[Sober Living] “No Performance” Time

We perform versions of ourselves whenever we interact with others. I am performing a version of myself right now, as are you, my dearest reader. This applies more when we dress up nicely for work than talking to a neighbor in our pajamas, but both are performances. These performances of social norms – acceptable levels of interactive decency – are taxing. I give myself 75 minutes before every workday to exorcise nonperforming urges so I feel good performing.

That 75 minutes is crucial for myself.

No matter how crazy my workday gets, I’ve already self-actualized, so I can get home, prepare for tomorrow, and go to bed. There is no feeling of vengeance or regret over reclaiming the day. Both and other negative emotions permeate into bad lifestyle decisions. If, instead of trying to spend hours awake to forget, we wash up, eat some food, and hurry off to bed, the anxieties and stresses will dissipate and we’ll feel more refreshed in the morning.

“But I don’t want to give my all to work!”

Paradoxically, you’d think you’d be stickin’ it to the man by arriving into work a little groggy, a little distracted, or a little late. Actually, at least for me, I’ve felt terrible throughout the workday even before something rude happens when I try to suck out all the pleasure of work and recapture that pleasure outside of work.

That 75 minutes is my time.

I’ll split it up between reading and computer stuff. During my big day off, written at length in “Thirty-Three Years Young,” both were the activities I wanted to do the most, given a day of complete autonomy. Your day might be playing videogames or watching anime. Whatever it is, I’ve found that once I know what those things I want to do the most are, and schedule it into my time, like how I must write daily, then I feel better throughout the day.

There’s no psychological guarantee.

I’m not a doctor. I can’t diagnose your physiological problems as they relate to psychological distress. I can recommend what has worked for me. Managing the pressure of a high-stress job while burning off weight, living life to the fullest, while not allowing my addictions space in my mind palace required me to figure out stress management techniques.

Holding onto too much mental or physical clutter can be disastrous.

Instead, on days like yesterday, where although everything seemed fine throughout the day, I was exhausted. I didn’t push myself. Nothing more than what was required. I made a large meal, drank over a liter of water, rowed to relieve some of the stress, and before concluding my day, I – as I’ve done for months now – set out my clothes for the next day. This is an act of thinking ahead. Although yesterday wasn’t bad, I didn’t have the energy to do much more than the essentials, so I didn’t. Instead, I prepared myself to perform better today.

I feel ready to dance in my monkey suit and perform tricks.

Quotes: None.
Sources: My personal and professional experiences.
Inspirations: I have a limited wardrobe for work, partially as a satire against this need people have for dressing colorfully, expensively, or in other ways that show off, and partially for the pragmatic reason that I just don’t have to think about what I’m going to wear or how it will fit me. I used to worry about this. What color polo shirt should I wear with what color pants? I had some combos I used to like, and others I didn’t, and found that the only differences on those days were how much time I had to analyze those decisions rather than anything more important.
Related: Other Sober Living essays.
Photo: I guess it’s a little weird photographing my pants. Maybe it’s too intimate? Well, it’s more efficient to loop my belt through my pants and leave them out the night before, and this is part of my work plans. If I do this the night before, I don’t have to look for them. I can go from my play mode to my performance mode without thinking about it.
Written On: August 30th [24 minutes, 4:56am – 5:20am, mobile]
Last Edited: September 4th [Added some words, since my mobile app doesn’t always count 500 words effectively. Otherwise, first draft; final draft for the Internet.]


My big goal is writing. My most important goal is writing "The Story." All other goals should work toward that central goal. My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame some fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. I'm not better than you and you're not better than me. Let's strive to be better every day.