Sometimes You Just Feel Bad

I had a bit of a realization earlier today. For the past few days I've felt a very acute sense that I'm *doing something wrong* - that I'm neglecting work or my kids or my family, that I need to do something around the house or run to the library. I feel like I'm missing SOMETHING. And while I'm specifically feeling this right now it's not too far removed from how I feel all the time - it's very hard for me to just sit down and try to relax. Part of the reason I knit is because in the end my kid has a sweater or whatever and I don't feel like I've been wasting my time looking at my phone or whatever.

Today I was kind of piddling about, waiting to get some work to do, loading the dishwasher, etc, etc - and I took a second and asked myself why. And I think I figured something out.

I feel bad. The thing I do for work doesn't make me very happy, and right now the way I do it is WILDLY inconvenient, and I have just kind of dealt with the inconvenience of remote working on a system that HAS to be located where it is. I don't even think about how irritating it is; moreover, I am consistently doing it with either one or two children running around. I don't have any time to myself, I've got an absolutely wild sleep debt going, there's a PANDEMIC and we live in a nightmare hell world. I feel bad!

But I've got a very classic protestant work ethic brain and the only thing it can think about this stimulus is that *I must be fucking up*. I must be doing something wrong, otherwise why would I feel so bad? And so I end up in this state of hyperawareness, trying to figure out what I'm doing wrong, and - well, I'm not doing EVERYTHING right. I could be better with my kids, I could donate more, I could volunteer more. There's one or two specific things I should really hop on the stick and address. But none of my most notable problems are caused by me.

I don't know if this knowledge will help me. I've certainly had breakthroughs before that have not actually done much for my state of mind. I have therapy tomorrow and I'll run it up the flagpole but it's kind of nice to realize: a lot of this is not my fault.