which begs the question

My life is more like a roller-coaster ride than a life, and I spend a lot of time trying to decide if I like it like this or if it is killing me.

I could go off on a string of roller-coaster-related analogies – climbing the tracks in anticipation, exhilarating terror at the fall off, the fact that I am about as lapsed religious as they come but whenever I’m standing in line at Cedar Point, I always say a little prayer for myself and for my sister, Betsy, who actually hasn’t been on a roller coaster with me in years, and my GOD what does THAT mean?

But I won’t. There are too many to choose from. You get the idea.

I don’t really remember the last time I had a day off without homework or certain-responsibility looming over my head, but I think that day was probably in August, and I was probably at my parents’ house. Although, visiting home comes with a startling long list of responsibilities of its own: people to see, teeth to be cleaned, hair to be cut. We spent a little over a week in the great state of Michigan, and I saw 2 friends and their families, spent 2 days in Lapeer, had 2 appointments, junked my car, got my cat spayed, went to a cross-country meet, and spent 2 days in Mansfield, Ohio.

Yes, one of those days was my last day off.

My life reached fervor pitch last June, when I found myself working 20 hours a week, taking a rigorous course taught my two of the smartest women who teach at my school, and hauling out to Somerville two days a week to a swanky internship.

And I survived, I really did. I picked up a lot of great survivalist habits, like camping out at Starbucks at 6 a.m. with my homework before launching into a 9-hour work/school day. And I learned lots of handy migraine fighting techniques along the way.

But somehow the overextended sprint turned into an overextended marathon. With two major assignments due last week, I found myself really questioning my ability to keep this up. What little time I wasn’t doing homework or reading or trying to write a g.d. novel, I was most likely weeping. All of the justifications I made for my choices started to dissolve. I had clearly packed my schedule to the brim not so I could be successful, but so I could be miserable. Maybe it was time to say “no.”

I thought about this all last week while I recovered from the previous week’s academic horror. I brainstormed ways that I could do more than survive next semester: I wanted to survive and also spend a little time not feeling like I would rather fall off the face of the earth than wake up in the morning.

And then, on Friday night, the roller coaster throws me another g.d. loop. Of course.

So I return to where I was last May, quietly contemplating the decision before me. That first internship, the one that hastily rejected me, has come a-calling.

And for those of you who question my capacity for idealism, I give you this: I still want to get in line for the stupid roller coaster. I’m saying a prayer for Betsy. I’m imagining that, somehow, with ingenuity and a schedule so carefully stacked it might crumble with a slight shift in the wind, I think I can do it and I think I can be happy doing it.

Which begs the question…




It’s probably a bad sign if I want both, right?


2 Responses to “which begs the question”

  1. So far as NaWrMoFoGoHo or whatever it is goes, here’s a secret: every month can be NoWrEtc month. It’s like Halloween as an adult. If I want to go to work dressed like Batman, I can. I don’t need one day out of the year to get permission. (I stole that last bit from Louis Black.) If it’s getting the way of things like free time or sanity, then you can safely drop it. Why? Because another month can be your NoWr month.

    The brain, the body, the mind, and the spirit need downtime. Some of that is in the form of sleep; other parts are in the form of not doing a damn thing for a couple of hours; and others are on doing things that relax everything from the current focus. It may not take something extreme (“Lance, I’m going to stare at this wall for the next thirty minutes. If I turn my head, you have to give me an electrical shock.”), but just using that planner to write in things like “Brain offline 6:30-7pm” and stick to it.

    Managing choices is an important thing. There were a couple of times when my boss was thinking about additional projects for the library and I had to say ‘no’ to her. I just couldn’t handle the bandwidth nor did I want to make myself crazy nor switch from doing a good job on a couple of projects to doing a bunch of half-assed jobs on more projects. It becomes a series of managing obligations to get you where you want to go.

    I’m sure you’ve got it. And you have a lot of people cheering you on, that’s for certain!


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