Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Well, if you couldn't tell, the previous post (and the resulting comment thread) kind of wore me out. I tend to "burn out" like that pretty easily. But let's face it: Not having my candidate win the election, and having to argue with friends and family about how yes, I really am upset Obama won, and then dealing with all this drama surrounding Proposition 8 and the way the church proper has been dealing with homosexuality in general... Well, it's made me tired.

Plus, like I said in the comments of my last post, I really have a lot on my plate right now. Two majors, one minor, two honor societies, two scholarship programs, two jobs, and somehow trying to balance a social life and creative endeavors as well as the blog debates (here and elsewhere) kind of gets to me every now and then. I mean, I started writing a novel over the summer before school got back in. I was really hoping for this to be my second completed novel (after Whaler, which I finished four years ago -- wow). I've had "write!" on my daily post-it note checklists almost every day, and almost every day, nothing gets done, and my novel is stuck in the middle of Chapter 2. It's discouraging.

Plus, I was trying to read more. Somehow I got through The Phantom Tollbooth but Kim has been on my shelf collecting dust since Chapter 5. I'm having my daily devotionals and quiet times with the Lord, and thank goodness for that, because otherwise I don't know how I'd be getting through my semester. And this is the light semester! I just signed up for classes, and man, Spring 2009 is going to suck!

So all and all, I'm tired. I'm constantly feeling like I just need to get away (in fact, other than church, I can't really remember the last time I went off campus to hang out). Thanksgiving is coming up, and that's good, and I have a lot to be grateful for. I'm just really in the need of a pick-me-up. I don't drink coffee or any kind of caffeine (don't ask me how I manage; I really don't know). But I need some sort of spiritual caffeine. I need something to just give me a boost so I can handle everything that's on my plate. I know I have enough time in the day to do everything, because there are some hours when I just zone out in front of the TV. I just need the motivation to do everything, and do it all well.

Since I'm going into Education, I worry about how this is going to play out my first year of teaching. We were talking about the dreaded first year in class today, and from all I've heard, it's a rough year. You're essentially setting up everything that you could use for the rest of your teaching career, so each week is a "breaking in" process. People I know who have gone through it have said that you basically have no life outside of school, and people can burn out quickly. When asked what helped them survive, they all quickly say, "My husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend."


Surely there have to be other things besides romantic relationships that can give me energy, that can comfort me and give me the "pick-me-up" I need. I just haven't seen many people taking advantage of those things, and I don't know what they are. It's not just first year teachers, either. I'm an RA on campus, and the majority of the other RA's on my staff are pretty nicely paired off. I'd say it's because, like the first year of teaching, it's a job that comes with a lot of responsibilities and it somewhat doesn't allow one to have an ordinary social life, so people tend to latch onto one person (usually another RA) who can understand and help them through.

So yeah, I'm tired right now. I'm not the only one. The end of a semester is pretty well-known as "burnout season." I'm just trying to keep the fire going so I don't burnout. I can rest at Christmas Break. If anyone has any good ideas about how to get more energy (without caffeine; I just don't do caffeine), and also achieve some spiritual "pep" in the process, that would be great. Till then, hope everyone's well! Oh, and check out the new music! I'm really enjoying getting to share my favorite songs with people. I think they say things about me that I can't quite say with words.


Justin said...

I am gay and single and this is what perks me up spiritually. A good pick me up is a close church family. There are families in particular at this church that I am very close with. They all know and it does not matter. In matter of fact, they like me better since I am not bottled up like I used to be. I guess I just contradicted myself a little. We are around each other frequently. We work on stuff at the church, go out to eat together often, and go to stuff like the football game at Marshall University. One thing about me though is I get along cross generational very well. I don't know if this is the case for you. All I know is I have found some great companionship at my church. I have some concerns about finding someone and having a good relationship. I am a side A Christian, but there are other things at work. Perhaps I will get into it some other time. God bless

Justin said...

The other thing that is at work is a calling to full time ministry.

Pomoprophet said...

Well I didn't have a "husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend." to get my through my first year and I made it. Granted I ended up in the Emergency room thinking I was dying of a heart attack but still... ;)

Any time you first teach a curriculum/class it's alot of work. But dependeing on how organized you are, you'll get the hang of it and save yourself tons of time in the future.

My advice, keep everything labeled and filed so you can access it again next year. And find staff that don't complain all the time but instead wil encourage you. Thats what helped me the most those first few years!

grace brother!

Selly said...

I don't do caffeine (or alcohol) either and so I know where you are coming from. All I can say is water, water, water. And oh sleep, sleep sleep. I can probably write entire volumes on the benefits of water and sleep. I am looking to patent my special brand of water and sleep therapy soon.

Do make sure you are hydrated, and get enough sleep. I find that these two are really important for academic survival. (I am getting to the end of graduate school.)

naturgesetz said...

I don't have an answer, just some suggestions.

5-10 minutes brisk walk (not going somewhere, purely recreational)?

5-10 minutes leisurely walk enjoying the beauty?

Go to a basketball game every week and get excited about the game?

Let somebody new become your friend?

Sleep an additional 10-15 minutes per night?

I think the time zoning out in front of the TV is a good thing, in the amount you do it.

And it sounds as if you have a good prayer life.

God bless.

P said...

Great photo! And whenever you start to worry about that rough first year of teaching, remember that you'll have your summers off :)


Dan in Michigan said...

I would consider this time of craziness as a gift...because it's when we need relief, and need that spiritual boost most, and when we feel that we just can't make it all on our own, that's when Christ delights to enter it and have us rely on Him completely. The more we know our utter need for Him, the more we are put in the proper perspective with Him.

Here's something that means a lot for me, from the writings of Thomas Merton...I cling to this concept when I'm feeling like you are right now:

"If we know how great is the love of Jesus for us we will never be afraid to go to Him in all our poverty, all our weakness, all our spiritual wretchedness and infirmity. Indeed, when we understand the true nature of His love for us, we will prefer to come to Him poor and helpless. We will never be ashamed of our distress. Distress is to our advantage when we have nothing to seek but mercy. We can be glad of our helplessness when we really believe that His power is made perfect in our infirmity."

The more out of control our lives are, the more God delights in entering in and taking care of it for us. I suspect as you look back on this time six months ago, you'll wonder how you got through it. And through it you will be. Take it one day at a time, one hour at a time perhaps, and when things get nuts, just keep saying what Julian of Norwich said, "All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well." That phase has kept me sane on many an occasion!

I'll say a few prayers for you--lean on Christ. Oh...and it's OK to say no sometimes too. :-)

Rachael Starke said...

When I was hip deep in diapers and round the clock feedings, and there would be days when I had neither bathed nor left the house, I learned that just going outside and feeling sunlight on my face and breathing clean air really helped.
Also, as a former heavy person, an hour of regular, hard cardio and weights with some serious workout tunes (a la Podrunner) really helps not just keep me healthy physically, but mentally. I read or watch the news during the cardio and keep my earphones embedded during the weight sessions to discourage, um, engagement with the opposite sex. :)

The Vegas Art Guy said...

don't worry about the classroom. You'll need about three years to really become a great teacher. Just make sure that you have simple rules for your classroom and that you are consistent with your follow-thrus if you threaten consequences or you're dead meat.

I feel your pain with life. I have 12 units teach full time (Math and English) and I have a wife and two kids.

When you go observe a classroom, ask the teacher for any handouts, lessons, etc that you could use. Build up a library of resources now and your life as a teacher will be easier.

You'll be just fine, just have some faith. lol

devlin said...

Hi Jay,

I have found polarized emotions can be very taxing, and draining, as can everyday stress. I have found that they can rob me of my creativity, like writing. I, like you, have had a writing project on my plate for quite a while now however, issues have gotten in the way called creative avoidance(mainly just my intent to Just Do It ) . . .
I relate to your struggles, though we may come from different angles, the result of emotions being draining are still the same. There will always be rights and wrongs in the world to stick to and haggle over, if we wish.
The thing that helps me the most to regain energy is to do a passive, non polarized, no asking for or about anything, meditation. I will pick a beach ball of color and run it up and down through my body and then let it fill me up with that color for about 10 mins. Focusing on a color takes me out of polarity and thoughts in general and helps me center. Sparkling liquid gold is a great one for me to ground and feel connected in general. Throwing the beach ball back and forth with Jesus before running the color, while laughing and having fun can really amp up its effects.

I find if I do this right before going to sleep, my sleep is much deeper and more relaxed and I feel more zippy in the morning. Luls during the day are usually broken up also if I apply this technique.
Sitting on top of the world in meditation with Jesus in the midst without conversation at times, and knowing this world is just a temporary experience, can really help me clear up conflict and re-energize. I hope you find this useful. If you try it, I would find it interesting to hear how it worked for you.


Brandon said...

I know how you feel. Lately I haven't had time for anything or anyone much outside of school. My nerves are about shot, I'm tired from going on only five or six hours of sleep per night for the last two months, I have so much homework it feels like I'll never get caught up, and fun seems like something I once experienced but just barely remember. I also find myself feeling about as lonely as I've ever felt. I feel completely alone, which really sucks.

My ray of hope? Christmas break is just around the corner. So, I'm looking forward to the time off to be around family and friends again and to catch up on my sleep. It helps knowing that I'm pretty sure I'll end this semester with all A's and a B too. I hope anyway.

God bless, and try not to let any of it get you down. Chin up. :)


Jay said...

I just want to say thanks to everyone for all the advice! I've done what I can to implement it into my daily life (except for the meditation stuff... I tried, but I'm far too hyper to sit down that long). I'm feeling a lot better now, and only one more week until Thanksgiving Break! Huzzah! :)

amy said...

Taking a multi vitamin that has the B vitamins in it can help with energy

A. D. Hunt said...

I have no idea why you would be sad that Obama won. I certainly am not and I live here!

The boy with the green tambourine said...

I suggest finishing Kim. Beautiful book. Kipling was an evocative writer.


Bre said...

Well, dearheart, I don't know if this will help, but I always have at least one night a month to myself. And a hobby. I'm between hobbies right now, but they do help with stress relief. I know someone who's taking a cake decorating class off-campus, and she said it's given her tons of energy. You could go to Jungle Rapids, or ice skating, or canoeing. Do something you like, for yourself.

George M said...

Who did you want to win?

Jay said...

Well, I voted for McCain... reluctantly, of course.