.Tugging on the Bootstraps
It is the same old refrain, I suppose, so most of you will be tired of hearing about it. However, I am TRYING VERY HARD to pull myself up by my bootstraps, and force myself through this downturn in my mind. Relief has yet to arrive, but to do anything other than trudge ahead through my routine seems more frightening and despairing than just staying the course and living day-to-day, pretending as if all is right with the world.
What do I do in a typical day now:
1. Awake at 5:45am, listen to NPR for a while, get up at about 6:15am, get dressed to walk and out the door by 6:30am.
2. Walk 5 miles, and while walking either:
a) think quietly about my thoughts
(When I feel "good" I like this option for it allows me ample time to think creatively about...
i) the design of experiments in my research,
ii) ideas for the science fiction novel I am determined to write,
iii) think about things I wish to make for or do with my family,
iv) think about different home improvement projects I could work on, or
v) think about different ways of changing and improving my teaching.
I am not doing this so much at the moment, as being in my thoughts currently only magnifies my feelings of hopelessness, despair, fear, feelings of failure, and worry about dying.)
b) praying the roasary, or
c) listening to NPR.
3. I then come back home and shower (and occasionally shave my neckline), and dress for work and head to the U.
4. I typically have a plethora of students and faculty and staff constantly at my door needing my help/assistance. Some days this is good, some days it feels overwhelming. But, even on the best days it has me feeling like a hamster on an exercise wheel, never getting the chance to gather my thoughts before...
5. I head off to class.
6. I then eat lunch (on days my classes allow it).
7. I then work most of the afternoon on:
a) dealing with a plethora of students and faculty and staff who are constantly at my door needing my help/assistance. Just like in the above, this often has me continue feeling like a hamster in a wheel. But if there are relatively few of these interruptions I also will...
b) work on grading papers and tests
c) reading/searching the current scientific literature in my research field
d) mentor my research students
e) go to committee meetings
8. I then leave in the late afternoon/early evening and head home in my truck.
9. At home, I help my wife with dinner, and then we spen a bit of time with the family, perhaps watch an hour of television, and then my wife heads to bed around 11:00pm.
10. I then go to my home office and try to work for another two hours. Usually, in the past this time has been very productive as I do not have interruptions and it has in fact been rather relaxing. Yet, of late, I feel uninspired and usually accomplish little. It is supposed to be a time for a) me to catch up on work, b) work on my writing and art hobbies or c) explore. But not so much of any of that is happening.
11. I typically then get to bed around 1:00am.
So, wish me luck as I continue, continuing on. If I keep doing my routine, I am bound to push through the dark, dank, and foreboding woods of despair and eventually find myself in a bright, sunny, clearing of joy. Right? That is the string of hope I try to clutch in my hand.