The last few months, I’ve really been trying to push my comfort zone and try new things- my latest thing has been brewing my own beer at home. My first batch is in bottles now, carbonating. At least I hope. I’ve even been less shy and been talking to more people (that’s a big step for me, sadly. I know most people are a lot less inhibited than I am). And maybe more significant, I’ve been more willing to show myself and just how imperfect I am- in probably too many ways to count. I’m even taking weekends away from the lab to try and keep myself from burning out (still a sufferer, but maybe it’s getting better). I’m also really trying to give myself credit for good things I do.

That last part is kind of a sticking point for me though. I do feel better doing new things, trying something out and failing, but it doesn’t really register in my brain as something I take joy in, it’s not exactly ‘fun’. Does it relax me? A little. Is it satisfying? Yes, a lot of times it is. Does it register as fun? Almost never. I feel like my brain, deep down knows what I’m doing is fun, but it doesn’t consciously register in my brain. There’s a disconnect. It could be that I’m finally trying to engage in the normal things in life (after not really doing so for too long) and my brain is just not attuned to joyous things I do. it’s all too easy for me to just tap into my painful place. Last Friday night, I had a mental pain that went right to my core.

I’ve spent so much of my life feeling unworthy, undeserving, and just like I don’t belong anywhere that now that I am feeling differently and cultivating a whole new way of thinking, it may just not register yet. I’ll keep an eye on it and see if I start registering things in my brain as ‘having fun’ or ‘amusing’.

Hopefully I can do all this while feeling a lot of pressure in my work life this year- and my own pressure to develop a personal life which is important to me. as a new productivity method, I’m going to try this ‘don’t break the chain’ method. I think I’m OCD enough to do it and I’ll start with one work goal and one personal life goal and not break the chain. I hope this will move me forward from where I am now.


Author: Ian Street

Ian is a plant scientist and science writer relating stories of plant science and scientists on his blog, The Quiet Branches as well as other outlets. You can find him on Twitter @IHStreet.

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