Schedules

I’ve been out of work for 2 days and I already miss a strict schedule. Days seem to last so long without 11 hours devoted to work/commuting! Yesterday seemed to last a week, and yet I did nearly nothing.

Not only that, but it’s messing up my blogging schedule! It’s funny, I seem to get more done when I have less time to do it. Otherwise, I just end up procrastinating. Like with blogging; if I have 15 minutes to blog I can write two posts and have them ready. If I have 15 hours to blog, I probably won’t end up writing anything at all.

Strange, strange. Why? I don’t like being a procrastinator. I’ve never liked summer, as a kid. It just feels like such a waste of time. And that sucks, because I spend so much time waiting for it.

I guess I just feed off structure. I’ll grow out of that, probably. After all, the world isn’t organized in little boxes, and time never follows the plan.

Where you from?: Conversation Starters

It’s the first day in a new class, or at a new job. You don’t know anybody, and have two choices: either hide in the back-left corner, take out your laptop, and pretend you can’t see or hear anyone, or strike up a conversation with someone nearby.

You know the class/job will likely be easier if you have someone to talk to. And look! There’s someone who doesn’t seem so loud or annoying. You start talking a bit, and it’s going well, but you realize you’re running out of things to say. You can only discuss classes and majors and previous jobs for so long, and you don’t know anything else about this person. Where’s the best place to go from here?

Place…that’s it!

It may sound lame, but asking where someone’s from is one of the oldest and best tricks in the book. No matter where they’re from, it can inform and further the conversation.

Are they from your hometown? What a coincidence! Ask about their high school experience, if they ever went to that great Indian restaurant, if they know so-and-so.

Are they from your home state? Great! You can talk about how you have/have not been to their town. You can talk about your ventures to the capital city, or the other big attractions. You can talk about how you’ve always wanted to go there.

Are they from a well-known place, like New York City? Now you can ask if it’s really like how it is in the movies. Is it as crowded/expensive? What stereotypes are true? You can ask this about really any place you don’t know well. They’re from England/Morocco/Alabama/Kuwait? What’s it like there? I’ve heard this, is that true? What’s the best part about it? This is a great way to learn about them and a new place at the same time.

Are they from a place you’ve never heard of? Like a strange farming town or a country you couldn’t point to on a map? Even better. Admit that you’ve never heard of it—they probably won’t be surprised that you haven’t—and ask questions.

The best thing about this question is that it’s easy and harmless. Plus, it gets turned back to you with no pressure. Someone will almost always ask the question back to you, but you have the answer prepared. You know where you’re from, and you know plenty about it.

Much like the “weather” conversation starter, this may seem obvious and maybe even cliché. But it’s a tool you can keep in your tool belt when conversation begins to run dry. You can always find another question to ask after you know where someone’s from.

However! This only really works with people you just met. Don’t ask it if you already know the answer! That would just be awkward. Good luck!

Wednesday

Wednesdays tend to be big procrastination days for me, mostly because it’s right in the thick of everything. Nothing is ever due on a Wednesday; I always have at least Thursday to get things done for work, and oftentimes the whole weekend to get things done for class.

I’ve always aspired to get things done early, and as I’ve gotten on in college I’ve gotten better at time management. But for a long time in high school I was the one staying up until 2 a.m. on a Sunday, writing a paper due in six hours.

I work best under a little pressure, and when something isn’t due for another few days I can’t help but push it off a bit—especially if I’ve already done something productive that day. Eh, I could be super on top of things, or I could do that tomorrow. Tomorrow’s good.

It also depends on how I’m feeling about things. If I’m in a good mood I tend to do better work, but because Wednesday is Wednesday and not Friday I’m rarely in a great mood. I’m just in a Wednesday sort of mood: mild and lazy.

As an introvert I usually have a few moments during every event when I wish it were over, if only so I could have a few minutes to myself, and work is no exception. Parties, school, work…it’s all socially and mentally and physically draining, no matter how fun it is.

Noel Coward once said, “Work is more fun than fun.” I totally buy it. I hate boring summer days spent wandering listlessly from television to video games to eating too much junk food. While it’s what I look forward to now and then, too much of it is, well, too much. Likewise, while I love travelling, the plane home is always a touch more sweet than it is bitter. Perhaps that’s due to my introversion, or my attempt to look at things positively, but also perhaps it’s due to a drive to return to work. We like to feel productive. We don’t like to feel like wasteful lumps.

Work is fun, fulfilling, and makes us feel full, but it’s only natural to want to procrastinate it. Especially on a Wednesday.

Days feel like hours, months feel like years

A teacher once told me that in high school, every class lasts forever, but the years fly by. It’s so true. Same thing happens in college—the weeks last a lifetime, but the semesters fall between your fingers like dropped coins. Coins worth $40,000, perhaps, but coins nonetheless.

And now—when it’s nighttime, it feels like the day flew by, but at work each hour lasts a week. And now—with less than a month left before my boyfriend returns from his semester in Mexico, each week feels like a month, and this last month feels like a year.

I try to tell myself to live in the moment. After all, life is like, 80% waiting. It’s just hard to live in the moment when the moments in the future and in the past seem so much better than the one I’m in now.

It’s sad that each night is joyful because it’s another day I can cross off on a calendar. But it’s also motivation to make the future better than it is now. To make the future’s grass the vibrant green I hope it will be.

Sometimes it feel like I’m passing through life on a subway, looking out the window. Like I’m going through it passively, doing what I’m meant to do, arriving on time, trying to interfere with the clockwork world as little as possible. I wish I tore through my days like a motorcycle slicing through the wind. I wish I devoured every second with insatiable hunger, but life isn’t like that.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how stories function, in preparation for my A-Z Challenge in April. Stories, by definition, have a beginning and an end. They are satisfying. Even stories that are unsatisfying are satisfying in how they leave you wanting more. Life isn’t like a story. Life doesn’t follow the rules of literature.

In life, people die in the middle of their plots. Plots begin and end without pomp and circumstance. Lives do the same. A life never ends with a marriage or a promotion or a vacation or a graduation, it just keeps on going, and going, and going, until a random moment in time when it doesn’t.

Life doesn’t follow a plot structure, and that’s why it’s often uninteresting. Regardless, we must push on, through day-long years and year-long days. In the end, it’s all worth it.

I cna’t spell for the lfie of me

Do you have those words you just can’t spell right? Mine is “receive.” That i-before-e-except-after-c rule is ridiculous, in my opinion. I’m a native English speaker, and I still spell half the words I type wrong. The most worn-down key on my keyboard is easily the back-space. Good thing I live in a time after typewriters, or I’d go through gallons of white-out a day.

I realize it’s partially because I type too fast and sometimes go on autopilot; sometimes my fingers act like autocorrect, incorrectly. Like in that last sentence, when I went to write “fast” I automatically wrote “face.” I also sometimes just don’t hit the right key, with no excuse.

Another thing I’m just recently realizing is that while my backspace is hopelessly overused, my right-shift key is barely touched. I just use the left shift key for everything, no matter what I’m capitalizing. Plus, that home-key nonsense? Please, my hands hover over the keyboard like it’s made of lava.

When I write longhand, my spelling is a bit better, but my handwriting is atrocious. Good thing we live in a time after computers, or reading this blog would just give you a headache.

To prove to you my terrible spelling, I’ll leave the rest of this unedited:

I wonder sometimes whey I’m alwaus in a rush. I guess I always have neen. I’ve always walked fact in the whllway, I’ve alwas written fac,e read fast, gotten myu homework done vcast. Like yeaterday, I think it’s time I learn to slow down. It would be best, fr everyone, if I took a breath every once in a while. That’s good anydice for anyone out there.

Stop and smell the roses. Well, I don’t knoaw. It’s a constand conflict with me—shoule I relax a bit, or keep moving forward (as Walt Disney said)? I’m in a great internship, but the youngerst one here. I’m takig night classes to get athead, at the expense of rarely seeing my friends. I’m fighting super hard to get into the study aborad program, which is oemsthing I want separately from my acreer or school.

And I’m still looiing for summer internships…maybe I’m a bit crazy. Ovre ambitious. It couldn’t hurt to take a break. Stretch betwen workouts. Check for spelling…

Where do you all stand on this? Do you hit the left shift key? Do you spell “receive” correctly? Do you fret and worry and move too quickly to breathe?

As introverts, we work well alone. We work best when we have time to recharge. If we don’t, we’ll get worn out far too quickly, and won’t be able to get anything done. Perhaps it’s time I listen to my own advice.

On Boredom

As someone who can spend upwards of 7 hours on YouTube, and who has no problem driving for days at a time or on 12-hour flights, you’d think I knew how to deal with boredom. Well, you’d be mistaken.

There are certain times during the day when I run out of things to do. I’m waiting on a phone call, I’ve finished my tasks for the day, my boss is nowhere to be found…and I’m stuck. I can’t just pull up YouTube or Facebook, so I take to reading the news. Eventually, my eyes get sore from looking at the computer for so long, so I take a lap around the office. I go to the bathroom, not because I have to but because it’s there. I do the math, again, on how many days are left until my boyfriend gets back from Mexico. It’s always more days than I want it to be.

I usually end up getting something from the vending machine, but that’s never good. How do you deal with boredom in a setting where you aren’t supposed to be entertained? Where non-boring, non-work things are frowned upon?

I don’t know.

Really, I don’t. You just gotta chug along. I’ll be bored for a few minutes, but I’ll always find something to entertain me. Someone will call me with a task to do, or I’ll find something to work on. Before I know it, the day is over.

I think it’s because our brains are good at seeing patterns that boredom seems so constant. If you think to yourself, wow, I go to the bathroom a lot, you’ll be reminded of that thought every time you go to the bathroom and you’ll start believing it. Likewise, if you think to yourself, I’m always at work, that little light bulb will flash when you’re at work and not otherwise.

So, my little “I’m bored” light is flashing. What do I do?

No answer for you. I still don’t know. But my solution is to fill your mind with different light bulbs.

Wow, I’m always with my family.

I spend a lot of time in pajamas.

I’ve read a lot of books this year.

Keep your mind positive, and your life will follow. If you’re determined, it will happen, good or bad.

So, yeah, I guess my advice is to work hard…even when you have no more work left to do.

And if you’re that bored, go buy some gummy bears or something. Like I just did.

When I get overwhelmed….about nothing

Today, as the title suggests, I got overwhelmed about basically nothing. There wasn’t a ton of work to do at my internship, and I’ve done all my school work for the week. I just got overwhelmed. The computer screen was so bright, and people around me were being difficult, and it was just a lot to take in.

It wasn’t just that I had no reason to get overwhelmed, it’s the fact that I had nothing to do that overwhelmed me. It’s like when you’re about to go to sleep and suddenly you regret that one thing you did three years ago to the lady at the supermarket and all of a sudden it’s a sleepless night of worrying about one thing after another. The empty space fills itself pretty quickly. That, plus my eyes burning, just made me want to go to sleep.

It might just be an introvert thing. I don’t know, frankly, but I’ve never met an extrovert who stresses out over the lack of things to do. They usually just…find something to do. For me, I guess there’s just a time where I’m tired of listening to the intern next to me calling the same people over and over about human waste fertilizer (not kidding) and having people email me about stuff I don’t know, and “will this be in the paper, then?” and “why didn’t you pick me for the cartoon caption contest?” and so much just….constant frustration, everywhere. It’s a cloud of frustration wherever I go, and it just seemed to follow me everywhere today.

So what do you do, when everything gives you a headache?

Take a break. I went down to the mailroom to get the mail, bought a cup of tea, washed my hands a few times in the bathroom, walked around the building. A fifteen minute break from sitting in the cubicle was a saving grace. But soon the anxiety was coming back.

And it was at such high levels. And I kept thinking, why am I stressing out, I have nothing to worry about, which just stressed me out more.

My answer is music….it seems to always help. I plugged in and let the music fill me as I worked, and God…I’m so glad I still buy my music, because I can’t figure out spotify or anything and being able to make my own playlists is a dream. Choosing what comes on next for the next 25 songs? It’s heaven, I swear.

It helped me through it. Even if doing nothing was stressy, the music made me feel less empty. It filled me up. And kept me…I don’t know…stable.

Everyone has something different. I’d suggest keeping it with you at all times. This blog is kind of disorganized, but hopefully it helps some fellow anxious introverts out there. Even though we like being alone, it’s nice to know we aren’t. There’s people like us, even if we think we’re the only ones.