Friday, August 14, 2009

Ambition Suckers

It’s been relatively quiet these days, and I’m enjoying it. Aside from the good news that at least 1, and possibly 2 of my stories will be published, not much is happening. School starts again in about 3 weeks, which I find a bit staggering. 2009 is almost over.

In the beginning of July, I was brimming over with ambition. I did a tremendous amount of writing, cleaned out my entire house, and re-landscaped much of my yard. Then I went off to London, and since I’ve come back, I’ve had little or no ambition at all. Some days I am downright useless; other days I can muster up enough discipline to do a few things, but I really keep it to a minimum. Even getting up in the morning to meditate is becoming a chore.

Fluctuating levels of ambition can be problematic. When you’re feeling very ambitious, you take on a lot of extra things that you could smack yourself in the head for at a later, less ambitious time. I find that my ambition goes in cycles, but it’s difficult to really pinpoint the ups and downs. The ambition-affecting variables I’ve come up with so far are:

Weather: a cool, breezy sunny Fall-like day does wonders for my ambition. Even if I’m tired, my brain will not let me go to sleep on such perfect days. By contrast—humid and rainy days tend to suck the life out of me. Rain itself isn’t always an ambition killer, but it is if the air feels thick and disgusting.

Hormones: Trying to fight hormonal ups and downs is like throwing sand into the ocean. While I’m not one for wild mood swings, I do get the “nesting” instinct at certain times that makes me want to organize the fuck out of everything. During one of those times I actually spent 4 hours ironing clothes. In July, I cleaned out every closet in my house. In one day.

Allergies : I get allergy shots, and they help tremendously. It’s been over a year since I’ve dealt with chest pain, wheezing, and eyes that are swollen shut. However, the shots don’t get rid of allergic reactions altogether. I may not be sneezing, but my head feels like it weighs about 100 pounds. This is a big problem in the morning, when my allergies are at their worst from the fans going all night. I have to set my alarm two hours in advance of the time I need to wake up, because I can guarantee that an allergy-induced stupor will keep me from responding the alarm the first 6 times it goes off.

Amount of draining human contact: My interactions with people are pretty neutral most days. However, there are those days when you encounter the draining situations. The co-worker who makes mountains out of molehills, the acquaintance who is a dear but you try to avoid conversations with because they can talk for decades without taking a breath, etc., etc. Meditation usually helps me avoid the draining part of human interactions, but it’s not a cure-all. Lately there seem to be a few more of these than usual. While these are by no means fatal, they take a lot more energy to deal with.

Usually it’s not just one of these things, but some combination of elements that makes me give up on the to-do list and go back to bed. But on the positive side, I’ve also realized that I should go with the flow rather than try to fight it. Get as much done as possible during ambitious phases, and expect to be lazing around watching GH reruns and drinking beer during less ambitious phases. If something really needs to be done when ambition is lacking, it should be the only thing on the list. On the East Coast we live in a fast-paced culture that expects us to be doing something productive at all times. If anything, we don’t allow ourselves enough down-time. That’s some self-imposed guilt that needs to be ditched...

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