On Doing and Lethargy

Ever since I took physics in high school, I’ve joked that my intertia is at rest. I’ve never been a “doer.” I’m more of a … sitter. And, I suppose, a thinker. Nevertheless, I’m quite prone to do-nothingism.

(A surprising amount of people Google do-nothingism, I’ve discovered. One of my most popular posts is Battle Do-Nothingism With a Stew and Feel Better, in which I was feeling pretty depressed, forced myself to cook, and felt better in the end.)

The idea is that when you are not in a mood to enjoy or do anything, if you do something, anything, you will feel somewhat better.

But what do you do when your stike against do-nothingism fails?

Last week, I had finally motivated myself to cook something again, something more exciting than whole wheat mac and cheese, and I made a very fancy quinoa salad. Though I wasn’t feeling particularly good that day, I took the little one shopping, almost gave up when the first store didn’t even have zucchini, forged ahead, even when Sebastian tried to thwart my efforts, and produced a finished quinoa salad, with currants, dill, zucchini, and lemon …

… that sucked.

I felt bad, I pushed myself to do something, and I still felt bad.

Almost worse. There was an angry moment of failure where I wanted to cry. Just for a moment. So I lashed out at my husband (sorry, Tim). Then I went to bed.

During my many night-time awakenings, I kept envisioning drying the soggy quinoa in the oven somehow. And maybe it would have been enough to spread it on a cookie sheet and dry it that way, I don’t know. But I still needed to “do” something.

So, as I’ve already chronicled, I got up the next day and turned my soggy quinoa into muffins (which honestly, were, meh – still a little soggy in the middle, and not my favorite flavors).

And, that day, I was flying high with my “doing!” I thought,

“This is it! This really is the solution to all my mood problems! I need to “do!” And the more I do the better I’ll feel. I’ll cook all the time. I’ll spend all day in the kitchen! And because I’m in here all the time, I’ll keep it clean. I’ll have more energy, I’ll exercise more,  I’ll throw in a load of laundry here and there, clean the bathrooms, and every day I’ll just get better and better at this thing called life!”

I was all excited about posting about my new epiphany and my raised energy levels.

And then yesterday – I felt like CRAP again.

I’m not giving up on this “do something, anything” idea, though. I do think it’s essential in fighting depression. So, yesterday, I strapped Sebastian into the mei tai baby carrier and I cleaned as much as I could of this messy house, even though I was feeling terribly overwhelmed. I put some clutter away, I washed a few pots and pans, I did a load of laundry, I broke down several boxes, and put most of the tower of recyling in the garage. And I felt alright come bedtime.

And I feel somewhat better today.

I guess I’m proud of myself for not letting my cooking failure get the best of me. I kicked do-nothingism in the butt, and it did make me feel better for awhile.

It’s just that there isn’t a an accomplishment in the world that will make me feel good all the time.

My days are a series of exaggerated highs and lows in a sea of lethargy.

I mean, I know that’s pretty normal. Most “mommy bloggers” admit to being quite a moody bunch. But, then, there are also a lot of people who have a ton of energy, and aren’t overwhelmed by every little thing that must be done to keep a house clean and food on the table.

I dunno. Maybe I just need to cut out caffeine, or sugar, or gluten.

If you know the answer, please let me know!


Doing New Things, Reluctantly


The Lilacs Bloom, The Garden Grows, I Find Joy in Doing Something New.

A view of our patio and my old puppy dog.

I grew up in Southern California in a single parent family and we did not have the time or the space to garden. My mom always kept our yard and house spruced with pretty potted flowers, but apart from the ubiquitous fruit trees, growing food was unheard of.

Several weeks ago, thanks to my husband’s adventurous fortitude, we planted some seeds and they continue to grow, some at lightning speeds, and some seemingly much slower than last year.

As my husband is the one working the long hours outside the home, watering all the little growing things has fallen to me.

I hate being out in the plain view of my neighbors, who might yell at me for not picking up dog poop in our shared front yard fast enough, but I’m enjoying the garden time in spite of myself.

I even find myself pulling weeds.

Heck, the Green Zebra, Purple Cherokees, and all number of others veggies aren’t the only things growing right now.

I’m growing too!

Heirloom tomato sprouts.

I’ve always joked that my inertia is at rest. I’m certainly not much of a doer.

(I have a problem with do-nothingism.)

If it weren’t for my husband, who knows how long it would take to discover my love of growing fruits and veggies?

He’s been asking me daily where I think we should put the fennel, or the radicchio, or the Japanese eggplants, and Armenian cucumbers, not to mention all the tomatoes – six varieties!

And every day, I answer, “I don’t know, babe.”

Because until today, when I suddenly found myself enjoying the watering and the weeding, I hadn’t realized how much gardening space we’ve lost to the path our neighbor is putting in.

I was a reluctant gardener, really not present or observant about what we were doing.

Heirloom tomato seedlings.

But, now I look forward to getting out there with Tim and squeezing all these little guys into our limited garden space.

Some will have to go in pots, I think.

I count myself lucky that I married such a patient and encouraging man. He doesn’t nag at me, but he gently urges me to help out with the gardening, and slowly, I become less afraid to do things I’ve never done before.

I cannot wait until the fresh veggies are coming out our ears.

And, as I often do, I’ll quote the little girl on the Shake’N Bake commercial, “And I helped!”

Veggie seedlings.

Another view of our patio.

View of our garden and new path.

Another view of our patio.