Monday, March 15, 2010

Recalled to Life

You may recall that in a moment of stump-clearing-fueled optimism, I toyed with the idea of trying to emerge from grief-stricken hibernation, starting this week. Well, the future has arrived and now I must translate the nebulous plan into action. Yesterday, the last day of my slothful wallowing, it all seemed so possible. I was thinking about the fact that my unsuspecting husband will come home on Saturday to a wonderful new life. One in which I cook dinner again, in which we play card games and do art projects together, like we used to. Have exciting sex! Go out to dinner! Work on our house! A glorious montage of images of the two of us enacting some lame romantic comedy flowed through my head. My home life will be so totally awesome now that the new me has risen like a phoenix from the ashes of last year's self! And this morning in the shower, I did the work montage. Great scenes of me...typing really energetically. My job does not lend itself to good montages, it turns out. But still, it was very inspiring. And yet, somehow, sitting at my desk, the slug feeling is strong in this one. Maybe it's the fact that until my minions finish data collection on the current project, the only tasks available to me are really unappealing. I could read my grad student's thesis. Um, yeah, not really interested. I could work on a revision of a grant that has been rejected twice, and will never, ever be funded. Um. I don't know...not feelin' it.

Okay, I understand that I can't go from total slug to amazing powerhouse just by fiat. I should approach my resurrection as though I am an athlete, training for something. Something grueling and extremely unpleasant. (Which is why I'm NOT an athlete, cause who wants to do grueling and unpleasant things all the time?) I managed to do SOME work today, and if I can go home and do SOMETHING other than watching TV, I'll call that progress.


  1. My prescription? One thing a day, for a week. Then the next week, two things per day. And so on. You have to build up a new tolerance for good, productive days, I think.

  2. Exactly what Jen said. You CAN do it! ;)

  3. I'd call that progress too! You did go to work, you did some work, and you did some thing. =) Horray, go celebrate! =)

  4. Oh, those montages... Sometimes they actually make it worse. Feeling sluggy is okay, Bunny. You're going to get to where you want to be, you will. It may take some sputtering and some time, but you're intelligent AND hard working (hello, Ms. Keyote and Award Nominee!), and you've already accomplished some pretty impressive things. Be gentle with yourself, dude. I am a firm believer in doing *one* chore a day, however you define it. Just do it.

    Wanna know my lame trick? When I feel all out of sorts, unmotivated, and overwhelmed? I make a list of all of the crap that needs to be addressed/done. And then I divide that into three lists:
    1)Shit I can do right now.
    2)Shit I can do, but will take some time legwork and time.
    3)Shit that will never change, so I should just let it go. For now.

    For me it helps to see it all concrete and operationalized and far less nebulous. Sometimes just ordering it all up gives me a little anxiety release.

    Anyway, you are stronger than you think, and more brilliant than you're giving yourself credit for. You can manage this, lady.

  5. Well, of course the montage didn't work! You didn't have the right music. You need something from between 1985 and 1988, with a lot of cheesy synthesizers.

    I agree with Trinity--you're stronger than you think.

    And if you're managing to do things like you described below (keynote speaker, award nominee), I would bet that you in reality are less sluggish than you feel. Which is not to belittle the feeling--I am there myself and it does feel like trying to emerge from something--but all I'm trying to say is, don't beat yourself up if it seems to take a long time. This is for two reasons:

    1. It's supposed to take a long time. Be gentle with yourself.

    2. I'd be willing to bet you're getting more done than you think you are, even right now.

  6. I would say "baby steps" but naturally there's no getting away from the connotations of that analogy. I think any progress is good progress. Even if it involves sitting on the couch and watching television, and NOT beating yourself up for it. I also think you're right about the athletic schedule. Also the reason I'm not an athlete. But maybe the regimen by which the couch potato gets slowly fitter? The one that helps the phoenix scrape back the ash, ruffle feathers and take a few hops?

    I'm not sure how to get there from here either. And I really do mind the lethargy, because sometimes it's just depressing. But it's especially hard to light any kind of fire when you're in a treading water mode (waiting to get the baby thing restarted, husband away, waiting for your minions to get the goods). It WILL pass. It will. It will.

  7. I usually need some motivation to get anything done. The easiest way to get motivated to clean house? Invite someone over :). Easiest way to make sure I complete a task? Tell DH what I'm planning on doing. Just having someone else knowing what I'm supposed to be accomplishing helps.
    But hey, I consider doing SOMETHING every day a success! Gotta start somewhere, right?

  8. Could you start a new project? Maybe a review article on something you've always been really interested in but never really delved into? Or start a different grant proposal?
    That's what I am thinking of doing instead of my stale, stacked up work.
    Oooh, I know. When I don't want to do anything else, I try to teach myself a new statistical analysis. It involves problem solving, which is fun, and it feels like you are doing something useful, but you don't actually have to think about much.

    LOVE 80's music-accompanied film montages of accomplishment! Particularly ones of a young couple renovating an entire house in 2 minutes. The girl in those scenes always has a bandanna tied around her head-- maybe that will help??? (I've tried it, and it doesn't work for me, but maybe for you...)

  9. teeny tiny steps are a good way to begin. Rome wasn't built in a day was it? (How many other cliched comments can I stuff in here..)
    I feel like i'm in a similar place to you emotionally now and have no idea how to get out of it... I keep waiting for something big to happen or some amazing surge of energy to give me the motivation to create this fabulous life I know I am probably capable of. But it doesn't come, and I guess thats why just taking tiny steps in the right direction will have to do. You will get there, without a doubt you will. Yes you WILL.