Monday, July 4, 2005

Running in Place

Alice could never quite make out, in thinking it over afterwards, how it all began: all she remembers is, that they were running hand in hand, and the Queen went so fast that it was all she could do to keep up with her: and still the Queen kept crying, "Faster! Faster!" but Alice felt she could not go faster, though she had no breath left to say so...

[a page later:]

"Well, in our country," said Alice, still panting a little, "you'd generally get to somewhere else--if you ran very fast for a long time as we've been doing."

"A slow sort of country!" said the Queen.  "Now here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.  If you want to get somwhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that."

 --Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass

Back in eighth grade, I had two social studies teachers, a semester for each. One, Miss Yennock, taught us (or at least me!) bits of the Declaration of Independence, and the Preamble to the U.S. Constitution. The other, Mr. Farrell, is mostly memorable for his sense of humor, including his frequent exhortation to us to "Polka in place!"  

this cat doesn't worry about its obligations. Well, I never really learned the polka, but it seems I've done a lot of "polka in place" this year.  I had such big plans for the months after graduation from University of Phoenix!  According to my original schedule, by now I should have studied for and passed the CPA exam, and gotten a good job as a result.  I should have finished my final edit of Heirs of Mâvarin, and sent it out to a publisher, and maybe an agent. I should have put a dent in the rewrite of Mages of Mâvarin, and cleaned the house, and lost some weight, and written something for the Project Quantum Leap zine The Observer.

Okay, so I have gotten the good job, and made a little progress on the books, and thrown away several boxes of paper, and just this past week made a start on the losing of weight.  But really, it doesn't feel like enough.  Not nearly.  How can I claim to be a novelist if I haven't submitted either book anywhere in a decade?  How can I hope to pass the CPA exam if I let the "book larnin'" atrophy instead of studying, and never schedule myself for the exam?  How can I write for The Observer if I'm ashamed to even open the editor's email?  How can I finish uploading Father Smith's Camino pilgrimage pictures (which I promised to do two weeks ago) when I don't work on them?  How can I hope to get ANY of this stuff done, when my job, my blogging, time with John and brief workouts mean that I get only four to six hours of sleep a night, without taking on that other stuff?

I know what you're going to say. I'm expecting too much of myself.  I'm taking on too many obligations, and overscheduling myself.  I need to prioritize, and let some stuff go.  Yes, well, that's easier said than done!  The job is a given, and the blogging is what I want to do, and helping me build a body of work. I love my husband, and the novels are more important to me than anything else I do, and the church needs me to do what I do for it.  So what can I drop?  The stuff I love, the stuff that keeps me more or less sane?  The stuff people are counting on me to do?  The novels?  Another hour of sleep a night?  As it is, I haven't written a Quantum Leap article in a year or two.  And largely because of the job, I've completely given up on the CPA thing for now, until the rest of my life is under control.  But will it ever be?

I've got to cut back on something somewhere, somehow.

tonight's results Tonight, my literal running in place took up nearly all of my shortest workout yet.  I tore myself away from John's SG-1 DVD (PAL format, playable only on a computer) to reach the gym only about 40 minutes before closing time.  First I tried out a cross-trainer, a machine John often uses for over an hour at a time to burn 1500 calories.  I lasted about two minutes.  Then I went back to the treadmill. I think I've reached the point at which continuous improvement (yes, a know that's managementese; forgive me!) is no longer to be expected.  My stats hardly budged from those of last night.  Worse, I spent about twenty of the thirty minutes in significant back pain, and I don't even know why.

Yes, I know what people will say to this, too.  I should take better care of myself.  I should sleep more, and stretch before the workout, and do my back exercises for the first time in years, and not overdo the weights or twist in odd positions at the wrong moments.

Yeah, I should.  Perhaps I will.  I'll try, anyway!


P.S.  Oh, by the way, here's a cat picture, taken earlier today at the local Ace Hardware.  This is for you, Sarah and Sara and Carly!


ryanagi said...

Ha! Up to date...but I am going to go back and read the Mall entry again later. Happy 4th!

olddog299 said...

As one who suffers from severe back pain from time to time you have my sincere sympathy. Assuming you started the workout with the back pain. If, on t'other hand as you allude to above, you failed to stretch, you are just asking for trouble. So next time, polka in place, do some stretches at the computer and in the car and THEN get on the treadmill to loosen up. Once you are good and loose - that's the time for strength training. Not before.

Time management is a problem for all of us. No easy answer. Nike's advice is probably the best - Just Do It.


daephene said...

Well, cats can't read.  :)  

You're still better at time management than I am.  And so far it doesn't seem like Mages needs that much work! And if your job doesn't insist that you take the exam in a certain time frame, put it off until after you've submitted the novel again.  That way you're not deciding between editing and studying with the time you have.  After all, you wanted to be a writer before you wanted to be an accountant.

deabvt said...

Neat kitty Pic!