T Minus Two Type Two Diabetes and Other Passions

28Apr/132

Whack-a-mole

You may be familiar with a game called "Whack-a-Mole", which I believe was mostly a carnival game originally but which also has plenty of computerized versions. The game consists of a horizontal surface with a lot of holes. Mechanical 'moles' randomly pop up through the holes, and the object is to hit as many as you can before they go back into their holes. It can get pretty frantic.

Recently I was thinking about how I need to once again remake some of the changes I've made in the past. I went on to think sadly about how my self-care seems to be cyclical, but I reflected that 'cyclical' suggests a regularity that I don't believe to be present. Then I remembered my sister's observation that life is like a whack-a-mole game. To her, this expresses that you never know just what's going to come up, and situation 89 arises before you're quite finished dealing with situation 88.

Books and articles about personal improvement can leave you with the impression that your trajectory should mostly be a steady climb. You identify something you want to change, you pick a strategy and try it out, make any needed adjustments in your strategy, make your strategy a permanent habit, and go onto the next thing. I don't know how it is for you, but even when I get a change fully implemented, the overall process is  never that smooth for me.

Making changes requires time, focus, and a certain amount of emotional energy. Fewer of these resources are required once the change is a habit, but I find that it's a good long time before that change is as habitual as wearing socks. My changes get undone, again and again and again, by the challenges that come up after my focus has moved to something else. Because my attention is elsewhere, I don't always do what's necessary to keep a small slip from becoming a big one.
And there are ALWAYS other things to focus on. It may be another aspect of self-care, it may be some other change I want to make, it may be my interstate of the moment (currently English slang), it could be a lot of other things. And, from time to time, a depressive episode will absorb all resources and redirect them towards getting though.

The result, for me, is that while I often improve myself, there's likely to be another thing slipping. So I wind up playing self-improvement Whack-a-Mole -- there are lots of victories, but it's hard to see much real progress over time. My score is good, but I never seem to win.

Maybe I need a bigger mallet.

Comments (2) Trackbacks (0)
  1. I feel your pain on this one. I’m not sure if I need a bigger mallet, an extra set of hands to wield a second mallet, or even a friend to wield that second mallet.

    I guess whoever figures this out first should share their answer with the other. Sound good?

    Keep whacking, Sir Bob. Some progress is better than no progress. :)

  2. Bob-wonderful post that expresses what we all go through. The problem with diabetes is that it can never be a completely up trajectory. If we use our tools (insulin, medications, exercise, etc.) too well, then we go low. Plus no one has a complete grasp on all the things that affect our BG anyway.

    I’ve never played Whack-a-Mole digitally, but boy do I have some fun memories at Chuck E Cheese when my kids were young:)


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