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Done Waiting for Inspiration

Updated: Aug 3, 2022

I haven't written in a while because I've been waiting for inspiration. I'm done. It may never come. So now what? Not write? Not try? Shutter this site? Nah. I'm thinking now maybe writing is more habit than aha moments. More regular slog than grand insights. It's not that I haven't had anything to say, it's that I thought anything I write has to be worthwhile, earthshattering, wise or some such nonsense. Could be my writing will resonate with others every so often, or only for me and nobody else. Whatever. Writing could just be my mind exhaling here and there. And there it is, the occasional catchy turn of phrase, which is the way I occasionally speak and write. That seems worth the effort, to see what might emerge when I write.

I'm a regular swimmer with a pretty lap pool in my back yard surrounded by pine trees that litter the pool daily. I'm grateful for the trees, for their shade during the heat of the summer, for their reflection on the surface of the water year-round. Skimming the pine needles before swimming is an exercise in patience. I've learned to move the water slowly enough to be able to see and scoop debris off the bottom. If moved too quickly, the water is disturbed and the bottom blurred. Like the clarity that can come when we slow down and are still for a time.

Habits are helpful. Better if healthy. Healthy habits make us happier, if we give them a chance. Habits that bother us are hard to drop. Swimming is my healthy habit, sugar my unhealthy habit. I've tried to kick the sugar habit several times without success. When I recognized sugar was more of a habit than a pleasure, I tried a substitute habit; a couple of mints in place of dessert. Surprisingly, it's working better than expected. Don't get me wrong, I still eat lots of sugar, and complex sugar - smoothies, fruit, bread, pizza - but I'm less of a slave to my long-standing sugar habit. It's kinda freeing, this different perspective.

Some things boil down to simple math. When I started semi-retirement several months ago, I traveled more and ate like I was always on vacation. I exercise a lot but it caught up with me. Always nervous about food restriction since I had an eating disorder in my teens and early twenties, I decided to try the 80% rule. Many years ago, my father-in-law, always trim during his lifetime, told me he had gained weight in the past so decided to stop eating when he was 80% full. He did, lost the weight and stayed a healthy weight the rest of his life. I must say at the time, I thought, geez no fun, how to rob the joy out of eating.

I don't diet because I don't want to become obsessed thinking about food all the time, a miserable existence. Still, I was overeating to the point of being uncomfortably full, even the next morning, no joy in that. I decided being stuffed was a feeling I didn't want to have anymore and I remembered my father-in-law's only-eat-till-you're-80%-full rule so decided to try it. I'm happy to say it worked, I'm back at a healthy weight, which I maintain with this new 80% full habit.

The 80/20 rule applies in many situations. Weight is 80% what you eat/20% exercise. Savings is 80% what you spend/20% what you earn. 80% of customers/clients/patients are fine/20% cause all the problems. And maybe writing is 80% habit/20% inspiration.

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