Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Making Lemonade and Working on Compartmentalization

My lemonade maker is working overtime and cranking out top-quality lemonade at unprecedented volume, given the bumper crop of lemons in my life right now. Still, getting a machine to work at this degree of efficiency with this volume of output is tiring. I’ll be glad when this week is finally over and it’s Spring Break, with a hope of catching my breath and getting a better handle on the things needing to be done, as well as finally knock down whatever this lingering illness is that I have.

The stress and pace of the last chunk of time, which has been so harried I cannot even measure its length, has really taken a toll. On the other hand, the good news is that, amidst the stress of it all, patterns of thinking and creativity reappeared for the first time since surgery. Since I’d feared those capacities were lost, it was a nice moment. If I’d had more time to savor it, or if anything other than extreme stress had brought it back, it would have been pleasant.

My next goal, after redoing my to-do list and catching my breath, is to figure out new patterns of thought that can help me respond better to this kind of pressure. The gold-standard boss I had early in my life used to preach the virtues of compartmentalization in stressful circumstances, and my new goal is to improve my skills in that area. The combination of the stress and meeting 100 students in a new room for class yesterday re-triggered the vertigo/visual overload problem I’ve had on and off since surgery; for a while, I thought about going to the emergency room, and in the end decided to try just resting in familiar circumstances to see if that would right things. On the one hand, I wasn’t sure that there was anything that could be done for me, and on the other, it was aversive to think of exposing myself to even more visual overload in what was bound to be a chaotic with new stimuli. It all turned out ok, and the vertigo waned after being at home in the quiet for a while. There’s some of the same leftover effects I’ve always gotten from this state, but they’re receding, so I’m working on the huge numbers of large vats of lemonade left over from recent events. I’m sure there’s a use for them, and I’m working on a marketing plan. Can you tell I hang out with business-types these days?

Back to the grindstone, with a lighter heart and renewed resolve to compartmentalize the bejeebers out of the problems, the better to enjoy my lemonade. Cheers.

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