The dog days of summer are upon me, but instead of howling at the moon, I’m lying curled up in my bed without the energy or motivation to get to all these things I want to do. I’m making steady yet slow progress, but I can’t seem to get into what’s most important.
I watched a brief video the other day by Josh Davis, talking about “When to Skip Something On Your To-Do List,” and his advice is simple: If your mental energy doesn’t match the task, then stop. Put that energy where it’ll be most effective and come back to the other tasks when you’re mentally prepared to efficiently work on them.
But, see, this is where my mind starts to malfunction.
What My Experiments with Baking Have Taught Me About Life
Or: I want to talk about cookies, so let me make it a metaphor.
I like cooking (and I like eating what I cook–most of the time), but like blogging, being in school (and often over-committing myself), it’s not something I get to do as often as I’d like–so when the opportunity to cook arises, I jump at it. Team potluck? Let me try my hand at salmon casserole, spicy chicken dip, or cranberry kugel. Need a dessert for a bake sale or snack at the meeting? Let me make a hundred oatmeal cream cookies (those were a hit! and they lasted for months, great snacks between classes!), gluten-free black bean brownies, or red velvet cake batter cookies. My mouth is watering at the memories!
So I’m going to a friend’s housewarming party tomorrow night (no spoilers, Katie, stop reading) and I decided I wanted to surprise her with some made-at-home cookies!
And then they had drinks and celebrated the fact that finals were over. (Seriously, I tried coming up with a better punchline, but I couldn’t make it funny, so I thought I’d opt for absurd and asinine instead.)
But honestly, finals are over, and believe it or not, I almost didn’t know what to do when I got out of class. I lingered, albeit unintentionally at first, with some classmates and we discussed our exam, but then I was on my own–and I really had no idea what to do with myself.
So I did what anyone else would do: I did nothing.
One of my goals this year has been to meditate more. It calms the mind, soothes the body, and I need all of the above. Especially this week, when I really feel reality slipping and my consciousness dripping all over the floor around me and puddling up in the mattress beneath me, something to take the edge off without alcohol is appreciated.
That’s where meditation comes in.
But the last couple months, sitting still hasn’t been helpful. Making time to stop isn’t meditative–it just makes me more anxious, as in minutes I see all the hours of work I could get done–and then watch as time passes while I merely sit there. That’s not meditation. That’s torture.
I have a few things to discuss, a few things that–come next month–I must definitely find a new way of discussing. It’s only been one update so far of this sort (if that gives you any substantial hint what I’m about to do) and already the list-likeness of it makes me want to stop.
Lists are not fun.
But in the meantime, while I consider alternate methods of assessment, let’s look at my goal progress this year.
For the first day in about ninety, I felt…relaxed. Well, not the whole day: I woke up convinced I had woken up early, and then went back to bed and overslept. I ran to get dressed, print my assignments, and then–remarkably–only arrived fifteen minutes late to class. I wasn’t even winded from the stairs.
Class went well. My second class was less a class than a test, and of the twenty questions, there was one I really didn’t know (and will kick myself for getting wrong, since I should’ave known it) and two more that I could have argued for each option. Not exactly the kind of feeling I like having after a test, but I got out of class an hour early, and isn’t that something?
Last year I made some miserable mistakes in making my goals: There were too many and they were too broad. I had no way to measure my success or to celebrate small victories along the way. One good thing I did was post them here–that gave me an audience who would witness my shortcomings if I failed to achieve my goals. Then again, I didn’t check back on them enough–and that’s got to changes, too.
Anyways, today starts the new year. And with the new year comes new goals for myself, new endeavors, and new opportunities.
Time’s gotten away from me today, hasn’t it? I got up, read a bit, did some dishes… and then played Tales for about four hours. But with all my free time, that’s alright, right? Anyways, after that I had to finish the dishes I had put on to soak. So I once more played some music, got into position, and while I was scrubbing away, I considered all the things I could be thankful for today.
Yesterday (by which I still mean Thursday) was the first Thursday SOAR of the year. In case I’ve failed to mention, SOAR stands for Student Orientation and Registration, and in case I’ve failed to mention, as a Student Ambassador at Guilford Tech, I’m obligated to assist with check-in and registration. Sometimes it’s frustrating (like when I tried to explain that the line should wrap around the stairs and for some reason, they failed to understand what I thought I was communicating clearly), but usually it’s quite rewarding (such as when one woman complimented me on how organised we all were, or when I helped another register for her classes and then watched her repeat the process all on her own), but whether it’s frustrating or rewarding, it’s all the time fun. And full of people. And for an introvert like me, that equates fun in this context with exhausting.
And yesterday I was exhausted.
After I did some school work, after I ate dinner, after I did some more school work and treated myself to some time on Facebook, I curled up in bed, read for a bit, and promptly went to sleep. I was thankful for that (and forgetful that it was still Thursday).