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    Sobriquet 39.22

    Friday, February 22, 2008
    I'm posting today's entry in the afternoon for two reasons: A) I have company coming over tonight, so I am not sure I will have much time--if any--to write anything later; and B) I am fighting the urge to nap.

    The latter issue, actually, has been bothering me lately. I have always enjoyed my naps, which until lately had almost exclusively been a night-owl's way to stay up late while having to get up early for work or school. Recently, though, I have started napping out of boredom which, if I am not mistaken, is often a sign of depression. I can't say that I am particularly melancholy, having maintained a sense of fulfillment in both my academic and personal lives for some time now. Still, I am troubled by my use of sleeping as a pastime. Granted, there is not a whole lot to do in the particular region of New York I currently call home, but I am disappointed in myself for having gotten into such a negative habit. I mean, many people, when depressed or sad, turn to sleep as an escape hatch from a stressful life, but it strikes me as something altogether unhealthy when not in that context (though, even in such a context, I would imagine it mightn't be regarded as all that positive of a thing to do). Sure, it can be relaxing to close one's eyes and sometimes even nap a bit when sleepiness is not really a factor--like at the beach, for instance. But to paradoxically resort to sleep out of restlessness strikes me as a symptom of a particularly poor approach to dealing with ennui.

    In previous posts, I mentioned the loneliness and isolation I often feel working on such a solitary project and I suspect some of sleep's appeal stems from my struggles with solipsism, but I hesitate to place an unfair amount of the blame on external factors. I am certain that, among other things, I have found napping to be a convenient means of procrastinating. I mean, one can always say "oh, hey, I had better get sleep out of my system so I can work on X-Y-Z without fatigue dragging me down."

    If anything, I suppose I have found something out about myself that I will want to change. I do not want to waste my life; I will have to find newer, healthier ways to fill my days. I will need to improve the quality of my downtime with something other than the crossword puzzles and naps I have been turning to...if only for my own mental health. I am wondering about possibly joining a gym. Again, I do not want to blame grad school or my dissertation for this peculiar development. This habit must be my own doing; it has to be a result of my own acquiescence and apathy, so it will have to be something I address as my own responsibility to change.

    Not that an extra nap here and there has really been much of a problem. I mean, I have managed to work on the dissertation, teach several classes, maintain a social life, and take care of various other responsibilities. I just don't want "not much of a problem" to become "a problem."

    At any rate, I am going to take a walk now, get some fresh air, and possibly check out the local gym (since I cannot afford a good treadmill, I reason, perhaps I should sweat all over someone else's). From what I hear, regular exercise improves the mood, energizes the individual, and can help one maintain focus...all of which seem like pretty solid benefits for a dissertationing fella like myself. Oh, and the weight loss and other health benefits seem pretty cool, too.

    So, I have gotten my work done for today and, again, have been surprised by how much I underlined. I am still quite nervous about this chapter and future chapters on Coetzee's other work, but I figure I will just have to press ahead, reminding myself that I have thirty solid pages down. Not that past work guarantees facility in future work, but it can at least provide a sense of being on one's way when struggling...

    Also, I may not write anything until Sunday because I have people visiting me this weekend, which may limit my time on the internet. I will, however, assign the same amount of reading I have been doing each day for both tomorrow and Sunday, aiming to finish rereading The Master of Petersburg by weekend's end.

    For tomorrow: See above.

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  1. I think the exercise is a good idea. It'll probably help regulate your sleep patterns, so yay for that. Having weekend visitors is also good for your general well-being, as socialization is good for the psyche. Keep your chin up, dude...all will be well. :)

    By Blogger minxy on 22 February, 2008
  2. I agree, when I get sleepy from a slow day at work, the best thing is to take a quick walk. :)

    I'm sure you'll be feeling better after this weekend too.

    Besides, it's the end of winter and the most depressing time of the year, give yourself a chance. :)

    By Anonymous LG on 22 February, 2008

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