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What do you do with your sense of adventure in winter? - Tactical Ninja

Jun. 16th, 2011

10:08 am - What do you do with your sense of adventure in winter?

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I bought the tickets for my next trip to Hong Kong this morning! This is exciting! This time it will have been 3 and a half months instead of 2 and a half, because of having to save up leave from the last one, and also because some time between now and then we have a Polly going to be a hippy in Canada, and probably/possibly me getting my eyes zapped as well, so there's no room in July for a trip to Hong Kong. But yes! Hong Kong bound again. As you can probably imagine, I'm really looking forward to it.

Yesterday I updated my degree spreadsheet. Yes, I have one of those. Mostly because I knew when I started that I'd be studying so long that I'd forget the requirements before the end, and I wanted to mark progress and figure out my course choices. Anyway, I hadn't looked at it since I picked this year's courses so I had two countem two boxes to change from pink to yellow, and 40 points to add to my total. There are now only four courses to go and I'm done. I know this even though I haven't got the mark for State Crime yet because I got a good enough mark for my essay that I'd already passed the course based on that, so I can safely tick it off.


Which I don't even know if I have. I suspect most people are affected by the season to some extent tbh, but lately I've been feeling quite meh even though to all intents and purposes life has been ticking along nicely, interspersed with the odd exciting thing, and some Big Things. Partly I think it's because I miss Dr Wheel so much, partly it could be because while Mum was sick I got out of the habit of doing things I enjoy (like dancing) and haven't quite got back into them, partly it could be because I feel like I'm in some kind of rut - when I think about what news I have for Dr Wheel or for my blog, I often think "But I haven't done anything interesting." I'm aware that shearing sheep, doing circus classes, helping my friends build a sustainable house, tripping off to Hong Kong periodically, studying Big Important Questions, doing spinning/weaving/fibre art, sewing costumes and raising a teenager are all in the category of 'interesting' but for some reason this feels like it's not enough.

I blame Dad.

Dad, you see, ran away from home at 14 and travelled around England with a boys' choir (he was a baritone), among whom was also Bruce Forsyth. He was a pioneer of underwater salvage and construction when they were still using helmet-tubes, and had to have 26 vaccinations (including one for bubonic plague) before they'd let him dive in the Thames. He worked in a mustard gas camp, repaired runway lights at an airport during the war, owned the lake where all the unused bombs were dropped upon return from the various missions. He did a mysterious 'civil service' job in Cyprus - the only thing he'd tell us about it was that he had to carry a gun and that it had something to do with stopping the Greeks and the Turks from killing each other. He said that the best thing you can do when you go to an unstable country is to run up a few small debts because people won't kill you if you owe them money. He became a dolphin trainer and at one point was a world expert in the live capture and transport of cetaceans. In his old age he was an entertainer, doing stand-up comedy, monologues and playing/singing for groups.

He never stopped trying new things - him and Mum met when she decided she wanted to learn to dive. She claimed he tried to drown her, and 6 months later they were married, and after that they had adventures together - not least of which was taking their two small children and moving to New Zealand on a boat. Yep, when I say my mihi, I have a waka, an actual one. Ko Te Pae Mahutonga te waka. And I grew up on stage doing various forms of entertainment. We moved on average once every three years because my parents were seeking something. As an adult I suspect the something was novelty - and they passed it on.

I come from an adventurous family, and while all the things I do could be described as adventures, I feel like I need more. Yet I'm struggling to motivate myself, never mind to find the time. And the flipside of all that fun and interesting stuff that came with the adventurous family was that I have this deep need to feel secure. My friendships didn't last as a kid because we moved on. We were always a bit different and I was always the new kid. Things were always impermanent, for better or worse. So now, I find myself often torn between seeking adventure and seeking security. Right now, I'm pretty secure but I yearn for adventure, for novelty. Now I'm a bit cannier than I used to be, I'd like to make sure I have security as well, and I'm methodically going about that with my approach to how I'll invest the money I inherited from my adventurous family. But I feel like I need something else.

I am blaming SAD for this, because if I look at it logically I have nothing to complain about. Logic is not my strong point in though, not in application to my own life and how I feel about things - and currently I feel like I need something else. Winter's hibernation doesn't suit my kinaesthetic nature, and handstand classes are only once a week.


So, flist - what do you do to stave off the winter blehs? There is so much combined wisdom over in FlistLand, surely someone has come up with the apple cider vinegar of SAD removal!

This afternoon I am looking at this house. It's the one with the furniture in the photos if you care to take a squiz. I've looked up a few facts about it - the owners want about $55000 over CV for it *yikes*, it's not on the earthquake list, stuff like that. If you care to take a look and provide me with questions to ask/opinions/a slap upside the head and a stern admonition not to be silly, please do.

Mah weaving project is a quarter completed. I don't think it'll be finished in time. ;-/

Comments:

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From:tyellas
Date:June 15th, 2011 10:22 pm (UTC)
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If your dad was doing civil service work in Cyprus during the period I think he was there, he may have known the famous modernist writer, Lawrence Durrell. You may be interested in Bitter Lemons, Durrell's autobiography of this time.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 15th, 2011 10:26 pm (UTC)
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I will definitely check that out! Yes, that was the time - and the bit about Cypriot women falling in love with him cracks me up because Dad had this also, although he framed it as less 'love' and more 'wanting to move to England'.
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From:vernacularity
Date:June 17th, 2011 04:03 am (UTC)
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bitter lemons is one of my favourite books and I may even have two copies ie one spare, will check it out.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 17th, 2011 08:39 am (UTC)
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Awesome!
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From:pleiadeslion
Date:June 15th, 2011 10:25 pm (UTC)
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I have been meaning to get one of those lamps that wakes you up with light but I don't find any of those that I've seen attractive enough to be able to seriously contemplate owning one. That's shallow, isn't it.

My friend who was living in Switzerland recently said that when he discovered the daylight simulator lamp in his office and spent 20 minutes or so under it a day, it made a huge difference to how he felt.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 15th, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC)
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I bought one of those for Dr Wheel a couple of years ago - his was an alarm clock that wakes you up with 'daylight'. You could also do sunsets with it. It was kind of cool but I can't remember the type - hopefully he'll drop in here later and fill us in!
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:June 16th, 2011 12:42 am (UTC)
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It was the Sunray 100 I got given by tatjna: http://www.lumie.com/shop/categories/special-offers

It's difficult to tell how effective it is. When I'm tired I just sleep through it (although it has a back up beeper). Currently in Hong Kong I have no curtains and it's summer, so usually the real sun wakes me up first!
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From:ikhouvanjou
Date:June 15th, 2011 10:28 pm (UTC)
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I may be crazy too, but I love the house and the area looks awesome. I think with some elbow grease and money it could be amazing.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 15th, 2011 10:29 pm (UTC)
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I am a sucker for bay windows. It's a weakness.
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From:friggasmuse
Date:June 15th, 2011 10:49 pm (UTC)
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I agree with riot folk!
I get SAD so bad, our winters are so harsh and so cold, dark, and endless.
I drink a lot of fresh Ginger honey tea that I brew myself and practice yoga in the morning.
I try to curl up with good books and media and get a lot of rest and spend time outside when the weather permits; which is not that often. Our winter last year was the coldest yet. The weather reports said we were the coldest place on earth, colder then Siberia.
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From:helianthas
Date:June 15th, 2011 11:03 pm (UTC)
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Do you feel this way all the time or only in the winter?

I put a "sad light" (full spectrum, 10,000 lux light) on my desk when I had no windows a few years ago, it was helpful. Wasn't the sunrise simulator kind, worth looking into tho.

Get out in the sun as much as you can. "They" will also say regular exercise and sleep/wake schedules are important (which I'm sure they are).

I find whingeing on LJ oddly therapeutic. ;-)
.

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From:tatjna
Date:June 15th, 2011 11:06 pm (UTC)
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It's hard to say - in the longterm story arc of my life, the last three years have been somewhat dimly-lit, resulting in a narrow escape from depression around Christmas last year. I feel like I'm just emerging from that fog in the last few months, and part of that is reflection on how much of what was before isn't part of now - and what I miss about that.

I suspect it's a combination of this and the encroaching darkness (solstice is next Tuesday) that's brought it into focus.

But yes, I should consider one of those lamps. I think I'd have to train myself to wake up to it, but it may very well be worth it.
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From:helianthas
Date:June 15th, 2011 11:31 pm (UTC)
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But Solstice is great! It means the days get longer after that! Only one more week! Yay!


Since I don't work in that office anymore, I now keep the lamp in my bathroom. I don't think it actually helps all that much there -- you're supposed to sit in front of it for 30 minutes in the morning with your eyes open -- but that's an idea, y'know?

Hope you feel better soon! I'm impressed at how much you're able to do, and the control and positivity you're able to communicate, while feeling so low. *hugs*
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From:tatjna
Date:June 15th, 2011 11:39 pm (UTC)
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I don't really feel all that low - it's more a feeling of 'bleh' and a lack of motivation even though I know that doing stuff is what makes me happiest. And you're right, the days will start to get longer soon - and, I get to leave the country during one of the horriblest parts of the Wellington winter!

(just before spring equinox is notorious for being yucky weather and bringing on cabin fever)

*hugs back*
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From:helianthas
Date:June 15th, 2011 11:44 pm (UTC)
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Yah, the folks who pathologize everything might call that "dysthymia" or "kinda low mood that feels 'bleh' but not so bad you're about to stab your eyes out with a spork". And, with all you've been through in the last long while, it kind of seems like a really normal human reaction, y'know? *more hugs* I know it's hard.

I highly recommend:






Edited at 2011-06-15 11:46 pm (UTC)

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From:rantydave
Date:June 15th, 2011 11:43 pm (UTC)
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We got a really good property lawyer, she'd pull that shit to pieces. Things like: who owns the garden? Who controls the right to have drunken biker parties and/or spinny hoopy flame things in it? Whose problem is it to fix the roof? Does it have a body corporate to share the cost of looking after the exterior? What happens if downstairs goes all moldy and they can't be arsed to fix it?

You know it's RV? Get a report of local sales relative to RV (from QV's website, $6 IIRC) and see if what they are asking is reasonable. The market is REALLY quiet right now, what with it being winter, lots of people are terrified their jobs are about to disappear under Mr Key's nicely sharpened axe and nobody from Chch has *any* of their payouts yet so they can't move up here.

Above all, the owners can *want* whatever - whether or not they get it is entirely up to you.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 15th, 2011 11:53 pm (UTC)
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I've done some investigating of cross-leases and how they work, and the ongoing shared maintenance costs are something I have questions about fer shure. Also stuff like "Well what if I want to graze lambs in the backyard?"

The QV idea is a good one if I decide to pursue it further. The bottom flat sold for $350,000 a wee while ago, but it appears to be in generally better condition and has a nicer bathroom. Play that off against the upstairs getting better light... lalala.

Thanks! Useful stuff.
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:June 16th, 2011 12:50 am (UTC)
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I think these would be my concerns too. The garden area looks a bit mangled, and it worries me that if it's a shared area, noone will really have the incentive to make the effort to look nice.

I guess I also wonder if the total property would really be worth the combined value at $700k?
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From:ferrouswheel
Date:June 16th, 2011 12:51 am (UTC)
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But I still think it's worth investigating ;-)

Edited at 2011-06-16 12:52 am (UTC)
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From:rivet
Date:June 16th, 2011 12:17 am (UTC)
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It's funny sometimes how similar we are in the head. I could have written that paragraph about the tension between adventure and security. I probably did sometime in the last couple years.

I have also worked to optimise having both (and I think I've hit it, but check back with me in 6 months).

You may remember that I struggled A LOT with the winter blehs last year. I felt out of the habit of fun post-dissertation and just couldn't muster much energy for doing novel and cool stuff. I held on through winter, and a couple months after that, but it didn't let up. When I finally went to the doctor, I found out that I had hypothyroid and things got MUCH better. It might be worth reading up on it and asking your doctor.

FWIW, I really like living on Pirie St. It's close to everything and gets lots of sun.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 16th, 2011 12:40 am (UTC)
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I appear to be following in your footsteps, which is weird because I'm older than you! Maybe I should go to the doctor.. I'm due for a medical assessment on July 6, but that's for whether they can zap my eyes and I don't know how comprehensive that will be.
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From:khaybee
Date:June 16th, 2011 12:56 am (UTC)
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I fight the Winter blues with parties! It works for me!
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From:bekitty
Date:June 16th, 2011 01:57 am (UTC)
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I have SAD (had it since 1993, diagnosed in '96) and it affects me to the point where I can't hold down a full-time job anymore.

It doesn't just affect me in winter, either. I've found it's more like a really slow kind of bipolar disorder that is triggered more by light, or the lack of it. In summer, or in environments with lots of natural light, I'm in what I call my "manic" phase: I zap from one thing to another, get distracted REALLY easily, can't sleep (or don't need much sleep), and I'm all "ooh! shiny!". In winter, or when I'm in a dark environment for an extended period of time, I'm in my "depressed" state: my short-term memory and attention span go to nothing, I'm more likely to get ill, I find it really hard to get out of bed and/or out of the house, and I can't seem to concentrate on things at all. Plus, I can't remember words when I need to.

In either phase, it's really difficult to hold a meaningful conversation with me.

I treat myself with 3000mg of St John's Wort per day, and (admittedly half-assed) light therapy -- I have a bedside lamp with a "cool white" compact fluorescent bulb, and an overhead lamp above my bed. When I switch them both on, I get a reasonable facsimile of daylight.

SAD, as far as I'm aware, is caused by an imbalance of melatonin in the brain. Melatonin is the substance manufactured (secreted?) in your pineal gland that helps you sleep at night. This is why some of the sleeping pills you see in health food shops have melatonin as a major ingredient. FWIW, I can't take melatonin tablets, because they screw over my natural sleep cycle for days.

I'm happy to talk about SAD with you, but don't expect me to be particularly coherent -- I'm in my "depressed" stage at the moment, and it's only going to get worse until about late September, when I start to feel vaguely human again.
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From:heartofawarrior
Date:June 16th, 2011 07:11 am (UTC)
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I find that during the winter, I'm either mummified in blankets on the couch, freezing my ass off and downing tea like it's going out of style (usually while reading, or working on my novel), or I'm bounding around school like a Labrador who's finally gotten their daily walk. There's very little middle ground for me, that I can recall offhand. But, I've found that epic proportions of tea and lots of good reading material help fight the "oh GOD this season is gonna last forever!" feeling (and help me survive the holidays).

Also, my mom, who lives in Oregon and gets a fair bit of snow during the winter, has a habit of growing bulbs (and a gazillion other plants) in the house, so that she gets a bit of color - she gets VERY tired of looking out at a monochromatic landscape, and having pretty, sweet-smelling flowers in the house helps with that some. I think her favorites for that are hyacinths, but if memory serves, she's grown some daffodils inside, too. She's also got the biggest Christmas cactus I've ever seen, along with a spider plant that I swear is becoming sentient, and organizing the African violets to take over the windowsill in the guest bathroom.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 16th, 2011 07:19 am (UTC)
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Speaking of seasonal weirdness, the jonquils are out here already and it's not even past solstice. Also, the azaleas outside think it's spring for some reason. Confused bushes are confused.
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From:heartofawarrior
Date:June 16th, 2011 07:23 am (UTC)
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Oooh, definitely odd. Mom's poor daffodils in the yard got faked out by a few decent days, so they started coming out, and then promptly got snowed on the following day. A lot of her outdoor plants fall victim to that, or curious deer. "Deer-resistant" plants are a joke - sure, they're stuff that the deer don't like to eat, but the fuzzy bastards are going to try a bite anyway, and then spit it out... the smart-ish ones learn after one or two bites, but the REALLY dense ones will systematically destroy an entire bush, or snip off all of mom's flowers, before deciding "hm, I really don't like this." or simply stopping because there's no more left to try.
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From:tatjna
Date:June 16th, 2011 06:35 pm (UTC)
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From what I understand, body corps are relatively easy to set up between two households, but I'd be concerned about how much it would eat of my income - a home Cv'd at $625,000 would require quite the contribution, and it's looking like it'll need painting/maintenance pretty soon.

I liked the sun and it smelled dry and was warm on a relatively cold day, but what the buyer wants for it and what I think it's worth with the cross lease hassle are too far apart.
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From:vernacularity
Date:June 17th, 2011 04:11 am (UTC)
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yeh ditto for getting out at lunchtime whether you initially feel likeit or not. one major source of discontent is being at work on a sunny day and knowing it will be dark and cold by the time i get out.

so don't just go sit in the sun, get the blood moving.

but, yeah, I used to get really whingey around this time of year, but I decided that actually i have got lots of stuff to do at home, and sitting around at home is actually quite nice if i spend time making the place comfortable.

also, making sure to be a bit social is a grand idea. plus, sociability that includes visiting people at their homes! I really like it when i have someone round for even a cup of te4a and I end up rushing through a bunch of housework that would have been ignored for a week otherwise, and the place just feels nice as a result.
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