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I never take vacations. All my trips are business trips, except for the annual trip to see family. Which is not a vacation.

But the second half of May has been a vacation for me – officially unemployed (for two weeks) and really trying to kick back. Yes, I’m writing a conference paper too, because the deadline is June 1, but I’m doing it slowly and leisurely. Yes, I overhauled my personal website, migrated my IRL blog to a self-hosted WordPress instance, and did a bunch of other minor around-the-house work as well. I also spent two mornings at the local wildlife management area stalking warblers and other birds, and added three life birds to my list (I’m up to 307 species!) This is the kind of stuff I like to do with my “time off” when it’s completely unconstrained.

A “deluxe” privy is a welcome sight during wilderness backpacking. This, however, is one of the grossest outhouses I’ve ever seen.

Today I’m leaving for a backpacking trip. Mr. Chickadee, me, and our dog will take a 6-day 50-mile walk around a lake in the Five Ponds Wilderness of the Adirondacks. I can’t wait! I have been dehydrating food for weeks, and can think of practically nothing else at this point. This is the real vacation part for me; the rest has been just catching up.

But what I’ve been noticing lately is that I’m feeling great. Since the start of May, my mood charts show stable, positive moods in the mid-60′s to high 70′s, which is exceptional for me. This morning (not shown on the graph below) my daily Moodscope score topped out at 80. I have only hit 80 a couple of times in the last year, and was very clearly hypomanic each time. Of course, the start of May was basically when my break began, and coincided with the whole-hearted return of the sun. I’ve been productive, happy, and having a good time. I’m hardly worrying about the many things I could be fretting over.

Feeling fine, or hypomanic?

And yet, it’s not hypomania. I don’t think.

Yes, I did get an overwhelming urge to make a quilt the other day. Which led to sewing together all of the cut pieces of T-shirts that have been sitting around the house since sometime last year. And deciding that it’s not going to be a lap blanket, it’s going to be a queen-sized quilt for our bed, because why do anything small when you can go full size? Plus the purchase of batting, a king-size flat sheet for backing, and an embroidery frame for hand-quilting. I’ve actually made good progress, with the top nearly done except for the borders. But I now realize how much work is left to complete this quilt that I’ve started: borders, batting, hand-quilting, and binding. That’s a lot of work. Oops. Did I mention that I’ve never made a quilt before?

But I still think it’s not hypomania. There are no racing thoughts or brilliant insights and I’m sleeping fine.  I think it’s just the way I relax, inasmuch as I ever relax. I’m just feeling good and working on whatever suits me. I think that’s the way a vacation ought to be.

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