July 2, 2014

The Day After

I hate this feeling. This "I am hung over" and "Oh, I feel so crappy today" feeling. Yep, I am reeling from that "day after" binge feeling, you know the one, the feeling that weighs on your mind and makes you ask the question "why?" Why [fill in the blank with whatever you did the previous day]?

I think it has to be the adrenaline rush let-down. I mean, I crammed the past four days to finish my COM 652 paper. I did it, and I think the results are good. I actually like the topic, and while I didn't enjoy having to write 20 summaries of scholarly articles, I did learn a lot from that process.

Last night, I emailed my paper off to my
professor, and then I watched "Stargate: SG-1" on Netflix. I haven't watched that series in a long time, and I wanted to watch something mindless, if you know what I mean. I didn't want to sit down to a two-hour movie, and I didn't want to watch anything sad or depressing. SG-1 fit the bill for the evening (my son commented on my binge watching Facebook post last night -- he is binge watching too -- the acorn doesn't fall far from the tree). I ended up watching one episode only before turning in at a relatively decent time -- 11:30 pm. No, I didn't binge last night -- I thought about it -- but wiser heads prevailed and I decided a good night's rest was more important (good girl, good girl!)

Even though I went to bed at a decent time last night, still I woke up exhausted. I know that writing academic level papers is hard work. I really do enjoy writing, I mean, look at how much I write on this blog. An aside - someday I am going to figure out how many pages I have written since I started this blog (in 2004). Just a curious factoid for me. Writing is cathartic. I find great joy in writing about my thoughts and feelings. I write every single morning, well most mornings. Writing relaxes me, and I love to "bloviate" -- to quote Bill O' Rielly -- to spill whatever random thoughts (mindless at times, too) come out of this head of mine. I know that what I write has no value to anyone. In fact, most of what I put on this blog is simply my thoughts and feelings, expressed in the moment, and without much forethought to them.

In English teaching lingo, it is called free writing. It is a process where you sit down and write for 5-10 minutes without stopping. You just write whatever pops into your head. I teach my students to free write before they start their academic papers. I find that free writing helps to get the linguistic fluids flowing. I find that I am more able to think clearly, to write persuasively, and to connect key thoughts when I free write before my actual graded work.

This blog functions that way, though in free writing you don't usually edit your work (typos and such). I do proof and edit my work (that is my Type-A perfectionist brain), and since this blog is online, I do want to make sure whatever I write is done properly (well-written, proper grammar, etc.).

So back to feeling hung over from my binge proposal project...

I know you will think this is absolutely crazy, but...I actually felt bad that I didn't have anything to write/work on today (ducking for cover!) Yes, it is true!! I am such a glutton for punishment. I thought this morning (briefly and in between feeling like a truck had run over me) that I was sorry my proposal was finished. Yesterday, I was crying over it not being completed, and today, I am longing for the intensity of that work! AGH!

Second aside: Heather Hamilton-Stilwell where are you?

My good friend, Heather, is a doctoral student too. She is a full-time professor at California Baptist University, and is researching children's health issues and the media. She is a mom of three adorable little ones, a five year old girl and two three-year-old twins. Her oldest has special needs, fairly significant medical issues. Life is a fragile balance for her family, meeting the needs of all the kids, a loving husband, and keeping up with a demanding school/work schedule.

She is my ROCK when it comes to writing papers. I have never met anyone who can write scholarly academic worthy papers and manage her workload. She amazes me every single day, and I thank God that He gave her to me as a friend and colleague.

Heather understands my need for "overdoing things." She has the same driven need to accomplish that I do. We are both "overachievers" and we work hard to accomplish what seems to many to be impossible things. We get our MOJO from being overloaded, and while we don't always like to be pushed to the wire, we actually do function best when our world is about to crash in on us.

I am not sure why we are this way, but it seems like God created some of us to be able to function in high gear WHEN things get really, really hot.

My Mom noted this about me the other day. I kept saying "I have got to get work done on this paper" and then I would waste the day away on Facebook, shopping or just lazing about. She said to me, "You always do your best work at night" and I thought, "Yes, you are correct!" I do my work, almost all my work at night. Although when I am crunched on time like I was this weekend, I work non-stop. For example, I worked from 12-9 last evening, taking very few breaks throughout the day. Nine hours of writing is a lot to do, but I did it, and the paper was finished on time.

I guess I should be comfortable in my skin by now. I have been this way since I was a child. I am not a morning person. I don't get ramped up to do work until about 10 am. I like to take siestas in the afternoon. Once 6 pm comes around, my second wind kicks in and then I can accomplish a lot in 5-6 hours.

My Mom is opposite of me. She is up at the crack of dawn and works until 4-5 and then is done for the day. My Dad worked his whole life (raised on a farm) from dawn to dusk. He was a professional Engineer for 50 years so he got used to working normal hours and then working on special projects at home during the evening. He often is up late on the computer. My son is exactly like me. He works into the wee hours of the morning and accomplishes an amazing amount of work. Of course, he sleeps all day (I never was allowed to do that). He says he wants to get a night job since that is when he is most productive.

Third aside: So as I sit here, feeling hung over from my binge writing, and thinking that I just want to take the day off today. Funny thing is that I have to start interviewing people today. UGH! I would much rather just write than have face-to-face interviews with people. Interviewing is akin to standing up in public and extemporaneously giving a speech. I am dreading the activity!

Personal Reflection

As I consider my life today, the one thing that sticks with me is the fact that I am uniquely made by God. I am not like anyone I know (well, except for Heather and my son). I am unique, and God has created me this way for a purpose. I know that for many people the very thought of school papers intimidates them. For some, it is actually a point of fear and loathing. But for me, it is a process that liberates my mind, and frees me to imagine new things, new thoughts, new ideas. It is an intellectual pursuit that provides for a deep need inside of me. I understand this is one of the reasons why the Lord has chosen for me to get a PhD. Not everyone can do what I am doing. Not everyone wants to do what I am doing, LOL! God knows that to accomplish this level of academic achievement, you have to have the right sort of temperament and combination of skill and ability. It is not that I am better than other people or smarter than other people (oh, my goodness no!) It is that I have that unique combination of skill and ability (fueled by His GRACE) and I actually enjoy this kind of work. God knows me well, and He knows what I can and cannot do. I rest in this knowledge, even if I feel I am overwhelmed and taking on too many responsibilities/projects.

Today I thank the Lord for helping me complete my project proposal. I thank Him for His GRACE because I know without it, I wouldn't have finished on time. I also thank Him for His blessing on my life. I struggle so much with fear and doubt -- fear about all sorts of things and doubt about His provision for my life. Yet, each new day I am reminded of His presence in my life. He is here with me now, and He loves me so completely. I marvel at my accomplishments so far, and I rest in His sufficiency. He is able to accomplish His will through my life. I yield all to Him, and I trust in Him. May God receive all praise, all honor, and all glory this day! Amen!!

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