I've been spending quite a bit of time on facebook because I am "writing an essay and working on a presentation" which, these days, translates into five minutes of looking at something that is not academic work alternating with five minutes of looking at the academic work. The non-academic things are usually facebook and other people's blogs and my e-mail.
The start of this year has been marked by lassitude on my part and I was rather worried about it until I realised that this has been true of every early January I can think of going as far back as 1997. I think that at this point it would make sense for me to start expecting mental haziness in the New Year. The same goes for being disorganised. The same for New Year's resolutions.
Last year I resolved to lose all of the weight I'd gained while taking Seroquel, to graduate from college and to apply to grad school. I managed to keep each one of them, losing more than fifty pounds to be a healthy 140lbs (I'm 5'6"), graduated with honours and not only applied to grad school but gone to grad school. But I didn't get off to a good start with any of that during January - instead, I sat around spiritually if not physically, in my pajamas and read novels. I have been doing exactly the same thing this year. Now I just need to drag myself away from the duvet and hot water bottles and get back into real life. It will be a relief.
I have two resolutions for this year - one, to find a job that will let me stay here, which means it has to be a proper job (I've never had a proper job before - always art things that have a grand total of two or three women working for them except for the one time I worked retail at a local kitchen store with a grand total of twelve, including two men) and two, to make my life have more of the things I like in it. That is ill-expressed but I'm not quite sure how to put it.
For years now I have been concentrating on very immediate and necessary things, i.e. not killing myself, which moved on to making sure I slept and ate, then making sure that I got dressed every day, then making sure that I had enough social interaction, and then trying to help myself feel better than horrible, then trying to get to a point where I could say that I felt well instead of just 'not miserable'....and so on. That has been my focus since late February of 2007, which is when I started to lose my mind the most recent and most horrible time. By now, I have felt well without extraordinary interruption since September of 2008, I have my BA, I'll soon enough have an MSc and I feel like myself and likely to stay well for a significant period of time (for me, that means two or more years in the future.) The upshot of this is that I have started thinking more about what I want my life to be like because it seems worth trying to make myself happy rather than just trying to make sure I'm not miserable.
I am not a philosopher with an analytic bias for nothing, so I have been scratching out this train of thought in my journal and come to the conclusion that what I want out of life, what would make me happy to have in my life are more books, being around art (of any discipline) and people who make it (and also occasionally getting to help with it or make my own), public speaking (I don't know why I like it so much, it's a strange thing for a person as shy as I am, but I do), and love, in its many forms. Not all of these things can be forced, least of all the last on the list, but when I have to make a decision, I can try always to make the decision that most favours the possibility of these outcomes (and again, it's statements like these that make me realise that philosophy is always with me).
Oh bother. I meant this to be a shorter post because that essay and presentation I'm "working" on do actually have to be finished tonight. Anyhow, I was going to gracefully drag this back around to how I realised that I'm entirely out of it every New Year. I realised it while playing on facebook, of all things. I don't know how many of you that read this are on facebook but if you are then you are bound to have seen the application that will make a picture out of your status updates for the last year. Looking back at what I had up there (see pseudonymous but otherwise authentic version below), and looking back at the beginning of this blog* reminded me that I felt every bit as confused this time last year.
*This blog is now a year and seven days old! There will be a 'first year in review' at some point.