Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Scatterings of Smatterings

It occurred to me yesterday that I am depressed. I feel listless, passionless, uninterested and generally heavy of spirit, and it's not because I didn't get enough R&R on my vacation, it's because I'm halfway between a solstice and an equinox and that seems to be my pattern.

Right on schedule, too. Here it is August already, I had quite forgotten to expect my depression to come around. But then, looking at my archives for this time last year, though it's hard to tell through the blind of survey memes with which I filled my pages, it seemed my depression didn't really get a head on it until September. But according to pre-Mannersism evidence, the year before that it started in late July.

I'm thinking that there may be more circumstantial triggers than I orginally thought... this time last year, I'd just gotten back from Disneyland, and my mood continued pretty well jazzed for a couple of weeks until I started having tooth trouble; this time I've just gotten back from spending a weekend in Redding with relatives, and I feel like a moldy old damp mop. Coincidence? You be the judge.

I'm also utterly exhausted today. Yesterday I took my second Pilates class, and I overdid it a bit... in particular, I put more strain on my groin muscles than I should have, instead of focusing that strain on the abdominal muscles as I am supposed to. It's all an issue of tight hamstrings and having a huge head... when we were doing the exercise where I balance on my hips with my torso and my legs in the air and then have to roll back and forth like a ball, I had no trouble rolling backward but had a hell of a time rolling back forward. And while I didn't pull or otherwise damage anything in my groin, the whole area is very weak, hurts quite a bit, and at the same time has far too much blood running through it and thence into ancillary extremities nearby... that is, I've had a chubby ever since, quite pleasant but terribly distracting.

The instructor helped me with the positioning, instructing me which part of the exercise is important and which part can be fudged, and after class gave me some pointers on how to loosen my hamstrings (reach for my toes for one minute three times a day, and I should be able to touch the floor without bending my knees in the course of a month). And the exercises felt pretty good once I got to doing them right. I wish I could afford to engage her for private lessons, but that's just not in the budget right now... I'd have to give up manicures to afford that... and I'd rather have pretty nails than a tight tummy. Nobody sees my tummy, after all.

I also stayed up much too late last night; after my usual post-AA-meeting fellowship, I got to talking with a friend, and we found ourself immersed in really fascinating conversations where we both had a lot to say and a lot to hear and a lot to learn from each-other. While we talked, we simply stood there on the sidewalk, me leaning on the parking meter and him leaning on a tree, while the night got colder and the street got creepier. Eventually we had to break it up when the street-sweeper came bearing down on us and I had to move my car out of the way — it was after 1 a.m., and I had been so wrapped up in the conversation that I had no idea two hours had passed since we first started talking.

Of course, after so much mental stimulation, on top of muscular pain and blood-engorged extremities and so on, I didn't get to sleep until long after two a.m. And then I woke up immediately with a need to go to the bathroom (I don't know what I ate that started all that, but whatever it was it probably went in better than it came out), and slept fitfully afterward.

When my alarm went off at 7:15, I was in no condition to spring out of bed with a song on my lips. But I am trying to get back into the schedule habit, getting up at the same time every morning and getting to work at 10 a.m. or earlier, instead of waking when I'm done sleeping and wandering into the office sometime between eleven and tomorrow. So I got up in spite of what my body wanted to do. I only hope that as a result my body will go to sleep when it's supposed to tonight.

Another new habit I'm getting into here at work is to keep a log of my activities as I perform them. Every phone call that comes in, every fax I send, every document I type, every phone number I call, every little thing gets jotted down in a binder. I started this yesterday, and it was quite gratifying to see how many things I did that day. I filled three pages with little notes on discussions and tasks and whatnot, and though I didn't reach the goals I'd set in the morning, it was a lot of work. Today I've done very little, which is somewhat less gratifying, I've only filled one page and don't expect to do much more, and haven't even considered the goals I set this morning. But I do have notes of who called and what they called about, and I've already referred to yesterday's log several times to refresh my memory and clue myself in on the status of various projects. It makes me feel so grown-up and organized.

On a not entirely unrelated topic, I've been re-reading a book I enjoyed so much that I brought it to work with me many months ago... where it was immediately subsumed by the mess on my desk, and I just recently found it again and started leafing through it — Roger Rosenblatt's Rules for Aging: Resist normal impulses, live longer, attain perfection (Harcourt, 2000). Here is a sample of some of the rules, with explanatory text paraphrased (so as to not trample any well-meant plagiarism laws):

    1) It doesn't matter (win or lose, late or early, here or there, get or miss... it just doesn't matter).

    2) Nobody is thinking about you (in order to critique or condemn or plot against you... they're too busy thinking about themselves, just like you).

    3) Let bad enough alone (there is no situation so bad that you can't make worse by trying to exonerate yourself from it).

    4) Ignore your enemy or kill him (but if you kill him, you have to make sure you never get caught and he never knows you did it, or else he will have won).

    5) Boo yourself off the stage (before anybody else gets a chance to).

    6) Yes, you did (if you think you might have been wrong, then most likely you were).

    7) After the age of thirty, it's unseemly to blame your parents for your life (which the author immediately emends to age 25).
There are fifty-eight Rules altogether, each one applicable to everyone's life. So much wisdom in such a slim volume. Shiloh's mother sent that to me for Christmas a couple of years ago... and while I can't say that it changed my life, it certainly gave me a good perspective on how to handle my life.

Well, let's see, what else can I natter on about today? I can't really think of anything. I have about another hour of work to do here, then I'm going to the gym (only for cardio, though... we're going to try the elliptical machines today instead of the bicycles), and then dinner, then I'm going to try and burn a CD. I've never done that before... and maybe the process will be so time-consuming that I will be able at the same time to concentrate on writing my ninth-step letter to Kevin (I had a nightmare about him last week, and so obviously he's preying on my mind) while I wait.

Which reminds me, I have to call and confirm the dinner-date with the person for whose birthday gift I am learning how to burn a CD in the first place. One little task after another, does it never end?

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