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Archive for March, 2009

The Small Stuff

I can’t help but feel like the older I get, the more neurotic I get.

You would think that I would have been crazy as a child, and in my teen years. My life had plenty of upheaval–I moved ten times in ten years, and my mom divorced twice–but my memory of my childhood is that I was mostly calm and content. I was shy and chubby and awkward, but I had my books. I felt like your typical emo outcast in high school, but I had some wonderful friends. Overall, I wouldn’t say that I was excessively or abnormally needy. (Although, for those of you who knew me then, feel free to correct me!)

With my (in-progress) transition to adulthood, however, it seems like my neediness and selfishness and particular-ness are reaching new heights.

I feel like I require a great deal more downtime now than I did as a kid. When I began high school, I had school every day, choir practice twice a week, dance class, and homework every night. Now, I feel disgruntled when I have to attend a lunch meeting, instead of taking my normal lunch hour, and god forbid I have to work late one evening. I shake my fist at the sky and think, universe, how dare you force me to deviate from my routine? And then I wonder, what precisely in my life is so stressful that I need so much downtime to recover from it?

I have a desire for the details in my life to be precise. I take great joy in making sure that my computer’s clock precisely matches the official time. I actually have Time.Gov on my bookmarks toolbar. When I’m in the car, my car’s clock needs to match exactly the time they say it is on WFPL. I will immediately adjust my car’s clock while driving if it does not match, because clearly, having my car’s clock synchronized with WFPL’s clock is about fourteen times more important than having my hands positioned on the steering wheel at 10 and 2.

I check the weather and the news several times a day, and I feel unsettled when I don’t have a basic grasp on what both are doing. Do I really need to know how much the DOW has dropped today? Of course not. I don’t even have any investments! But it certainly feels like I need to know.

Truthfully, I pride myself on being self-aware. I can’t help but constantly analyze my thoughts, feelings, and actions to try and figure out why they exist the way that they do. Most of the time, I feel like I have a good handle on why I behave the way I behave, but I can’t figure out why my level of selfish I-NEED-IT-THIS-WAY-AND-NOW-PLEASE-AND-THANK-YOU has increased so dramatically.

Is it just a downward spiral from here on out? Because shit, if I am this particular and needy now, at the age of 26, what am I going to be like at the age of 50? Instead of just feeling grumpy when I go to Target and they have some easter candy out, but not my favorite Bunny Basket Eggs, am I going to deem it necessary that I hold the Target employees hostage until they provide me with the requested Bunny Basket Eggs? I mean, hell, I hope to have kids one day, and if there is one thing that will screw up your schedule, it is kids.

Or is it that the absence of any real stress and responsibility in my life is creating this sense of urgency? I am rarely wronged. I am lucky enough to currently live rent-free, which allows me to do things like occasionally travel and save my extra money. I am lucky enough to have a job. Barack Obama is the president. Is the lack of major stress in my life causing me to look for stress in the little things? Maybe I need to go back to school, just so I have actual deadlines to worry about.

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Thought Process

The idea comes from somewhere–it exists on a speck of dust that falls into my ear, brain cells make a chance connection with one another, or maybe somebody carelessly scoops up the idea and forcibly shoves it into my mind’s unwilling arms.

If my mind doesn’t drop it, my mind runs with it. The idea is taken apart and put back together again, then taken apart, and put back together a different way, then smashed to pieces again so that each individual part of the idea can be carefully considered. Each part of the idea can be analyzed, and before I know it, I can’t remember which piece belonged where or which piece is a reality and which piece is my mind’s twisted invention.

My mind tumbles all the pieces, trying to shape and soften them. They go round and round, without stopping. The pieces break. The pieces change. My mind tries to put them back together again, because my mind loves to put together separates in order to make a single whole. The pieces have changed so much they don’t fit together anymore; my mind can’t accept that. Pieces are meant to be put together into a whole. Just because the idea had to be taken apart in order to understand it all doesn’t mean the idea is now allowed to go its separate ways. These pieces are nothing alone; they must be made cohesive. My mind insists on this.

My mind slams the mixed-up pieces together. What about this? What about this? What about this? What about this? Sometimes they fit together again, and sometimes they don’t.

The only way to get my mind to leave the idea alone is to get rid of it. Move it from my brain into some words, lots of words preferably, and the more commas the better. And the idea had better be given its grammatical marching orders before bedtime, because my mind will not allow for sleep until the idea is first put to bed.

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Ode to Illness

Really, it was only a matter of time. Who goes the rest of their life without ever getting sick? No one’s immune system is all that powerful, no matter how many vegetables one eats. So, I am sick, probably just with an annoying cold.

Being sick has been a nice change of pace. Something about my body not working right considerably alters my inner dialogue about what I am supposed to be doing at any given time.

Sickness gives me an excuse to lie on the couch and watch The Millionaire Matchmaker (oh, those wacky douchebags!) without shame or guilt. Whereas, most of the time, when I am lying on the couch watching The Millionaire Matchmaker, I berate myself internally, because is that how I want to spend my short life? Really?

Sickness gives me the excuse to not exercise. I have fallen off the exercise train recently, and when I’m sick, instead of saying to myself, “Damn, you are lazy and should be exercising,” I can say to myself, “Your body needs to rest. You don’t have to exercise.”

Those who know me are likely familiar with the fact that I tend to overthink everything in life. Just the tiniest bit. When sick, there is absolutely no thinking required other than, “Hmmm, I think I will lie on the couch. I think I will drink this water. I think I will now watch Wonderfalls in its entirety.”

I get really whiny when I am sick, and not just about feeling bad. I get whiny about every minor perceived inconvenience. I can’t figure out if everything generally feels more magnified in its ability to bother me, or if I’m letting loose the whiny-ness that is within me all the time. Sickness, like natural disasters or severely delayed flights, gives me a reason to feel bad. Whereas, most of the time, when I feel bad, it is without any sort of legitimate reason.

Yesterday, I told my sister that I was feeling a lot worse than I had been the day before. She said, “That sucks.” I said, “Not really.”

I suppose there is a down side or two. Like being unable to sleep because your face is inexplicably sweating so much it is sticking to your pillowcase. Or having to blow your nose constantly, and regularly getting snot in your mouth. Or the worst, when my nose gets chapped from all the tissues with which it comes into contact. And of course, it would be inconvenient if there were something remarkable going on that would be disrupted by sickness, or if it were a particularly serious illness.

I recognized that this is a disgustingly privileged viewpoint to have, but mild sickness, every once in a while? Is kind of refreshing.

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