You know things are bad when the puppy has peed on your comforter by 5 AM, the only thing you’ve eaten in over 24 hours has been three pretzels, and a paper due later in the day for family therapy is only half done. But you live across the street from a dry cleaner, and you can probably stand to lose a few pounds, and you know that there’s always the option to say “Fuck This Shit I’m Out,” and move to Thailand, so it’s not all bad.
That was the early February slump. The world went quiet, misty, grey-blue, and dark just as Tim Burton would devise it, and so too did our spirits. I had more work to do than I could manage, and I couldn’t bring myself to look at the calendar, the to-do list, the schedule, my email, or my course syllabi. The thought of another night coming home at 11:00 PM was too much to bear, and even more so was the thought of another day without sunshine, or another evening full of nothing but correcting the puppy’s mischievous behavior. I was just so exhausted. The only thing I felt I had the energy to do was put my head down on my stacks of neon yellow, pink, and blue-streaked papers, and cry until I made a watercolor.
When I’m feeling low, I remember that I’m a grown woman and can do whatever I want, and I let myself feel just that. Sometimes it’s the only thing I want to do. But when I’m feeling defeated, actually defeated by work, by school, by deadlines, by the socially constructed and self-imposed ideal of busy — I just laugh. Sometimes it’s the only sensible thing to do.
The upshot to being busy and stressed is that the days fly by, and there is always the promise of an easeful, fun weekend with Alex, boozy peanut butter and chocolate milkshakes, the outdoors, greasy diner food, a Harry Potter moving-watching marathon with a crazy puppy that sometimes sleeps, and these days, SUNSHINE. Two days of solid goodness (and whatever the opposite of bullshit is), and that is really not all bad.
Now that the slump seems to be over, and the sun has made an appearance several times, and there are only three more papers left to write, things are really looking up for me.
If you’re wondering about Alex, however, it’s a different story: things always look up for him. I presume this is largely because he’s got stress management, doing hard things, being good at doing hard things, and not totally sucking at life down to a science. Over the past several weeks his new boss has been requesting new features he’d like to see created and pushed out for the complicated back-end of their website, all of which, unbeknownst to him, had already been thought of and completed by Alex. See what I mean? Down to a science. In an environment where being right and doing things right — all the time — are of utmost importance, this particular trait reflects well on his image. The features he created were just some of the production goals he has met that he is hopeful will help to get him promoted this year, a task that is notoriously difficult to accomplish at his place of employment. I’m incredibly proud of him.
We’re wrapping up February with something like the flu, and a semi-celebration of my birthday on Thursday, and really not much else noteworthy other than the usual, like wrangling a puppy, eating burgers, and potentially doing something outdoors. Perhaps we’ll start officially planning and choosing concrete dates for our European vacation, or start planning a trip for our dating anniversary, or maybe, because that all involves doing things, we’ll just call it good for the month.
I hope your February has been well, and that unlike Alex (and all employees that can’t simply not do their jobs just because it’s president’s day), you get to enjoy a day a nice day off today.
I also hope it wasn’t the team you love that gave up the ball to the Patriots at the goal line and lost the super bowl.
See you soon.