Well, as always, I’ll start with my numbers for the month …
Media consumed # (remaining/total)
Comics Read: 20 (150/372)
Trade Paperbacks/Graphic Novels Read: 2 (38/82)
Books Read: 6 (127/161)
Movies Watched: 8 (47/79)
TV Shows Completed: 1 (13/17)
Podcast Episodes Remaining: 128
July was kind of a “lost month.” The numbers were still positive in terms of everything decreasing, but in some cases they decreased by just a few because I went out and spent gift cards or had added a few things on streaming services. Plus, after I ran through both Starman and Starslayer, I took another one of those breaks in my comic reading because I had sort of hit my limit. I am kind of feeling that way about podcasts as well, since I spent the last couple of days binging my way through a UFO podcast called “Strange Arrivals” and even though I enjoyed the show, was only half paying attention to the last couple of episodes because I was getting a little tired of listening to them. Thankfully, I can explore new music on Spotify.
The “lost month” really starts to come to light when I look at the days on my habit tracker that are red and yellow for both spending and eating. These are the “went over my calories and spent unnecessary money” days and so many of them, especially when it comes to spending, are in those colors. Granted, I knew that some of that would be happening because between June 23 and August 6 are five birthdays in my family (my own, my wife, my mother, my father-in-law, my son, and my sister) so I usually wind up buying gifts and gift cards, but that’s like planning for Christmas. And while I didn’t do the best job of planning the gifting and spending for it–mainly because the pandemic threw off some of my “let’s go out to a nice dinner” plans–I can’t say that all of my extra spending was birthday related.
No, I started to fall back into that habit of going on runs to the grocery store or Target for stuff and then buying something extra while there, like a candy bar or soft pretzel. It was stuff I knew I shouldn’t be eating, but I did it anyway because … well, saying that it was how I was responding to stress seems like a cop-out, but I was seriously responding to what wound up being a very stressful month. It started off pretty well, but then various crap started to happen, beginning with my school district taking forever to come to a decision on opening. Luckily, the most rational plan was devised and I’m relieved that I won’t have to be teaching in person at the start of this year (and can actually start making plans instead of being in a holding pattern). But then our fridge wasn’t working right and we had a repairman come for that (and thank goodness for extended warranties, because that paid off big time). Then, last week, the air conditioning in our house completely died and we’ve been staying with my in-laws while waiting for the install this coming Monday.
And on top of that, the world continues to fall apart.
It’s hard to find the positives at this point in time, especially because talking about those positives and escapes seems like insensitively reveling in your privilege. Even writing the reviews for this blog seem wrong because for every page of old Claremont X-Men books I read, there’s someone’s Twitter thread I should be reading that supposedly explains the reasons behind the reasons behind the reasons behind the why the reasons behind something that might be happening (aside: some of those I have found informative in the past and others are livejournal levels of irritating, but that’s not my call to make). And … yet … I am also trying to remind myself that escaping into the frivolous and finding your joy for even a few hours each day is good for your mental health because there’s only so much doom scrolling your mind can take.
Therefore, when I see that I’ve been nothing but a ball of stress and anxiety lately and I see the sheer amount of snacks I’ve been eating and money I’ve spent on snacks, I totally understand why people go right to their vices during times like these. I’ve been fortunate enough to not have a substance habit and I know that Kit Kats aren’t the same as liquor, but habits are habits and they are definitely a reflection of how I’m feeling.
I guess the best thing to come out of this is that I’m still tracking things and I’m still using the same tools that I have been to hold myself accountable. That means that as I head into a new month, I have a new opportunity to course correct. I plan on just getting back into the “green” day habits and then will do an overall recount of unread comics and unwatched movies so that my lists are accurate (I’m 99.9% sure the comics one is accurate +/- a few books; I think the movies one is off by a couple dozen). My hope is that with work starting up again soon and some of these current issues resolving themselves in the next few days, I can have a more positive August than I did July.