… to do some reading, some thinking, some writing. I have a study full of books upstairs, some of which I purchased (secondhand, usually, because I can’t afford new ones) with great hope and eagerness, planning to read them through and through and make sense of every sentence, every paragraph, every innuendo.
Then I got busy, as I usually do, on things that are more everyday, more pressing. And the glee dispersed in the face of necessity.
Now when I go into my study, the books are still waiting… along with all the collected hope and un-vented eagerness… and I usually move the books around a bit, think about which one I should start first… then I turn around and come back downstairs to sit at the dining room table and post a little something to this blog.
Tonight is slated to be a quiet night, with my spouse out at event till the wee hours of the morning, and a fresh box of Benadryl awaiting my taking of two capsules later, before I go to sleep. I have a weird allergy thing going on, and my eyes have been swollen and itchy for weeks. I had thought it was related to something I ate or I may have gotten in my eyes, but it’s hung on, and after a trip to the doctor, I was told to just take allergy medicine and not put anything on my face or around my eyes. I’m not even supposed to use eye drops, even though they do give me some relief.
I’m also exhausted, which makes the prospect of a quiet evening and the Benadryl even more appealing. Those pills knock me out — at least, they did three years ago, when I’d take some now and then for allergies. In fact, that’s why I stopped taking them — they knocked me out and made me feel like a different person. Being as tired as I am after that business trip, I figure I already feel like a different person, so it won’t hurt to add a pharmaceutical aspect to it — and if I’m lucky, I’ll be able to sleep for more than the seven hours I got last night (which was a record for this week).
But I’m hungry, too. I just had a steak burrito, and that wasn’t enough. So, I put another burrito in the oven to bake for the next hour. I know I should be headed to bed soon, but I am more interested in spending a little time by myself, doing things that interest me… like reading some of what I’ve collected.
This return to reading is a new thing for me, actually. I had pretty much given up on trying to read, since it was so hard for me, for so long. I mean, nothing was making sense. Nothing was sinking in. Nothing stayed in my mind for long, and I couldn’t maintain my attention long enough for anything to register. It was crazy. Just crazy. And utterly debilitating — because all my life, I had been a reader. Even when I was a kid with TBI issues who had no idea that I was reading things wrong and that I wasn’t actually getting anything that I was reading, I was still a reader.
After I fell in 2004, I almost immediately had trouble reading the professional materials I needed to read for my daily work. I couldn’t concentrate long enough to study the things I needed to study, and to retain those well enough to get into my head and work them into my experience. And this went on for years… it was a learned thing, too — the less you practice something, the harder it becomes, and by not working at reading, I was actually holding myself back and making it harder and harder for me to read.
Self-fulfilling prophecy and all that.
But over the past several years, I’ve been actively working at my reading – and my writing – and now I’m at a point where I actually look forward to reading things again. Now my problem is that there is so MUCH that I want to read, there is simply no way I can “catch up” with everything I’ve been meaning to read. And thinking about my situation in terms of having “fallen behind” in my reading…. well, that’s not helpful at all. Truly, it is not.
So, how canI think about it? How can I get my focus back and apply it and not overwhelm myself with all my different options? Well, I can think about what is most important to me right here, right now — I have plenty of issues, God knows, so there is no lack of subjects I have a keen and burning interest in. My issues run the full gamut from physical to emotional to logistical to cognitive, and they ebb and flow, rise and fall, so there’s always something interesting going on with me that I can explore and examine. I’m a walking science experiment, to tell the truth, and when I look at my life through the lens of science (instead of my standard-issue paranoia), I can come up with some pretty interesting things to study and think and talk about. And I have collected so many books over the past years, that the chances are good that I have some material in my study that I can pull out to help inform my thoughts and my path through life.
That path is a winding one, and it takes me here and there. I tend to get drawn in by shiny objects, which then lead me in different directions – often completely different from where I originally intended to go. It can get out of hand, needless to say, and I have to stay pretty vigilant about those kinds of things and keep things simple. And I also have to make an effort to keep my focus pretty narrow from the get-go, so that I can zero in on ideas I want to explore in-depth.
But it can be hard. Because it’s all connected, and my associating brain loves to jump from one idea to the next to the next to the next, and I tend to not make much progress as a result. At least, progress down one single path. I need to be able to shut out non-essentials and say “no thank you” to the shiny objects that pop up in front of me, so I can just finish One Thing.
Oh, speaking of finishing One Thing… my burrito is now ready. The oven just beeped at me. So I’ll sign off for now and spend some time reading. I’ll report back later… if I remember