I expected it. I wasn’t suprised by it when it came. And I did my best to stave it off, to moderate success. It is the overwhelming sense of responsibility for all the things on my to-do list. It’s a gigantic list, which is by design, for there are gobs of things I want to get done with my time this summer, yet its size intimidates me, almost to the point of immobility. Fortunately I have a few tricks to keep my mind on the little trees, instead of focusing on the forest and wanting to turn around and run.
First trick: create a list of the day’s tasks as soon as I get up. If I keep this list to a respectable size, I’ll feel the satisfaction of getting things done, an important feedback mechinism. Trick number two: get myself out of the house. It’s not so much cabin fever that I’m trying to avoid as much as it is the temptation of procrastination, online or off. I get sucked in, and twenty minutes later I’m considering unplugging the Internet from the wall. Today’s outdoors activities included a morning jog and a trip to the grocery for dinner. And that’s the third trick: schedule an evening activity to look forward to. I’ll be more inclined to avoid dawdling if I know I have to be ready to get cooking by, say, 4:00.
Hmm. A regimented daily schedule. Several outdoor activites. An evening event. It’s like I sent myself to summer camp. Only it’s for one person and there are fewer games of Capture the Flag. I can even stage my own panty raid.
If it sounds like time off is more stressful than an actual job, that may be true. But I knew that going in, and one of my goals this summer is to calm the fuck down about it. I forced myself some outside reading time today, and I plan to force myself some more of it tomorrow. Soon I expect I won’t even have to make it part of the official schedule.
Point is, today was a good day. Did some cleaning, some unpacking, some exercising, some computer work, and finally, some cooking. As I promised Sarah when we first discussed plan, there’d be dinners a-plenty. Today she came home to the smells of an Escabeche chicken dish cooking on the grill, along with some Gulf Coast-style rice dish with plantains. (Both from our favorite Mexican cookbook.) Tangy with vinegar, garlic and tomatoes. Perfect for a summer evening.