It started innocently enough. Everyone in the house was asleep, it was quiet, I was awake and it seemed to be the perfect time to clean off my desk ,recycle all the extra paper from the completed semester and generally reorganize. One thing led to another and, before you know it, there was quite a to-do list going from items uncovered in the tidying process and stimulated by thinking about next steps. It felt good to be getting things done, so on I worked.
Plus, did you notice, it was also Christmas-time? While I have gotten a lot better over the years, and really work on letting go of the complex laws (these are far stronger than mere rules) in my head about how Christmas “should” be and things I “must” do to make it that way, getting the balance right is an ongoing struggle. That my mother died shortly after Christmas when I was 12 increases the complexities of the season for me. After many (seven? eight?) hours of really satisfying work, it was time to turn to Christmas baking, table setting, last-minute arrangements, etc. Those went well, too. As an added bonus, we even found the missing presents purchased this summer.
The upshot, though, of this productivity is that I overdid it yet again. Back came the headaches, out went the balance, the arm started giving out, the whole shebang. The worst part is what these regressions do for my cognitive functions. Usually, the idea for a first line of a post here or the title, or the theme, come to me as I’m falling asleep. When I’m functioning well, those ideas are still with me in the morning. (In fact, they usually improve and get extended over night, coming and going from my dreams and in waking moments.) After I’ve pushed past reasonable limits, though, my short-term memory collapses and I have trouble making mental connections. I hate that the most of all the other effects. To my further chagrin, it took me most of a day to figure out what was going on. It’s not like I haven’t been claiming to be learning this exact, very same lesson now for weeks. If not months. In retrospect, I can pick out the warning signals I should have caught in real time. My hope is that this unpleasant reminder will serve a positive purpose in the future.
The good news is that accepting the reality and retreating to bed with good meds seem to be righting the ship again. The frustration with myself, and the residual embarrassment, linger.
On the other hand, we had a grand and low-key holiday with some unexpected grace points. Our traditional Christmas Eve dinner was disrupted by weather that kept our usual crew from gathering, so we put out an invitation to stranded law students. The resulting evening was a pleasure, with a student who had been trying to fly to Seattle since Monday taking us up on the offer. We’re hoping his rescheduled flights yesterday finally got him home. Michael made a great dinner—trying a new way to make the meat that was a huge success—and we all played Banangrams after dessert. It was a great evening and Michael, Shea and I all had a nice day together yesterday. Shea got a puzzle for Christmas that we started, and unlike my summer experiences, I can work puzzles again!