And the next thing is . . .

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Good Morning from the corner of my office,

It was another eventful and jam-packed day yesterday, but all-in-all, pretty productive. I am really somewhat amazed that I was still plugging along at 8:00 p.m. last night because I did not get to bed the previous night. I have been revising and organizing the tenure stuff. I am feeling better, but I still got myself into trouble a bit today when I responded in less than ideal form. I think there have been moments over the last couple weeks where Lydia has probably been more lucid than I. That is a rather frightening thing. I did get the revision of the tenure statement into the department committee today and I am feeling at least a bit less anxious than I was.

Yesterday morning I went to get coffee at Starbucks, and having actually bought it I realized on the way back to the office I forgot to put cream in it. Then I got headed back into class. That was busy and now 24 hours later a full cup of coffee is still on my desk and I have not even touched it. Not all that long ago, such an occurrence would be unfathomable. However, contrary to what I have been accused as the initial picture in the blog depicts, I have more power over caffeine than it has over me. I can already see the look of disbelief from many, and one in particular, but it is true. I have drank a lot less coffee this semester than perhaps any other semester I have been at Bloomsburg. I think it is because I have been “shamed” into taking a bit better care of myself. If it were not for this tenure business, I think I would be a paragon of healthy living this semester. I do have to admit there have been some insanely long hours, and while I have cut out most processed sugar and gluten (resulting in a loss of 25 pounds in about two months), the amount or portion size that I have consumed during this same time has been substantially less. I think it a combination of those things that has caused me to get back to the weight (give or take a few pounds) I was when I got out of the hospital in August of 2012, and I would add that I was much less healthy than I am now. While I am generally happy with my weight at the moment, I still feel that there is a lot more I could do to look better than I do. I still feel “dumpy” and not very fit. I think I need to get back to the gym. I think it will probably “weight” until the end of the semester, but that is something that should help me.

I have continued to clean around the house and that is a good thing. I have gotten more organized and, I know some of you might not think I needed to do so, but I did. This is one of the things that sort of stumps me. I have always been pretty organized and orderly, but I have seemed to get even more compulsive about some of it. It does not matter whether it is my office or my house. I have to have things in place or I cannot function. In fact, clutter and disorganization actually paralyzes me. I cannot function reasonably in any manner.

As we are finishing up the semester, I am trying to look ahead to the next couple of weeks or really up to the 15th of May when I have some mouth surgery. I need to get a number of things off my plate including a trip to Wisconsin and back. I am still trying to figure out how and where to schedule that. I have a tentative plan, but need to examine some other pieces to this puzzle. Hence my title today . . . how do we decide priorities? This is always a bigger issue that one might think. It is a bit of a struggle when so many vie for one’s time; it is always a struggle when I feel such a sense of commitment to the things I have given my word to do. It is an issue when their timing and our own timing does not match up. It is an issue when emotions get in the way, particularly when how those emotions expressed are so different from how one might express his or her own. It is an issue when mixed messages are seemingly given, or are they mistakenly received? It is such an interesting dilemma and,then again, does it need to be a dilemma? Seems I have more questions than answers, but that is usually how my life goes? I am always wondering the “whys?” of things.

One might ask me why the “why” about the why was so important to me (do you have that straight?). Well, I think it is because I was never sure what was next. I was never sure what was certain or what could be counted on. That questioning certainly has some consequences. What is causing me to think about it now is that I am faced daily with one who, by her own admission, believes in no one, trusts nothing, and believes there that everything is conditional or there is a price tag. Fiercely independent on one hand, and then not so much on the other, though such an admission is probably not possible. I am looking at my own self in real life and it frustrates me beyond anything I have ever felt. Have I really been this difficult for people? If so, let me begin with a simple, but profound “I am sorry.”. What is more interesting is the yet, once again, seeming oxymoronic ability to say that one aspect of that belief system is unconditional while being profoundly conditional in every other aspect of their life. I am a person who works logically and appreciates some sense of predictability. I guess being consistently unpredictable is a form of predictability, but it is testing me. I am becoming quite aware of an aside comment that was made at one point. It was a sort of “an after” or a throw away comment, and I remember my answer precisely. Now I think I know why the question was asked, or more accurately, the statement was made. I also understand more fully why such a consequence or result might be a fundamental part of one’s outlook, but it is such a sad way to consider life. It might be the very reason why I have been brought into their life. In spite of everything that has occurred, I am not everyone. I am certainly quite different when it comes seeing things in a more complex and holistic manner.

That being said, I am also human and there are times I will respond more conditionally than what I actually believe or think. There are times I will get frustrated, confounded, confused, or simply fail. I will fall short of what I wish I could do. On the other hand, as noted in one of the text epistles composed, I am not a mind reader nor do I believe one should have to be. Part of that issue is being 50 and soon to be 22. At times, I am so used to the 50 year old that when the almost 22 year old comes out I am caught off guard. I need to remember that being chronologically what or who one is – well, it is appropriate. It should be expected. There is one of my many failings. I think God was probably correct in making sure I did not have children. I am not sure I would have survived it all. As I noted in an earlier blog post, what I have learned as of late I have little to no control, and while I do not like that word in this context, it is the word I used earlier, so I have using it here. Perhaps more appropriately what I am once again reminded of is when we allow people entre’ into our lives, we change our lives. That is not a bad thing, but it is a learning process. It is a negotiation of sorts, but it is something that requires communication. It is interesting that I have a doctoral degree in it, but I seem to fail miserably at times. It merely makes me want to work more carefully and intentionally. It makes me want to demonstrate, illustrate, show, that the answer I gave to the off-handed comment, which I am sure was intentional (and probably planned) and significant, is true. If I am going to be able to accomplish this, there is a certainly a sort of fissiparous process that will need to occur, but that is my task. It is what happens when one is in the presence of “la hermosa peligrosa”. It is the next thing.

Thanks for reading.

Dr. Martin

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