Quietly on fire. Pictured: four female-looking silhouettes against a moody sunset backdrop, with the second figure jumping for joy

Quietly on fire (in a good way)

A second Medium article, a virtual writing-date with a friend, a Confessions entry… cue Alicia Keys’ This Girl is on Fire. It may not sound like much, but I’m going back to celebrating those micro-wins we talked about earlier.


Recently there haven’t been a whole lot of micro-wins because there’s been macro-wins instead, like going out to a gig or driving to Dublin for a dinner with friends or going out to lunch with the in-laws.

On paper, the macro-wins are superior, right? The bigger wins, the harder tasks completed, the more energy used… those are all larger leaps in the direction of functioning like a regular human, sure. However, those macro-wins are the ones that leave me f*cked for days afterwards.

For instance, usually my wife makes dinner for both of us, but I figured that was no longer fair since she’s currently working a full-time job while my time is significantly more flexible. So, I made dinner for us a few nights ago, even though I had already had a fairly full day of errand-running. I even doubled the batch so it would do us for two nights. And then I felt sick. Very sick. Go-to-bed-at-9PM sick. So I went to bed and woke up at 4AM to vomit.

Sure, one could argue that maybe my subpar cooking skills are what led to the, ahem, upchucking. But Cat didn’t fall ill and I have been known to vomit when things get too overwhelming or stressful. So in this instance I think making dinner was more of a two-steps-forward-one-step-back kinda deal.

And that’s what macro-wins are, right? They’re bigger wins that come at a bigger cost. On paper, it sounds like I’ve made huge progress but that’s only because on paper you don’t include the reality of bedrest required to gear myself up for the next one.

Micro-wins for the win!

Micro-wins, on the other hand, allow steady progress. It’s a day spent on my couch, writing, planning, researching, writing some more; it’s working on my website or writing an article or drafting my novel; it’s general ‘computer-touching’, as Cat would say. Or it’s doing housework, something light that makes me feel accomplished without completely draining me of all my energy resources.

In fact, quite the opposite. Micro-wins charge me up. They make me feel capable, and in fact, that’s often what leads to me to accidentally push myself too hard. So there is indeed a balance to be struck. But today, my friends, I feel good.

I’ve written an article that I was dreading because, frankly, I don’t feel smart enough to articulate the point I was trying to make. Nevertheless, I wrote it, I published it and you can read it here if you’re interested to know why I hate the term ‘mental health is*ues’.

I’ve also had a writing date with my friend Ben, combining micro-wins in both productivity and social departments. With my energy still at a net positive, I’m going to make a start on some housework before getting back to more low-level computer-touching. (I still have to source images for both my Medium article and today’s Confession, so won’t be publishing either until this evening.)

And then, the weekend can commence! Cat and I will be watching Mila Kunis in Luckiest Girl Alive this evening and possibly even recording a podcast about it if we feel so inclined.

Popcorn Dust

That’s another thing! Another low-energy win of late.

Cat and I revived our long-dormant barely-established podcast, Popcorn Dust, in which we haphazardly talk about films we’ve watched. I’m hoping we can make it a fortnightly occurrence, at least until I’ve returned to work. We uploaded an episode yesterday in which we discussed The Girl On The Train and I have yet to share it on socials – better do that shortly as well.

See, these are the things that make me feel like I’m truly winning. Podcasting, articles, blogs… as soon as I can build up to including regular novel-drafting I’ll be well on my way in my Quest to Find Joy. Days like today, I feel like I’m on fire… but quietly. Stealthily. Micro-winning my way back to normality.

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