034/2024 – “You’re Not as Messed up as You Think You Are”

Lyrics: “Reasons Not To Be An Idiot” – Frank Turner, 2008

Hello. Again. I hadn’t planned to take such a long break here. It just happened. Probably because I’ve been living under a weird, dark cloud of anxiety for the past two weeks. The most annoying of it all was, that I didn’t really understand why. Maybe it was just one of those times where various smaller parts of my life didn’t work out or didn’t go as I had wished / planned. I guess it all might have just added up. Add the lack of light in this winter times, too much rain, lots of work with a dash of stress (mostly self-inflicted sadly enough) and all the bad news from all over the world and it is no wonder anxiety prone me fell down a hole for a while. 

For the longest time I had planned to use “All In My Head Is Worry” (a line from a The Lottery Winners song) as title for this post, which I have been thinking about for quite a few day now. I’m happy to report that my mood has finally changed. 

I know I shouldn’t pay too much attention to my Garmin smartwatch stats, but seeing high stress and low energy levels for days and days didn’t really surprise me, because that’s how I felt most of the time a week ago. The graph on the left was last Thursday. 

Screenshots of the body battery section of my Garmin app
Screenshots of my energy / stress levels for the past few days

As you can see I managed to slowly get out of that slump, energy-wise at first and then also mood wise. I hibernated a lot. Comfy, easy going entertainment. Reading. Lots and lots of sleep. By today I feel mostly restored energy and mood wise. I started to feel a bit more motivated to get a handle on some of the issues that seem to be causing so much anxiety for me.

One of the ways to do that was going back to having my calendar and life organized with digital help. When I somehow managed to lose my digital calendar at the start of the year I thought I’d try going the analog way for 2024. I had been trying to do that with my to-do-lists and organizing for even longer. Oh my God for SO much longer. And none of the ways I tried stuck with me. To be honest I was so determined to do it without an digital app because I thought it would be the better way. The more healthy way. The more sophisticated way. Moral high ground and all that, because I used to spend too much time on my phone (social media) for far too long anyway. And I thought the less I need to pick up my phone the better.

But… the analog way just wasn’t working for me. At all. And trust me, I tried. Not just this year but as I stated above for so much longer. Ever since the Bullet Journal hype started years ago I think. By the end of this week I finally realized that doing it with pen and paper – “writing by hand is thinking on paper” as one of my favourite stationary companies actually calls it in a slogan – just doesn’t work for the “organizing my life” part of my brain. I’ve started proper journalling by hand – not every day, but some – earlier this year and that might work for me in some regard. But so does just typing this all done here, so I’m still on the fence on this one. 

Anyway, my day to day life is back being organized digitally with a digital calendar and the TickTick app (on all my digital devices) and I’m actually already feeling less stress. It might all just be in my head (where else, I know?) but that’s ok.

Screenshot of a calendar week 7 and 8 with various times blocked out in colour codes
My calendar view of two weeks in February

One of the tiny lights breaking through the anxiety cloud a week ago was Frank Turner not just putting out a new song “Do One”, which I absolutely love and can’t wait to sing along to at gigs later this year, but also announcing album title, release date and a benefit gig for the Molotow club in Hamburg in May. When I first saw the news at some point Friday morning, the gig seemed to have sold out already. Which I was sort of ok with. I was and am sure that he’ll be touring Germany at sind point later this year and the UK before that and I would most probably make a trip over the channel for it. When I checked the webstore Friday evening I saw there were sill Molotow bundles (CD + ticket) available. And I decided to go for it. The next morning I also found a lovely studio apartment to stay in for the few nights as I plan to spend an additional day in Hamburg. I haven’t been there for far too long. So that again helped boost my spirits after the aforementioned slump. 

I have such fond memories of my Frank gigs in Hamburg in 2016 and 2018 and everything that happened around that. When I had started writing this post (last weekend!) I even had a whole paragraph typed up about it. Reading that back now felt like I’m trying to show off so I culled it. My mind can be such a bitch sometimes! 

To listen less to the bitchy (to myself) voice inside me is another thing I need and want to work on. To be more self-forgiving. Self-compassionate and all that. And always remember: I’m not the only one feeling like a freak a lot of times. All of us do, right? It took me such a long time to figure that out and I obviously still lose perspective on that more often than not. But I’ll be forever grateful for Frank for putting these mind-blowing (to me) thoughts into words all those years ago. Still one of my favourite songs! Hence the blog title.

The song live from the birthday live stream in 2020

When I mentioned the hibernation period at the start of this post I probably should have mentioned the dopamine kicks I got from (too much) junk food and book purchases binges. I’m glad that even with the lack of working out / running or similar all the junk food didn’t lead to significant weight gain. The book buying… well, that led to a tiny dent in my credit card maybe. But that’s ok. I also bought quite a few of them second-hand and today also sent of a box of books I won’t read again to a reseller. 

This all reminds me though that I wanted to share my short reviews every month on here as well. I should get on with that later today. I sort of finally left Goodreads, as in I deleted all my listed books and will only check in to see what the few people I know and follow on there will share and to get some inspiration from that. I’m quite happy with my book tracking on Storygraph. I’m even more of a fan since I learned that the app was created and the company founded and still run by a female, black tech entrepreneur: Nadia Odunayo ! We need more of those!   

Off to gather my book reviews in a single post now 🙂

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