Wildfire

It’s amazing how much disorder can spread. Now, don’t get me wrong: I don’t have any life-threatening issues or sick family members. I’m in a stable relationship, I’m happy, I love my job. But even for normal, happy, shining people, we still have our ups and downs. Sometimes, it just takes a little match to set the whole thing ablaze.

Two months ago, I started a new job. A new, incredibly awesome job. And with the new job came new responsibilities, new things to learn, new things to read, new ways to behave. I was no longer the senior lab tech, I was now a humbled post-doc in training with lots and lots to learn. It has taken me some time to find the reigns, and I am still reaching. Whenever I would start to think I had a good grip, something would happen and I slip backward a little. But I was inching more and more closely to being able to handle it…

Mind you, two weekends ago, one of my best friends got married. When she got my RSVP, she called me up and asked if I’d like to read a scripture during the ceremony. Hello?! Of course I will do that.

So, to get to the wedding on the cheap, because I am still broke beyond all means and couldn’t afford the plane tickets at the time that they were <$600, I decided I’d drive from St Louis to Minneapolis. It was a hike, so I split it up- and I pretty much had to since I had surgeries on the Friday I was planning to leave. After work, I drove to my teammie Rachelle’s house in Iowa, where she put me up and entertained me for the evening, and then in the morning, I headed the rest of the way to Bloomington for my friend’s big day.

The wedding was a blast. It was an incredible honor, and to be a part of her and her new husband’s special day was an amazing treat. She looked like a princess, and I’ve never seen a couple more happy than they were. It was an absolutely beautiful day.

That night, I stayed with another friend in the Cities on Saturday night and headed back to St Louis on Sunday morning- it was a long-ass drive back- where my calorie consumption consisted of Monster Nitrous, popcorn, and candy bars. In fact, all weekend, I ate really crappy. And in the 50hrs I was away from St Louis, 22 hours were spent in the car. Yuck.

It took me a few days to find my groove once I returned, but to put it lightly- that week back was hell. My experiments were going haywire, and I couldn’t focus. Never mind that I couldn’t find the time to get in my workouts. It was hell. I was eating like crap (peanut butter and chocolate chips do not equal a well-balanced diet). I was making excuses. I was putting things off and losing my grip on my priorities.

The weekend following that hellacious week consisted of two days of rest and recoup- where I did laundry for the first time in weeks and I was actually able to get on my bike for more than 2hrs. Once I found my groove, I was (sort of) back in the game.

This week? I had a blast. I had a lot of meetings, have been able to actually get things done in the lab, and even made it to masters swim most mornings. Granted, getting home from work at 7pm makes me want to eat dinner instead of hop on the trainer, but I am going to try harder this week to make sure I’m either a) out the door by 5 so I can run/bike or b) get it done during the day (either post-swim or as a mid-afternoon break). And, of course, I am also getting rolling on two major projects, sifting through data on two older projects, and writing a grant that is due in a few months. So, anyone else want to strike a match for me?

I don’t really reflect on “Chi” or Feng Shui much (at all), and if you walked into my apartment and you were a natural energy believer, you’d probably croak. My bike trainer is always set up, smack dab in the center of my living room, and clothes are piled all over my bedroom. My mom would have a conniption. “This is not how I raised you!” I can hear it now… but I do feel better when there is order. I do feel a sense of relief when things are put away, there is cleared counter space and clear floors. I feel better when I look at the calendar and can cross everything off, when I am organized with my projects, and when my desk has less piles of journal papers because I have already put them into their respective binders in order to find them easier later. Anyway, there is definitely a balance in life when I can get on top of the pile of stuff that I need to do and beat my chest and yell “I have conquered you!”… if only for a brief moment. I’m still climbing to the top of the pile, but I’m getting closer… I can already see the crest.

And on that note, I thought I’d share with you this video of life in academia as a grad student. It cracks me up every time I watch it!

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9 thoughts on “Wildfire

  1. I totally understand this feeling of not necessarily BEING orderly, but NEEDING order. When I am super busy (like I am now) I find I actually am so much more effecient and get so much more done because I HAVE to. Now if I can just learn to transfer that efficiency to when I’m not busy…watch out! Hang in there…

  2. Did you ever notice how this feeling always seems to take hold of us right after the wacky holiday season? Every year, never fails!

    Hey at least you got the bike sitting on the trainer ready to roll – for the triathlete that is balance!

  3. Hillarious. I know how hard it is to move to a new place and take on a new position. It will take time, but you will feel like a native come spring. If I don’t see you, have a great trip!

  4. This actually brought back a lot of memories of my final days of school, and my first days of starting new jobs in new cities … and made me thankful life has stabilized a bit since then! That said, I still fall into the same trap of running myself ragged until I’m FORCED to rest, rather than being smart and proactive about seeking balance. Good job getting back in the saddle of caring for yourself—the worst is behind you!

  5. Oh girl tell me about it!!! I’ve got junk piled up to my ears from our construction project. My bike isn’t in the middle of the room, but it might as well be considering it is always in our kitchen 🙂 My mom said the same thing when she saw my house, she’s been trying to get over to get it cleaned up, but it takes time and I run out of it by the end of the day.
    I’m glad to see your getting your groove back. Trips
    like that can throw you way off and it’s just a matter of time before your ducks get back in a row. Good for you. Being an adult takes life to a whole other level…..

  6. I feel ya on the whole ‘life being all over the place’ thing. It’s hard to keep working out if you’re all over the place with trips and whatnot. I’m glad you’re gettin’ back into the swing of things again. PS being a grad student, also, I love that “Bad Project” video, sooo hilarious.

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