It’s been a month since my last post. It’s been a month since my last post?? Shite.
What happened? The Christmas season happened, I tell you. And my regular mistake: I got my hopes up.
After a good Thanksgiving, with my friend Ritalin, I expected a great holiday season. You see, this time of year is the longest of my semester breaks: three weeks. Due to my spectacularly bad financial planning, I always have to teach in the summer, so I don’t get summers off like people think when they hear I am a professor. I get a week between semesters from Spring to Summer and Summer to Fall, but spend that time working on the next semester’s stuff.
But Christmas break, I get three weeks! Imagine all the things I would accomplish in three weeks! Think of the writing I would get done! I can begin the semester fully prepared this year!
None of that happened. I did not write a word, other than to answer a few emails. No poetry, no fiction, no scholarly work, no blogging.
I spent the first week recovering from finishing the semester. Grades were not a hair-tearing-out affair, again thanks to the pharma, but they were stressful enough and I had to work hard on Sunday and Monday to finish them.
I went to the doctor that Monday to talk about a new formulation of Ritalin. Unfortunately my blood pressure was slightly elevated, so he recommended I get it checked again and I’ve been fretting about that ever since. I did start on Concerta, which does not have the up and down effect of Ritalin, but the up is not so high, plus I’m on a slightly lower dose (37 mg instead of 40).
Then, the rest of the week was spent preparing for Christmas and all the inlaws coming. I had the symptom of irritability that week, but I usually do at Christmas. During the holiday, the structure of the day is shot, and everyone has enormously high expectations, and any sort of self control about food goes out the window. Pie with a bon-bon chaser? Sure, only if I can have a double dark chocolate frappucino with.
Here’s the recipe: start with extra sugar/carbs/caffiene/alchohol. Add to that financial pressure. Add to that big family meals. Add to that boxes and bags and piles of new things to deal with. Add to that the burden of all the things of which I said I’m gonna do during my break because I don’t have time the rest of the year.
Basically, vacation was a big funk for me. I do not learn. I set expectations extra high for myself because of the new chemical me but felt the old sloth come back. Meaning it was hard to get enough energy to take a shower some days. Meaning arguments and hurt feelings, and feeling uncomfortable in my own house.
Week 1 was getting ready for Christmas. Week 2 was playing with all the Christmas toys (I’m on a new MacBook Pro, courtesy the University, which happened to arrive the last week of the semester). Week 3 was spent saying, I gotta get started on work: I teach again starting a week from today, starting six days, three days, TOMORROW!!
This past Sunday was spent organizing syllabi and web sites needed for Monday that could have been done weeks earlier. The entire off time was spent not doing the bills, or writing what I wanted to write.
I did accomplish a few things:
I read a couple books, nothing unusual for me, and while doing so thought about the fantastic book I will write some day.
I taught myself to use GarageBand and arranged/recorded a couple songs.
I ripped my entire CD collection to iTunes (about 220 CDs).
I kept at my work sorting through things in the basement and throwing stuff away. I’ve probably thrown out 30 contractor bags worth of stuff since November.
I went through all of my boxes of “things I gotta file” and filed them.
I set up the kids’ new Wii and LeapPad.
None of these things seem monumental or terribly satisfying.
Once I got rolling this week, though, it felt good to get started. I am still fighting resistance, still having put of things that I was putting off in December, but gaining forward momentum. The most satisfying thing is to get the laptop keys clicking away under my fingers again, to see words forming in lines on the screen again.