Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Red Hair, Blue Jello: Are You Hungry or Tired?

Monday afternoon and night, I was very tired. So I ate a lot. Not exactly logical or a solution to the problem, but overeating felt like the right thing to do.

I've long known that a gutsy move would be to learn how to figure out which bell is ringing and answer that one: i.e., sleep when I'm tired, eat when I'm hungry, that sort of thing.

Instead what happens is, if I feel a shortage of any of the basics, the solution seems to be to do anything that feels good. At another moment this week when I was impatient to get an email that hadn't arrived, I bid on a pair of gold driving loafers on Ebay. And years ago, when I'd been waiting for months for a visa to spend a winter in India researching my novel, I dealt with the problem by putting a very red rinse on my hair.

So this morning, I googled "needs confusion." What I mostly found had a punctuation mark in between: "...needs. Confusion..." I did learn some interesting facts: that blue food is a natural hunger suppressant. (I should tell this to the folks who run my regular lunch spot, the K&W cafeteria, who frequently have blue Jello in the salad section at the front of the line.) I also learned that others have failed to find an easy solution. From the blue-Jello blog: "It would have been helpful to receive a user manual with your body. I would have settled for one page, hand written or even just an outline."

The answer seems to be:
*pay attention to the signals.
*And then, the tricky part: do something relevant to the actual problem or lack. That takes discipline, which is one of the often-unrecognized and very important pieces of serious and effective boldness. I like the leaping component better.

There's also a parallel problem to this needs-confusion that I run across fairly regularly: when work has to be finished on deadline, I sometimes vigorously set to work at breakfingers-speed on something else. As if some free-floating sense of urgency were all that was needed. More on this one later.

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kenju said...

It must have been something in the air Monday.

I frequently get busy on something unnecessary when a deadline approaches for something that IS necessary. Why is that?

Peggy Payne said...

I think what was in the air on Monday was Day After A Holiday Weekend.

Having the leftovers in the fridge was also a motivator.

On why we busy ourselves with the wrong thing: I think it's because the fact of a short deadline can be scary, and because of the rebellious satisfaction of doing instead what I want to.

mamie said...

Yep, definitely something in the air. I've been doing Weight Watchers and last night had a major breakdown: jelly beans, chocolate, hugely caloric granola bar, seven-point vegan almond cookie, and no dinner. I felt really, really sick and restless when I went to bed. But I did not dye my hair red!

Peggy Payne said...

It's a basket-of-sweets time of year, Mamie. That's probably what's going on. A large rabbit did this to us.

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