Monday, October 24, 2005

The Winter Of My Content.

I could bemoan my situation. I could lapse into a perpetual state of solitude and misery. I could decide to simply give in, be sad. Alternatively, I can do everything in my power to make the best of my situation.

I've chosen the latter.

I took the entire weekend off. I rarely rest. This weekend I needed it. I spent some time evaluating my situation. It's really not that bad. In fact, everything is fine. I've decided to do the following things to combat my despondency:

1) Exercise -- You heard me right. I even brought a gym bag to work with me this morning.

2) Hobby -- I need something that can help me take my mind off of the vicissitudes of graduate life. I've signed up for rowing instruction. Once a week I'm hitting the Charles River. Yes, I've traded in my surfboard for a boat. Let's see how it goes.

3) Labeling -- I have a tendency to label everything as "good" or "bad." No more. Rather, I'm going to accept the situation I'm in and continue to work hard. I've found that struggling against things I can't change expends way too much of my emotional fuel. You may now call me, Zen Master Vavoom.

4) Schedule, Schedule, Schedule -- I'm going to be much more diligent with my time. Often, I get wrapped up in frustrating discussions with frustrating people. That's a thing of the past. If you're not on the schedule and your pissing me off, forget it -- you're banned. I'm working towards the establishment of daily routines that will make things more manageable. Taking breaks is all a part of the schedule.

5) Be Forgiving -- Not just of others, but also myself. I'm pretty damn hard on myself and everyone around me. No longer will I focus on the shortcomings of myself and others. Rather, I'll look for the good in everyone and try to be more understanding of their flaws.

6) Stay Mindful -- Remaining observant of my emotional state has helped me, in a major way, in the past. Allowing myself to be engulfed by the day's drama, absent a watchful eye, has always been my downfall. I'll do my best to simply watch my emotional state. I won't judge it. For some reason, being aware of how I'm feeling helps me deal with it.

7) Right Now -- I'll let the past be the past and the future be the future. It's amazing how much energy I spend worrying about what has happened or will happen. It's all about the here and now.

8) Wash, Rinse and Repeat -- I'll do my best to remind myself of the above. Indeed, people are like pianos; we always need to be re-tuned.

Now it's your turn -- what sort of things do you do to combat sadness? What helps you keep your head on straight?

18 Comments:

Blogger Vavoom said...

By the way, this is the winter of my content because fall here is just like the winter in California. God help me, it's cold.

9:59 AM  
Anonymous Daniel said...

V-

I learned to row on the Charles, too! And, if you're so inclined, there used to be a program to teach sailing on the Charles. If you had a student ID, it was some ridiculously paltry sum to take lessons (Sunfish variety, but nice). Enjoy.

11:01 AM  
Blogger Fred said...

I was going to ask you if you thought rowing would be such a good idea headed into the winter. Good luck with that one.

When I'm in a crappy mood, I turn to my kids and try and spend time with them. They've all got their heads screwed in the right way, and are so much fun to be around.

OK, I'll admit it, I'm off to dictionary.com to look up vicissitudes.

11:16 AM  
Blogger The Disgruntled Chemist said...

Good luck with the rowing! I'd love to be able to row on the Charles...did you go watch the racing this weekend? That's the one thing I regret missing during my college career: the chance to race at the Head of the Charles. Seriously, I'm very jealous.

You'll love rowing, though, as long as you're at least kind of a morning person. And there's no better place to do it than Boston, at least from a rowing culture standpoint.

Don't get discouraged by having to spend months on a rowing machine instead of the water (when it's too cold/frozen to row). It'll make you better, and your time on the water will be that much more enjoyable.

Have fun!

1:21 PM  
Anonymous Your Man at LA said...

A hobby is good but maybe a year round hobby since rowing is not really going to work come december and then it just defaults to exercise. I am also missing the winter in California after finding frost on my car this morning

1:34 PM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

chemist: Yup, saw a bit of the regatta -- it was fun!

My Man at LA: Yes, I just got word -- instruction closes down on Nov. 4th. Damn.

3:06 PM  
Blogger The Disgruntled Chemist said...

Vavoom, if you really want to row come spring, or whenever instruction starts back up, you might try working out on a rowing machine a couple times a week. Nothing strenuous, just a light workout with proper technique.

The muscle groups you use for rowing aren't typically used for anything else, so getting your body used to the motion will really help you enjoy your time in a boat more.

On another note, I'm really jealous that you got to see some of the racing! My girlfriend was coaching a team in the race, so she was there - I thought about going, but I couldn't really afford the time off. Oh well, maybe next year.

4:59 PM  
Blogger European said...

Excellent ideas!
I've noticed that exercising regularly makes me feel better about myself and helps me deal with crap in my life with a much better attitude. Way to go!

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's the spirtit Vavoom! You are the master of your destiny!

7:39 PM  
Blogger Skewedview said...

Exercising? Rowing? Doesn't that involve repetitive motion of some particular group of muscles? I used to do things like that years ago. Now nothing perks me up like a hot and zesty hand-tossed specialty pizza, a cold brewski, a nice soft couch and watching someone else strain body parts while playing some ruff and tumble sport on the big screen. Aaahh, now that's the ticket.

8:13 PM  
Blogger thc said...

You did more than just pack a gym bag, right? Did you actually make it to the gym?

9:43 PM  
Blogger Bar Bar A said...

Vavoooooooo dude! I so didn't know that you were, like, a surfer! Where are you from in CA? I'm near Tressles, Old Man's all the San Onofre spots.

As far as your list of anti-despondent activities, it's great! Good for you.

What I do is listen to music...and since I believe your post title refers to a Zeppelin tune I'll leave you with this...

....Made up my mind to make a new start, Going To California with an aching in my heart.
Someone told me there's a girl out there with love in her eyes and flowers in her hair...

10:27 PM  
Blogger Raine said...

Hagen Daz Vanilla Swiss Almond. Nuff said.

11:23 PM  
Blogger RT said...

Well, I started to comment, but then Raine caught my attention with Hagen Daz and now I can't remember what I was going to say.



Oh wait! OK. I got it...

I especially like your 3 and 5.

In the short time that I've been reading your blog I've noticed a lot of sadness in you, and I think those two will help more than the others simply because you're already on the right path and they'll be easier to incorporate into your life.

Exercise is always a good idea, but in order for it to work, you actually have to do it, lol. And that can be a pain!

As for me? I go through those sad/depressed times too, but what keeps me going is the knowledge that it will pass... It always passes. Ya just got to hang on for dear life and know that. And then relish life when it does.

12:01 AM  
Blogger CafeCath said...

Vavoom --
I'm with you on your commitment to working out. I recently joined a gym and now regularly "pack my gym bag".

The result: I feel much better. More energy. Better spirits.

The only downside I've found is that it really cuts in to my blogging time!

You got a great list there. Go for it!

-CC

12:43 AM  
Blogger LoraLoo said...

Vavoom: I think you're on the right track. Exercise is always a good idea, get those endorphins going. I like RT's response too. Knowing that whatever it is, it's a tiny little piece of the big picture and it WILL pass... well that helps me a lot too.

8:26 AM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

This is way to early to have New Years resolutions but I like where you are going. I'm tearing my hair out at the moment so my only release has been focusing on something else yet it isn't leading to productivity. When I'm in a really dark mood, I break out my special music. I'll have the exercise thing going as soon as they finish building my gym.

4:45 PM  
Anonymous Sis said...

Seeing how no one is perfect, we all have things we can work on. Good for you trying to improve yourself.

7:22 PM  

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