These Are the Days of What We’re Calling Our Lives for the Time Being

Becoming alternately merchants and merchandise by turns, we ask not what a thing truly is, but what it costs.
         —Seneca, Epistles

Last night, as I was planning today, I imagined myself writing in my little journal first thing this morning, followed by 15 minutes of light yoga, then a quick shower before heading out on a 20-minute walk, and finally "clocking-in" to work upon my return. Instead, I find myself crawling out of bed 30 minutes later than usual, stumbling about bleary-eyed and annoyed as I attempt to make a pour-over coffee, and then online-shopping for a couple of books I likely won't get around to reading.

I intend to read all these books of mine and then some. But, somehow, despite dramatically reducing my time spent doomscrolling and following the news, and not having a daily commute for the foreseeable future, and having all of my errands handled by delivery services, and not hanging out in coffee shops, bars, or restaurants ever, it's still hard to make time for books. Or photography, for that matter. And learning the guitar is entirely off the table for the time being. My two great challenges are endless housekeeping and my own person constantly falling into physical disrepair.

For some inexplicable reason, it's a major hassle for me to keep my small apartment clean. I'm working on strategies to reduce clutter, which may help. This effort includes reducing the furniture footprint where possible, but a pandemic is not ideal for shopping for new furniture. I'm afraid to spend the money on something nice sight unseen, and the cheaper alternatives tend not to be of good quality. It's frustrating. I had considered finding a larger place when my lease was up, but moving during a pandemic is a hassle because everything is a hassle during a pandemic, and moving requires doing many things, so I re-upped for another year where I am.

While I've never loved going to restaurants and secretly enjoy the normalization of not going out to eat salty food touched by strangers part of the pandemic, my Lorde, am I ever so weary of cleaning the kitchen every damned day. Some folks deal with that by cooking meals for the entire week ahead of time, but that never works for me. Whenever I try cooking a heap of food, I wind up eating way too much on the first night and not leaving enough for all those other nights coming up. Perhaps if I ate a big Sunday pancake breakfast before cooking a batch of dinners early in the morning, then I would be too full to eat half a week's worth of dinners in one sitting. I wouldn't bet on that, as I'm a pretty good cook.

As for falling into physical disrepair, I don't know what to do about that. Right now, there is something wrong with my back and shoulder that requires a doctor's 2¢, which will cost me at least a few hundred dollars by the time we're done with tests and such. With any luck, whatever it is can be managed with physical therapy, or drinking more water, or possibly eating fewer potatoes. It seems as if every year I enjoy one or two brand new chronic health issues to suffer my way through for months or years at a time before they clear up to make room for the next set of maladies. I think that started at around the 40-year mark. The sedentary work life of a computer programmer probably doesn't help, and the sedentary homelife I've adopted for surviving in a crowded city during a pandemic surely makes matters worse.

If I had it to do all over, I would take to reading the Stoics and get obnoxiously into yoga no later than my mid-twenties.


Half Man Half Biscuit - L'enfer C'est Les Autres [Official Audio]

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