East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Be good to yourself


I’m going through one of my usual mood swings. As I think I mentioned in the past, I am getting used to this state of affairs, I guess it sort of comes with the writing job. An effect of mental fatigue, with the current extras of the heat and humidity, and assorted material worries.
I know it will pass, but right now I feel exhausted and am experiencing a mix of unhappiness and restlessness that is not exactly fun.
But as I said, I am used to it, and I have learned strategies to analyse it and then let it go.
This post I am inflicting you is part of the process.

And the point, in the end, is taking a break.
Escape that horrid little voice in your head that says

You are not writing! You won’t be able to pay the bills!

Shut up! I will pay them.
Only I can’t pay them if I kill myself in the process.
So once in a while, I need a break.
One afternoon off doing something that has nothing to do with work and survival, but is just fun.
1687510-hanken_patlabor01Like watching a few old episodes of Patlabor.
Like browsing Amazon looking for books to put on my wishlist.
Like listening to Journey’s Raised on Radio.
Like taking an evening off with a couple of friends and spend the night at the pub discussing old Hong Kong movies, Alejandro Jodorowski’s Metabarons and why the heck the Japanese did not use shields.
That sort of stuff.

I know some people that are always focused on their plan, always moving towards their target. They do not have leisure anymore, because even when they take two hours off for a movie, they chose that movie so that it will somehow further their personal success narrative.
I’ll watch this movie and write a piece about it in my blog, I’ll watch this movie and I will be the first one to review it, I’ll watch this movie and score some points by being contrarian and saying the opposite of what everybody says.
It must be horribly stressful.
It is horribly stressful.
Most of the people I know that function this way are completely burned out at fifty, and they not only are significantly unhappy, but they cause stress and unhappiness in those that surround them.
I don’t want to be like that.
I am not like that.
I get my black moods, but I’m back on my feet in 24/36 hours – all I have to do is remind myself to take it easy.


There are circumstances over which we do not have control anyway. And the social pressure constantly reminding us that whenever something goes wrong it’s our fault is a product of a well-meaning can-do attitude that got out of hand.

In the end everything will be OK.
So now I’ll arrange something for lunch, and then settle down with a good book.
Or maybe, who knows, I might watch for the umpteenth time Romancing the Stone, a movie that always gets me in a good mood when I’m down.
Have a nice Sunday folks, and be good to yourself.


Author: Davide Mana

Paleontologist. By day, researcher, teacher and ecological statistics guru. By night, pulp fantasy author-publisher, translator and blogger. In the spare time, Orientalist Anonymous, guerilla cook.

2 thoughts on “Be good to yourself

  1. I’m glad to hear you’re doing healthy things like taking a break. And thanks for posting that “50 Ways to Take a Break” infographic. I’m going to share it with a friend who needs this.


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