Have you ever just wasted a whole month? I was going to say “burned” a whole month, but that particular verb implies that you took some kind of action. Burning something means you found a match, kindling, accelerant, whatever. No, I mean wasted, like leaving a cheesecake out in the sun until it grows black fuzz. It’s a much more passive destruction.
Well, I did just that. I didn’t do a goddamn thing for the later part of December, and January so far. I could count on one hand the number of times I picked up a guitar. I haven’t written anything (maybe (hopefully?) you noticed). I didn’t really do anything around the house, didn’t tackle the massive project backlog. Didn’t work a lot, either, though that was more a function of my customer pretty much shutting down at the end of the year, and my own company closing for the week between the holidays. I worked out regularly, at least, so at least my body didn’t completely gelatinize like my mind did. Otherwise I killed time watching a lot of dumb YouTube videos (I really like this guy who rebuilds watches, and of course Rick Shiels), some shows (Jim Halpert as Jack Ryan? seems weird but it works1), and sleeping a bit more than usual. I ate and drank more than was strictly necessary, too. The Levis don’t lie.
Depression? I don’t think so. I’ve fought that beast in the past, and this wasn’t the same. That old battle featured a bunch of dark and intrusive thoughts attacking from my flank which, mercifully, didn’t manifest this time. Anhedonia gets close to describing it, but there were moments of joy, too. I wasn’t sad! It was really just a long bout of slothfulness. I was lazy, and not especially unhappy about it. If you know me at all, you know that’s an absolutely alien thing. I don’t think there’s been a period like that in any of my previous 56.01 years.
It’s especially terrible to waste a month when the following month is not your own. Road warrior mode starts now. I mean that fairly literally2, as I am writing this 37,000 feet over Albany3 on my way to Boston. I’m traveling the next three weeks straight, five of the next seven, and six of the next eleven. I’ve mentioned the India trip before, and there will be lots more to say about that as it gets closer. There are also trips to the east coast to visit our headquarters, my customers, and, blissfully, we’ll do spring break in Puerto Rico to round out this stretch. All in, it’ll be over 25,000 miles in planes.
The thing I need to get a handle on is this: I knew I was going to be gone, and I had all this stuff to do, and I just…didn’t. Why? It feels like a very distant cousin of the mind imp who, the night before a big exam, tells you you’d be better off sleeping than cramming. But that analogy doesn’t have a satisfying fit and finish; for starters, that imp is usually right. I need to do some excavation around this. My entire adult life has been a series of TODO lists to create, prioritize, and attack, and at the least opportune time, I just said “fuck it.”
Extreme procrastination, maybe. Mañana. Indolence. Acute Bartlebyism. Naming things is a well-known path for me to be able to get a handle on any given issue. Language helps to frame my thinking. Or maybe thinking about that is a time-wasting alternative to doing the more painful work of digging down deep to find what’s really wrong.
if you can ignore Clancy’s reactionary, xenophobic, militaristic, imperialst politics that infuse every arc ↩︎
only fairly literally, since I’m in the air, not on a road, and I’m not actually waging war ↩︎
I started writing it up there, but by the time I edit and publish, I’ll be closer to sea level, and it may be days from now, because waves hands see above ↩︎