There Are Things I Plan to Do Soon. Really Soon. Thoughts on Inertia, Endless Lists, and Perpetual Possibility.

February 1, 2010

It’s week five of the quarter. Mid-term. And it feels as though the quarter has barely begun. My lists have sprouted sub-lists and I’m adding to them faster than I can cross things off even when I try the strategy of adding things I’ve already done so I can have the satisfaction of lining them out. The speed of a quarter is both blessing and curse. A blessing because no matter how challenging a course may be (or how much work I have to do) it will soon be over. Quarters are definitely finite. They are a curse because keeping up and getting things done can seem impossibly daunting, especially midway through when nothing much has come to fruition and there is still so much to be done.

Some students are bothered less by this than others. School and its work are secondary. Primary is socialization and having fun with friends and doing just enough work to get by. They would get a different lecture from me. The students I’m thinking about right now are the ones who are procrastinating self-care. They’re putting off eating right, exercising, getting together with friends, making time to have a bit of fun. They are driven to get it all done and get it all done really, really well. They are so deeply immersed in school that everything else becomes secondary.

The brevity of a quarter makes it difficult for these folks to get involved too. As the quarter begins, their intentions are often good, but, hey, there’s plenty of time and it’s smart to see what’s going to be required by your classes first, find out how much “spare” time you’ll have after you calendar (Note the nifty use of a noun as a verb—this is the kind of experimentation that amuses wordfreaks like me and drives other people crazy. I have changed it several times, but I am leaving it because I want to.) school and work and family or whatever else it is that needs to be done.

Then it’s week two and three and four and you’re just getting into the rhythm of things with your life organized around an ever-shifting series of ongoing demands that are the same but different every term. And whammo! Here you are; it’s mid-term and you still haven’t joined that club or gotten together with a group that sounds interesting if only you had the time and you’re still eating fast food or the easiest thing you can scrounge up and there hasn’t been time to walk or go to the gym or whatever. But there will be. Soon.

But it’s mid-term. The middle of it all. WTF time has arrived. Pressure is on to make sure everything is moving along because this fast train is already halfway there when it seems as though the trip has barely begun. No space to take on anything new. Not right now. And wouldn’t it be better to wait for a fresh start anyway? Of course. Possibility is perpetual when you’re in school. There’s always next quarter. And the cycle will start again.

What small step(s) could you take to take better care of yourself this quarter?

If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call “failure” is not the falling down, but the staying down.
• Mary Pickford


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