Friday, September 17, 2010

Priorities and Having a Life

I have written before how the intense and crushing loneliness I have felt here has helped to fuel my depression, and how my depression has helped to fuel my unhealthiness and poor eating habits. I have great news to report on all of these fronts.

After a serious re-evaluation of my life this summer, I decided that changes were not optional. I had to find a way to either find friends here where I live or move on to new pastures, with the hope and belief that they would be greener. The good news is that I am starting to find friends here! There are figurative green pastures to accompany the real life beautiful scenery in Arkansas!! I am so grateful and relieved!! Another great thing is that one of my students lately is really en fuego. He is doing really well and we are making rapid progress on his research. This has meant that I've stayed late to work with him twice this week.

While both of these things are GREAT -- seriously, I am unspeakably delighted at the positive implications that these developments have on my mental health and my career -- they come at a cost. I have missed yoga twice this week. On Tuesdays, I struggle to find a way to eat between work, when I go to the gym for water aerobics, and a Bible study I am attending. I can either wait until I get home at 9:30-10 (HA!! you're kidding, right?!), eat the unhealthy (and usually not filling but usually delicious) snacks that are provided at the study, stop and get something but be late to the study, or leave work around 4:15 to get something to eat before going directly to the gym. None of these options are great, and I have yet to figure something else out.

In my life I have gotten into this routine that I like and feel comfortable with, exercising 6 days a week usually for an hour or two a day. With hints of a social life -- seriously, I did things with other people after work three times this week which literally is a record since I moved here 3 years ago -- it is not feasible to fit my new budding social life into my current schedule. Something has to go. This week, it was TV, two days of working out, to a large degree the healthiness of the food that I ate, and sleep. While I am willing to give up TV, the rest are harder to give up.

Please understand I am so so grateful that things in my personal and professional life are going well, especially after this summer where I considered chucking both in the depths of depression. However, my new social life leaves me with choices I haven't confronted in awhile and that aren't easy. I am confident I will figure out how to handle this, but for now I am feeling slightly overwhelmed and a bit unclear how to balance everything...but this is a good problem to have.


  1. Sarah,

    You are working so hard and making so much progress. There is such a different tone to your posts compared to earlier this summer. Don't give up now. Could it be that you are just overwhelmed at how differently you are viewing your life now and although they are all good things, you are trying to implement too many changes at one time?

    I don't know that I'd encourage you to "just maintain" for awhile. It'd be too tempting to let go completely and a regain might be a tough to handle mentally.

    I certainly don't have any answers - only you can figure things out. Writing things down helps me. Maybe a list of each area of your life you are working on and specific actions steps for this week only in each area. Some weeks one thing has priority, the next week that thing "maintains" while something else takes priority. Just a thought.

    Sorry so long. Hang in there and do not give up. You've worked too hard to self-sabotage.


  2. Life is truly a roller coaster with lots of ups and downs. The part we don't often talk about is the challenges presented by the ups. It is much easier to handle them when you aren't emotionally strained though. Happiness is a good thing.

    The best to you as you navigate this.


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