For a couple of days, I’ve been spending a couple of minutes here and there searching on Flickr for a Creative Commons-licensed photo of someone barely keeping her head above water. But I haven’t found any, so instead you get a self-portrait I took today that isn’t nearly as interesting, perhaps, but illustrates what I’ve spent a lot of time doing: contemplating. What do I want from life? How do I design my life around what is important and fulfilling? What keeps me from going for some of what matters most to me? How do I get around or go through those barriers?
I’ve also kept busy with a variety of other activities. They say the first quarter/semester of grad school will kick your butt, and they aren’t lying; I’m amazed by my classmates who are managing to hold down full-time jobs and get all the work done. I’ve been sick with what may have been H1N1; I’m still coughing a bit, still tired, a month later. (This can happen.) I’m helping my husband get through the last few weeks before his Ph.D. defense; that means I’m the primary cook and cleaner and errand runner, and I will be for the next month. I’m flying to Seattle for about one week a month for my graduate program. I’m worn out pretty regularly.
And I’m not writing enough. Not here, not for money, not anywhere. I keep thinking of posts I want to write at inconvenient times, and then I never make the time. In fact, I’m not doing enough of a lot of what matters to me. After the great cooking class I taught in August, I have thought about scheduling another one and have written some notes, but I haven’t made it happen yet. (If you want to be on my email list about future cooking classes, shoot me an email at sally dot parrott at gmail dot com). I had planned to apply for a small part-time job managing a farmer’s market here in Atlanta (would have loved it! would have been great at it!), but I never had the spare time to get everything together for it. I could have forced time for it, but I didn’t, and I don’t quite understand the inertia that kept me from it. I also haven’t exercised as much as I would have liked in the past six months—partly because summer in Georgia makes me lethargic, and partly because I went from a kickball knee injury into more exercise for two weeks into H1N1-ish illness. I am, at least, climbing out of that; I started back running yesterday, and I am working on a consistent yoga practice. When I do it, exercise makes me feel better in a whole range of ways (not to mention allows me to stay at a healthy size).
How much am I just busy? How much am I just recovering? How much am I being too hard on myself? How much am I avoiding what would make me more fulfilled? You can see why my mind goes and goes.
So I’m in a strange sort of place in life right now: I am free to schedule my days according to my own wishes, yet I seem to be having difficulty fitting in what I want to do. But I also don’t feel like my time is always well-ordered. At times, I waste time, especially when I’m lonely or tired (which is more common than usual right now). I feel like I need a life coach to help me create some order from these whirls of positive activity and dysfunction and to help me figure out where I am heading. But I can’t (truly) figure out how to eek out the money for that right now on top of other things. In the last few months, I have felt a bit stuck. And just thinking about feeling stuck makes me feel more tired.