to do

It is quiet at work, unusually and blessedly, and I am sitting here alone in the proofreader’s office with my vitamins all lined up in front of me. I pulled out my vitamins after spending a good 20 minutes with a notebook and a pen, writing down all my big goals, and then all my little goals, and then breaking up my big goals into little goals, and then breaking up the whole giant list of goals into bite-sized chunks to fill up pages and pages that say 9/25 and 9/26 and 9/27, et cetera, et cetera at the top. If I am not careful, I am going to schedule my whole year and that sounds kind of pretty damn okay to me, right now.

The whole thing is weird, and maybe a little obsessive, and it is the most comforting thing I could have possibly done for myself. It also means, if you will note, that I have my vitamins all sitting in a row in front of me. I have already swallowed the B vitamins, and am about to embark on my nasty-ass chewable multivitamins and in that way I will have accomplished something today, and lately, what I really, really need is the feeling that I have accomplished something, anything at all, because the last thing I need to do is sink down into a Mire of Despair and become a Lump of Tragedy.

I’ve done it before; I do it a lot. I get sad. I give up a little. I
wallow. I give more and more ground each day, shifting over on the
couch every night to leave a little more room for the big black cloud
that puts its feet on my coffee table and spits popcorn kernels onto my
rug and then I’m off the couch and down the hall and in my bed and not
getting up, never getting up again, no not ever. I feel that coming on,
and I don’t want to go there. I do not even want to visit, and if the
chamber of commerce doesn’t stop sending me packets of brochures, I’m
going to start getting really pissed off.

Exercise helps. Part of my big list of lists and items and action items
to be checked off on my big list is writing down my schedule of
activities–what I’m doing, where I’m doing it. Sublists include music
to put on the iPod, things to pack in my gym bag and fitness goals over
all of which hangs a faint aura of hope with the slightest tinny patina
of desperation.

Control. It’s all about control, obviously, and me feeling out of it. I
dislike, immensely, to see it reflected in my weight–I had hoped very
much that I would have left that behind entirely. Not just because oh,
hooray, it’s a miracle and I never have to worry about weight again!
Which is of course a terrible lie, because I had hoped to have
figured out how to stop that automatic reflection–that mirror my
eating patterns hold up to the state of my life. Things are good–I eat
okay! Things are bad, I eat a Snickers Dark ice cream bar. Of course,
with the surgery on my side, it is not a pint of ice cream and a bag of
Doritos dipped in cream cheese and also when I’m done I feel as
physically wretched as I do emotionally wretched.

It is not every time, and it is not all the time, and it is not an
automatic reach-for-the-food situation. Every time I recognize that I
feel bad, and yet I appear to not be eating, I am thrilled, and
congratulate myself for once again Breaking Free of the Chains That
Bound Me. And yet, here is an ice cream bar on Tuesday, and there is a
bag of Sun Chips on Sunday, and the pattern stutters on and my weight
creeps up and hovers and I start feeling hopeless and stupid. And then,
I start writing things down.

That’s never really worked, though. It has felt good, to write down
everything I need to do and every way I need to be, and then it has
become overwhelming and impossible and ridiculous, thinking that I
could possibly accomplish any of this, ever, and who am I trying to
fool? As if I were planning on leaving my notebook lying around
casually for a passerby to pick up, and flip through, and go hmm, yes.
The clearly attractive and intelligent person who wrote out these lists
of goals is a very ambitious and organized person with whom I should
like to have a lot of unselfish sex! Maybe I can hope that a little,
but still give myself a damn break, and maybe the benefit of the doubt.

This time, it feels a little bit more workable. Maybe because writing
down “run” gives me something to look forward to, this time, instead of
something to dread. I’ve found I like to run; the fact that it makes me
feel good, better, best about myself is something that’s actually
managed to stick in my head. Having gotten so far in my couch to 5K
program previously makes me feel like sure as hell, I can do that
again. And as it turns out, thinking that you can accomplish just one
thing on your list makes you think that maybe the other things on there
are tackle-able, and worth doing, and might make you feel just as good.

Which is why I made my list, and made a note to pack my gym bag, and
then pulled out my vitamins and lined them up in front of me. They’re
all gone, now, and tomorrow I’m going for a run.

6 Replies to “to do”

  1. Lists are very therapeutic. Though I have to admit that I have been getting down the last week or so, and I have no reason for it, things are really good in my life. It could be the weather, or just anxiety and so much change, but from the outside people probably think I am living a pretty cool life and I should be very happy. All I really want to do is sleep. I made a list last week and found it so overwhelming that I couldn’t even finish it. I will try again. Don’t worry, be happy; cute song, way easier said than done! Everyone keeps saying that being active will make a busy life with lots of change and stress, easier to handle, but it is still really hard just to get out of bed and pack that gym bag! You seem to be doing great keep up the hard work, and I will try to do the same. I like that you are looking ahead at what you know could happen (sleepy, lazy, depression) and then making an effort to not go there. I think I need to start looking at things like that. Next time I see myself procrastinating or canceling something on my schedule, I will have to ask myself “you should just do this, what are you going to do instead? Veg in front of the TV all evening?”

  2. Sigh.

    It’s getting a little repetitive, me reading your posts and commenting, “Me too, sister.” But we seem to eerily go through these cycles right around the same times.

    I hope it doesn’t disappoint you to hear that someone who lost a lot of weight over seven years ago (and for the most part successfully kept it off) still goes through these periods.

    I do get down, for various and sundry reasons, and it most definitely is reflected in my weight. I’m up about ten pounds since late July and I’m at a point where I can’t tell whether the blues came from the weight gain or the weight gain came from the blues.

    I’m very much going through a spell of “I don’t want to get out of bed and deal with life” right now. But I have to fight through it, it’s the only option, I refuse anything else, and the first thing I need to do is stop my whining and get my lazy ass out the door for a run. That usually gets me going again.

    This is it, it’s my life. And it’s really not so bad when I look at the big picture, you know? There is so much good to focus on. But I tend to get mired down and miss the big picture. So that’s something I need to get better at working on too.

    So, ok, get that gym bag packed and I’ll pull out my running shoes and we’ll work on turning this around. Deal?

  3. I think you’re dead on about the C25K. One of the best things about it is that you know it works, so if you’re sidelined with an injury or stop running for a while, you can always use it as a baseline to start running again. That has definitely been the case for me when I’ve been hurt, and it’s nice to know that I can go back to, say, week 3 or 4 after a 3 month layoff and complete that workout. So that’s cool.

  4. I’m wondering WTF is going on? I also have sleepy/lazy/depressed/why bother syndrome. Is it the full moon? SAD (seasonal affective disorder), biorhythms, overwork/overwhelmed? Is the government doing a sonar project on humans, too? I just want to crawl into a heap and pull the covers up to my ears and just ‘be.’

    I’m struggling, forcing myself to keep commitments, both work, personal, and relationally. It’s almost as if I am mentally putting one plodding foot in front of the other.

    I’d like it to stop now, please. Thank you.

    Hearing others are in this mode makes it marginally better. *pout*


  5. Anne,
    Who was this Four Minute Man!?
    I’m gonna blind him with my laser pointer and beat him senseless with my Dansko Mary-Janes!

  6. Man! we could all use a happy hour together! Too bad we are all over, or I would say hey lets all go out for drinks tomorrow night! It must be SAD we have lost alot of sunlight in the last month!

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