“There’s a very fine line betwen a groove and rut,” sang Christine Lavin, and and I’ve fallen into what feels like a groove, but I’ve basically stripped my life down in the past few weeks to work, rest, and feeding myself. The side work has slowed down, and I’m finding my time away from the office enjoyable again. I’m putting myself to bed at a reasonable hour, although still not habitualizing the Darth Vader machine the way I need to.
My focus at work has been unsually keen. I’m not ready to credit the new office, but I need to be honest and say that certain truths about the new space have worked better for my writing focus. Other circumstances make a difference too, like having reliable wheels and not taking an hour to get from home to work, or two hours to get back home. I’m having most of my breakfasts and dinners at home (I’m getting home early enough because I haven’t been stopping at cafes to do the side work), so I’m mostly letting myself eat out for lunch. Not having to deal with all that lunch prep every week makes a difference too.
This whole routine of waking, having breakfast, going to the office, working an honest day, then coming home for dinner and downtime feels like what it’s supposed to be like for a single, middle-aged guy. Sometimes I run errands after dinner, or go to a flick, or get groceries. It feels like life. If I made a little more money I would almost call this contentment.
Can’t stay like this, though. I’m about to try and add something to my evenings, and because I don’t make a little more money, I do have to ramp up some of that side work. And getting exercise hasn’t been a priority lately, and I have to work that back in. I don’t see how I can add any of that stuff back in without throwing me out of this groove.
One way I think I can do it is to make more strategic use of my vacation days. I get twenty-two days a year (or thereabouts) and can carry over fourteen or fifteen days from year to year. Last year I only took as many days as I had to not to lose any to that carryover limit, and maybe that’s not the best way to use them. This is a new thing for me, these vacations days not dictated by the academic calendar, and my approach so far has been that having them is more valuable to me than using them, kind of like this little stash of giftcards I have for lean times when I could really use a dinner out. Using a day today might be nice, but it feels nicer knowing I can.
Today is a state holiday, and I never get enough stuff done on holidays, so I’m taking the morning half of my day off tomorrow. It feels good not feeling pressured to do everything on the to-do list, knowing I have a little bit of overflow tomorrow. This might be the new strategy for those vacation days. Just add a half day to each state holiday or three-day weekend.
Friday Five from here.
What’s something you’d like to increase the volume of?
My fridge has been feeling a bit cramped lately, and it’s plenty big enough. Still, it’s very old and I think I need to start with a fresh one, one with a bit more freezer space.
Who would you like to mute?
I can’t say the answer that comes first to mind because for Lent I’m sort of not bad-mouthing this person. I mean, I’m doing something more than not bad-mouthing the person, but bad-mouthing definitely works against the goal (if there’s actually a goal) I seek. I’ve already kind of blown it and am assigning myself a few makeup days after Easter to make up for the slippage. You know, like snow days in those parts of the continental US where snow days exist. So maybe I’ll say I’d like to mute myself.
When was your body (or part of your body) most recently scanned?
I had some blood work done last week, so my blood was scanned, and that’s a much nicer answer than what I would have had to say before the blood work, because I recently had to mail something in for colon cancer screening. That test came back negative. Yay. I guess before that it was at the airport coming home from Boston.
What part of the upcoming weekend would you like to skip?
I’m getting to this after the weekend in question, so the part I would have said is the time set aside for some house chores. I didn’t do the chores anyway. I guess I did skip that portion of the weekend.
Whose input could you really use right now?
Ah, geez. I had lunch with a former colleague yesterday, and without bringing up something that’s been weighing me down, I managed to get a little bit of input anyway, and it really helped. If I felt ready to talk about it with anyone, I suppose it would have been her. I mean, I could definitely use some input on this certain social situation (yeah , the situation is a woman) but I think talking about it now would be creating a situation that might not actually be a situation. Better to keep it as hypothetical as I can for now. I guess.