I’ve been feeling incredibly spacey and dreamy as of late. It’s been an odd sensation, because there just hasn’t been a time or a reason in my life to be that in the last few years. I’ve been focused and intent on all things, and there was no space for being slow, or day dreaming.
I’m not sure if this is because I’m tired, I’m smitten, or because I’m still sort of in shock about being in Chicago and being so damn happy. (I mean really, it’s disgusting how content and happy I am with life right now.) Or perhaps a combination of all of those things. I’m still having a rough time adjusting to my “new” schedule… You’d think after almost two months I’d be in the swing of things, but I am not! Part of it, I think is the constant stimulus and need for processing. I’m nearly always surrounded by people, whether it’s students at work, or randos on the train home. But there are always people, there is always noise, there is always SOMETHING vying for my attention. And for me, that’s a lot. I get easily overwhelmed by sensory input. In fact, the only time I am ever alone anymore, is when I’m at home! (I am increasingly happy about my decision to live by myself for this reason alone.) Anyway, all of that is exhausting to me, and takes it’s toll physically and mentally. I also have not allowed myself a moment of down time. I get up in the morning and go, go, go all day. My time on the train is spent reading, I work straight through my lunch (because I have no other option right now), I go straight to the gym after work (while reading on the train again!), then I come home and eat dinner while studioing it up. I didn’t even realized I was doing that to myself until just the other day, when I was like… “Well no wonder you’re burned out by the time you get into the studio at night!” So I’ve started to allow myself to watch a bit of TV or something equally inane while I eat dinner and decompress from my 12 hour day. I definitely need that, and so far it seems to be helping. Even though it cuts in to studio time, I think it evens itself out in the long run. I’m better able to focus, and am more productive in, say the two hours I have after I eat dinner and watch PowerPuff girls for 45 minutes. Where as I used to walk in my front door, drop my things in the studio and fire up my computer while I went and warmed up dinner, then ate and tried to work simultaneously. I would always get distracted, or need to get up and get water, or whatever… So even though I may have gotten an extra hour or two in the studio that way, I wasn’t actually accomplishing anything. And while I’ve been maintaining my typical Sunday schedule of grocery shopping, cooking, chores, and laundry, Friday nights and Saturdays have increasingly been given over to a wonderful gent, with whom I’m quite smitten. So while that is technically down time or time off from the grind of work/career and responsibilities, our time together is exhausting in it’s own way (in the best of ways, of course).
Basically there just need to be more hours in the day, and I need to up my caffeine intake.
Seriously though, I’ve always prided myself on my ability to time manage and prioritize, and I’m starting to feel as though I’m not doing so well at those things right now, despite the fact that nearly every minute of my time is planned and accounted for. My anxiety about not spending enough time in the studio is growing. At best I get 2.5 hours in there most nights of the week (well, Monday through Thursday). I get about 1.5 hours in studio related reading done on the train every day. And occasionally I’ll get 4 or 5 hours on a Friday night, and maybe a few more on a Sunday after my chores are done. That’s barely 20 hours a week on arting. I feel like that’s a really low number. I’m just terrified that my practice is slowly going to wither away as my life is taken up by my job and my other responsibilities and relationships. That’s my biggest fear right now… Again, though, I have to remind myself that I can’t do everything all at once. That it is actually OK to do things slowly, and at what ever pace I can manage. Otherwise the anxiety starts to win out. It hits me the worst when I have to run errands around town. Chicago is such a freaking huge city, and I use public transit to get everywhere, and so sometimes it just takes a really fucking long time to get to where you’re going (Not that owning a car would make it any faster though). Like, planning and executing a trip to Lowes is it’s own special kind of time and energy suck. It just takes a lot of effort. So there are times where I have to accept the fact that I’ll be on a bus/train for almost three hours just to get to where I’m going and back. And I feel like that is lost time, because what am I going to do on the train for 90 minutes?! I could read, but I still feel unproductive! I need to recondition my brain to understand that this is how life works in the city, and that I’m not really wasting time, and that everything will be OK… I just need to get better at managing when I go where. So I’m not just going out to Lowes for one single thing, or just returning library books, but rather I’m putting errands together, doing things on the way, or need to get multiple things in one far-flung location. It will be ok.
I just have to keep telling myself that. And maybe make some art about it.