–we can feel less alone in facing the problems of the world.
Agitation–well, that’s another problem, and a harder one for me. My brain does not shut off easily. It sometimes keeps me up at night–last night, in fact, I didn’t really get to sleep until about 2 am. It’s really just a kind of intellectual energy that can overwhelm me if I don’t watch it. It’s not always negative–sometimes I just get caught in a line of thought I don’t want to abandon. During the day, I work off a little of the physical energy/adrenaline by a kind of restlessness, usually manifested by foot bouncing, pen twisting, hair fiddling, and (the most destructive one) finger picking. If you see me doing any of these things, it’s a sure sign I’m hyperfocused–which can normally be a kind of superpower. I’m learning not to do anything too thinky right before bed, because thinky will turn on the restlessness, and that is counterproductive to sleep.
A day where errands took longer than expected meant that other than downloading images, I didn’t get very far in designing my marginalia vest–but I did make the decision to focus solely on cats, which means I’ll probably include five designs. I was reminded again of the existence of Rocket Cat (image with this post), so that is for sure in, along with the catsnail, a bum-licking cat, and a cat with a crossbow (likely using my own illumination for this one). That just leaves one left to select.
I did, however, get the peanut butter mixture for buckeyes mixed, 16 holiday cards addressed and sent, furnace filters purchased, and paper picked up for a scribal project. Two fiction books arrived (both recommended by friends), and I ordered stretcher bars from a specialist store–hopefully I won’t run into the issue I had with DeSerres where they cancelled and refunded half my order due to lack of stock. This left me with a pair of useless stretcher bars. What I spent for them doesn’t make returning them at all worthwhile. Oh well. I’ll put them aside for now.
In an amusing segue from yesterday’s topic, Ben Heppner is talking on CBC Radio (as part of his usual Sunday show, whose theme today is “Buried Treasure”) about Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District right now. Apparently he was in a production of it about 35 years ago, and a Russian ambassador told him it was almost as good as a production in Russia. Ben didn’t think he’d actually seen it–but it was quite possible he did; 35 years ago would have been 1985, and the opera started to be performed again in the 60s.