Revisiting the halting problem

It’s always interesting to see what posts on this blog get looked at, and when they do. Recent posts on being kind to yourself and feeling overweight triggered big responses suggesting that they struck a chord with much of my readership. Recent articles get a lot of hits, but there are always random searches that dredge up old articles that surprise me when I reread them.

One such hit this week dug up the halting problem, in which I was reminded of the value of simply hanging out with my kids. I wrote that around 18 months ago, but it hasn’t stuck. I still get caught up in the chaos of work and simply keeping our collective heads above water, and I don’t make nearly enough time for the simple pleasure of playing with my girls.

We have a new pet, a sugar glider named Flash, of whom I will no doubt write a lot more in the weeks and months to come, but I am struggling to find time to bond with him. Bonding with him in the early stages involves just letting him sit in our laps in his pouch, not hassling him, but giving him time to get used to our sound and smell. Trouble is that requires me to be sitting down. I don’t do much of that. Too much to do. Too many deadlines whooshing by, or looming like ominous thunder clouds. So I berate myself – I am failing Flash, and failing our kids, because he has not bonded fully with us yet (we have had him for just over a week).

our sugar glider, Flash.

As I was chatting to a friend yesterday, bemoaning the way I shouted at my kids that morning, she told me I had to be kinder to myself. Somewhere in my head I see that as justifying my shouting – which is quite unjustifiable – but she has an important point. If I’m not kind to myself, I will have no chance of being kind to my kids. I am hurtling around in a frenzy of guilt and deadlines, trying to do everything fast and perfectly. Trying to meet a whole slew of self-imposed obligations, many of which exist only in my own head.

I need to stop. I need to sit still. I need to breathe, and to reconnect with my family, my friends, and indeed myself. Bonding with Flash may be the key to forcing me to slow down. Indeed, part of the reason for getting a pet was to try to lower the stress levels in the house, but it never dawned on me that he might force me to sit still. Sugar gliders are not known for stillness.

So over the next few weeks I am going to try to let Flash teach me to be still. He is a quivering bundle of speed, so it may be a challenge for him, but I think he’s up to it. Flash! Aaaah…saviour of the universe!

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3 thoughts on “Revisiting the halting problem

  1. Miranda

    Linda how on earth did you get a sugar glider as a pet? Do you need special permission to keep him (being a native animal)? Flash may just help you slow down!

  2. lindamciver

    In Victoria you need a basic wildlife license – there is a restricted list of animals you can keep with a basic license, sugar gliders are among them. Some states you can’t keep them at all. Victorian details are here: http://www.dse.vic.gov.au/plants-and-animals/native-plants-and-animals/keeping-and-trading-wildlife-in-victoria/private-wildlife-licences

    We wanted a native pet, since I’m allergic to cats and dogs (and so is at least one of my daughters), and meat eating pets aren’t the most environmentally friendly idea. We looked into the requirements for a basic license and what kind of animals you can get, and found that there is a sugar glider breeder not too far from us.

    I hope he does make me slow down. I’ve just been hit hard with a virus I’ve been trying to pretend I didn’t have, so slowing down has become crucial!

  3. He’ll have you sitting still in a … flash ;-) BTW: I think I found a local source for the stuff Flash craves … not far from where the frog mouths nest.

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