Last week, on Monday night, I came home after being gone from my house for 14 hours (which were my Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays all semester long) the first thing I did walking into the house was to glower at Jake, aka a$$hole dog, because of the constant phone calls and emails that he'd gotten back out again. He had been running back and forth for a while between our house and then neighbor's house, being spoiled rotten because they had just had to put their dog down and really love Jake.
He quickly tired of that because it neither aggravated me nor cost me money and headed back into the neighborhood again. All my neighbors love Jake. Of course they do They don't spend as much money and time on him as we have, trying to contain him and his destruction.
I looked at my watch as I set down my briefcase: 9:15 PM. I looked around. There was nothing to eat. "I'm going to bed," I said, and I know I said it flatly because I felt flat.
Sweet Baboo followed after he put the dogs to bed.
"I miss the way you used to be," he sighed, "optimistic and happy."
"Yeah, well, I miss me too," I muttered. Then I went to sleep, until 3:30 am, when my largest cat woke me, as she does every morning.
It doesn't seem like things used to affect me this strongly. My outlook this semester became completely skewed. Everything was a reflection of how crappy the world is. What was once minor setbacks or glitches now seem like proof that everything sucks. Flat tire? Suck. Cable company runaround? Suck. Naughty dog? Suck.
I never thought a single semester would take so much out of me, but I never took on so much before. And, my best means of coping was thwarted by a bitter, wet winter.
And as the semester dragged on and I exhausted my coping skills, my optimism and happiness accounts were drained. My normal self sees everything as a sign that things will always work out, and that people are generally decent. I felt a constant sense of dread and anger that I couldn't shake
I knew things were bad when I found myself wanting to slap the crap out of every cheerful person I saw.
Now the semester is over I've had some free time. I'm coming back, slowly. The world looks a little prettier today. The apple tree, wisteria, and lilacs are blooming. Just yesterday, I told Baboo in the car excitedly, I love running down our street in the dark because of all the motion detector lights that go off as I go by. It's like they'll all doing the 'wave', just for me.
That's the old me talking. The old me is what gets me through another Ironman or ultra-marathon when I've run the numbers and the numbers say that I won't make it. It's an important part of who I am, this unrealistic belief that things will always work out, people are not intrinsically bad, and for every start line, there is a finish line and I will cross it.
I have to be careful, though. It doesn't take much to make me feel tired and discouraged, all over again. It's like I've had an ultra marathon of stress, and I need time to recover. I need some serious down time for that to happen.
I need some good long, runs, too. Then I'll feel better.