I’ve been trying to change some of the ways my brain works lately.
It used to be I would only do small, nice things for myself as a means of bribery.
For example, if I had to go to immigration and sit for 2 hours to get one paper stamped, I would often avoid it. And by avoid I mean, work myself into a panic at the prospect of having to wake up early/take a crowded bus/sit in a jammed waiting area/etc., etc. until any motivation I originally had trickled out of me altogether.
But, if I promised myself a trip to the bookstore or Exki afterwards, I usually managed to suck it up and go.
When I needed new reading material or craved an organic mozzarella sandwich with basil and tapenade.
Lately I’ve had several things I’ve needed to do, none of them horrible, but all of them somewhat inconvenient and easy to procrastinate on. But I’ve been doing them. Going to Brussels for paperwork, heading to the town hall for translation services and a new drivers license, getting a new pin for my credit card at the bank (plus a digipass and a stamp for a vacation money form), going back to the hospital for blood work that was supposed to be done yesterday, but the doctor conveniently forgot to tell us we had to get it done at the hospital so I had to wake up early on my day off and get the blood drawn today.
Taking the initiative, straying from my comfortable work/home schedule, is uncharacteristic for me. I haven’t been bribing myself, I’ve just been doing things because, well, dammit, I have to do them some time. Guess now is as good as any.
But with that change, I’ve also kind of stopped doing nice things for myself.
I guess that’s why I decided to get some breakfast today, after the trip to the hospital. I was in the city center because I still had to buy some wrapping paper and cards for the holidays plus I had to pick up dessert for Christmas eve dinner with Piet’s family and I decided, on a whim (and a stomach growl), to stop at Le Pain Quotidien for something to eat. Nothing fancy, just scrambled eggs with some bread and a warm drink, but I sat at one of the large communal tables, pulled out a notebook, and took some time to relax and write some blog posts (that you will see eventually).
It’s been quite some time since I sat down and wrote and enjoyed some peace and quiet along with a simple breakfast.
I noticed, afterwards, I didn’t feel as cranky as I usually do, despite the cold weather and crowded buses. I felt positive and upbeat and the abundance of negative thoughts that often pick at my mind while I’m running errands wasn’t really there.
Pretty much the same feeling I had after I went to Julie’s House for scones and tea.
I just felt calm and if not “good” then at least better.
So I think I’m going to try to do something small for myself a little more often. Even if it’s just breakfast or a time out to write with some old fashioned pen and paper. I think it will probably result in a happier, more positive me.