Thursday, November 16, 2006

Putting my house in order

So obviously it's not the easiest time for me right now. Things are just a little bit of a mess. What's most difficult is the ambiguity of the situation. The uncertainty. And yet I really strongly feel that I need to live with ambiguity for at least a little while. I've been finding myself dragged down into something just beginning to approach depression - sleeping a lot, not wanting to go for my runs, feeling unmotivated and lethargic. This is a particular fear of mine. (My mother, a single mother, essentially went to bed for six months when I was eight; that has always been a concrete image of a situation I never want to find myself in.) So I'm aware that I need to make some changes so that I don't go that route, and so that I can start building a slightly different life from the one I've had these last few years.

What is making me happy right now? My students, most of all. I continue to just adore them. That Wednesday night theory class I'm always on about is getting better and better, the more comfortable we all get with each other. Last night none of us wanted to leave.

And I have all sorts of wee collaborations going on with people, workwise - imagining and proposing two exciting conference panels, having the reading duo, talking with colleagues about pedagogy, etc., etc. I like this kind of academic collaboration a lot.

That's what's making me happy. But it's all about work. I need to figure out a way to be something other than my work. I have always so grateful to have a very rich, full life outside of academia, as I've written in the context of the now-defunct Activity. What happened to that? In one sense, it's great that I have this work stuff to focus my energy on, since the relationship stuff is so hard right now. But it sure can't be all.

What's missing is joy (outside the great student moments, which sometimes feel a little joyful) - I've been feeling that lack of pure pleasure for a while now. How can I bring that back into my life so that I have the energy to re-imagine things?
  • I need to see my friends more, first of all. Living away from Home City last year essentially functioned as a break in my many friendships there. Friendship habits were broken, you know? This year, I am in Home City for three days a week. But because my schedule and situation in Uni City are weird and grueling, as I've mentioned before, I get to Home City and all I want to do is cocoon. I want to just curl up on the couch and hang out with the dog. The result is that I am not seeing friends nearly enough, and this is time when they are vital; they are a lifeline to that elusive joy.
  • I should have more phone talking...somewhere in the course of the last few years, phone talking has mostly gone out the window with friends. I miss its doesn't do it.
  • I need to eat more exciting food...go out for fun dinners more, or have little cheese parties like I did a few weeks ago. This does connect me very concretely to joy.
  • I need something for my body, besides running. I have an interest in dance - The Activity was a dance form. I will be in Home City one more day a week starting in January...and I see that there is a ballet class I can take at Extremely Good Place on that extra day. Although it is not my first choice of a style to learn, I am interested in ballet. And I think that what's important is to be using my body in the way that I am used to with dance. My body misses that.

That will be a fine start, I think.


Mimi said...

I applaud!

Sarah said...

I know all about cocooning. I eventually forced myself to plan dinner/drinks with friends on one night of the weekend. After about a month, I began to look forward to the night out more than the night in. In fact, I have a welcome night out tomorrow!

MaggieMay said...

You're so wise, Hilaire. Especially when I am going through a rough time, I find it very difficult to reach out to friends-- and that's when I need them the most.

Hilaire said...

Sarah and Maggie - what *is* it about that retreat, even when we know it's not the best thing for us? Why is it so compelling?

Mireille - thanks!