I’ve just had a really good first 45 minutes of my day; so good that I decided to write about it. First, some background:
When I was a teenager, a local radio station host had a show called the “Get up and go show.” I love that name.
How enthusiastically a girl gets out of bed probably depends on how nice a day she’s expecting. However, even if it’s going to be a miserable day, I can see much merit to saying “If I can, today I’m going to enact causes that make future days likely to be better” and “If I can’t use today to make future days better, then I’m going to squeeze the most happiness that I possibly can, from today — even if it’s a small thing like taking a few seconds to gently stroke my own arm and enjoying how nice that feels.”
I’m sort-of-mentoring a wonderful t-girl who is not yet out as a t-girl, and she has just moved to a place with a very northerly location, and she writes that some days it’s difficult for her to even get out of bed. That sounds like a hard life.
Last year, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed with life, myself. My finances were in the toilet, and I was managing several businesses, only one of which was making money. I was on feminizing hormones, and yay for that, but unless I managed my water and food intake precisely and diligently, I could easily end up dead. And with my new hormone regimen, it was easier to put on weight so I had to step up my exercise routine. Corrective hormones are no magical time machine, so the effects from going through puberty with testosterone instead of estrogen … those continued to stare back at me from the mirror, so unless I managed them too, I’d look a lot more male than I wanted to. Facial and body hair were the main issues. Shaving was a bad solution, and waxing made a mess and took a vast amount of time.
On top of that came the normal task of everyday life, all of which take time: do the dishes, fill up the car with gasoline, balance my checkbooks (actually, my own plus half a dozen of them), pay the bills (for myself plus half a dozen entities), handle laundry, handle my personal hygiene, take out the trash, go grocery shopping, be nice to my friends, speak out against injustice, manage a romantic relationship, mentor trans girls and so on. It’s a full, rich and wonderful life, but it seemed likely I’d need 60 hours just to get 24 hours’ worth of tasks done. And of course, this challenge was hardly unique to me in all the world, and the glass is very much half full: at least I have a home that requires time and attention, and the same can be said for everything good in my life, and there’s a lot of it.
I made myself a task list for things I should do every day, and then also things I that I should do if it’s time to attend to them that particular day, such as going shopping. When I got to that item in the task list, I’d decide if I needed to go shopping or not. If yes, off I went, and if no, I would tick that item off the list for that day.
Making a formal task list brought to light how many things actually do actually or potentially require my time and attention every day. The list made me feel more overwhelmed yet.
I realized that there was no way I could get through the entire list, and there was no point in beating myself up about it. So I prioritized. It was awkward at first, but I got better and better at it. It became like one of the video games I used to play when I had much more free time — see how well I could do with limited resources.
- No time to do laundry? Fine, I’ll rummage through the dirty clothes, find the least-dirty one and wear that. (Leaving dirty clothes spread out on the bedroom carpet helps prevent mold and wrinkles, and makes this task easier).
- No time to go grocery shopping? Eat the not-so-yummy stuff that’s been gathering dust on an obscure shelf.
- No time to balance the checkbooks? Transfer enough money to prevent checks from bouncing.
Adapt, improvise, overcome. Go, go, go.
There wasn’t much time for celebrating success, but today I made a point of it. I decided to write about the first 45 minutes of my day and how much I managed to get done in that short amount of time. This pace will continue throughout much of my day, and I enjoy it. Many of the tasks below I could do at the same time, like dancing while washing the dishes, or doing squats while putting dishes away.
- Get out of bed
- Go to bathroom and pee
- Take out and rinse Invisalign braces
- Weigh myself
- Drink first half-liter of water
- Take first of four estrogen pills for the day
- Put water in the kettle, turn it on
- Put water in the humidifier
- Put the last batch of dishes and cutlery away
- Wash new batch of dishes and cutlery
- Wash stove-top
- Wash kitchen floor
- Warm up wax
- Put hair up in high pony tail
- Pour glass of V8 vitamin concoction, add warm water. Drink it.
- Put my hair in a ski hat to protect it
- Clear out safe space on the kitchen floor
- Do thirty squats
- Do stomach exercises
- Drink the next half-liter of water
- Make coffee, let it cool down
- Wax my facial hair into oblivion
- Do post-wax clean-up and putting wax and supplies away
- Put olive oil on my face
- Do another thirty squats
- Take second of four estrogen pills for the day
- Take the aspirin for the day
- Take the testosterone blockers for the day
- Count of the next week’s supply of hormone pills
- Put olive oil on the skin of my throat, neck and upper body
- Put my ski cap away
- Put water in the kettle, turn it on
- Check my email
- Send half a dozen quick replies where it was viable an issue was time-critical
- Check if anything or anyone needs urgent attention on FaceBook
- Decide if I need to go grocery shopping
- Log into my bank accounts and see if anything needs attention
- Drink coffee
….that’s about it. At this pace, I will have enjoyed the day, and tomorrow will probably be a slightly better day than today, because by bedtime tonight, I will probably have enacted the cause.