Tag Archives: marijuana

Did Hemingway inspire my very own witching hour?

29 Jan

First, an answer to yesterday’s question, did I catch my inner critic, and put my own inactivity behind me, in time to keep the day from being a failure? In short, yes.

But the yes came with a bargain; I continued to put off my main priorities (a single job application and a handful of personal letters) for another day, and rolled more than one more joint throughout the day, but I did make a fantastic dinner and spent some quality time with the boy in Call of Duty. I even cleaned up the kitchen afterward, including hand washing the half dozen pots and bowls with various caked on messes from the meal’s preparation.

Today I find myself in a similar situation and time, not long after my own personal witching hour, 11:00 a.m.

For the last few weeks, as long as I’m up and have my first coffee and meds before 8:00, I’m usually optimistic about the day’s prospects, even anticipating my wife’s pride in recognizing my day’s accomplishments. I can sustain these feelings too, for the entire day if I do things right.

I need to put serious work into one of my top priorities, and I need to be at it before 11:00. Immediately after that, my self-confidence and optimism for the day take a nosedive. I start to minimize, then write off entirely, my prospects of touching my main priorities for the rest of the day. My thoughts shift focus from all the time I have to be productive, to the limited time I have left to myself before the boy and my wife get home.

I describe these feelings as mental momentum, something I have to keep up before I hit my witching hour. If I keep my mind in motion on my priorities, I drive through it. If not, it’s the immovable object that puts me at rest.

Oh, and why 11:00? I think it’s because there’s still time to make the morning productive, so I can see something that’s come from the day being half over. But that’s not all; I’m fairly sure I’ve heard virtually the same sentiments expressed by a famous writer. Hemingway was known for doing his full day’s writing before 11:00, at which time he’d say, “Eleven o’clock. What the hell, it’s noon in Miami. Let’s have a drink.”

Truth be told, I’m not a huge fan of Hemingway, but could he be my unconscious inspiration? And if so, is he inspiring my writing…or just my lifestyle?


Manufacturing Discontent: The slippery slope of familiar habits

28 Jan

I’m fresh out of church (code for my weekly group therapy) and my mind is racing with thoughts on the last week or so. Allow me to recap:

1) Last week I set an important goal for myself, to complete my first job application in months. It was an achievable goal and important more for completing the process than the actual job itself.

2) First I became distracted, then increasingly anxious as my focus drifted to what I call a manufactured obstacle, in this case the far less important task of updating my LinkedIn profile. Still, I think I caught this one early enough to keep it from derailing the job application.

3) Bolstered by my renewed focus (if not action) on the more important goal, I was caught by a surprise, but also manufactured crisis. For reasons I’ll get to another time, I am long overdue in reaching out and apologizing to a few old friends and colleagues (making amends, if you will). This week those apologies suddenly became urgent, in my mind so urgent that the job application might have to wait.

In the end what did me in was neither the job application nor the manufactured obstacles to its completion. It was a dance along the slippery slope of familiar, self-sabotaging habits: TV, Netflix, napping, Xbox, pot (marijuana) and an extra clonezepam for kicks, triggering harsh feelings of shame and self-loathing.

At first it was just one morning I took off to relax; no drugs, just some time to reflect and (ideally) reaffirm my priorities and plan for the day. The plan itself materialized…sort of, but carrying it out quickly moved to tomorrow’s plate.

Within three days, I was already dangerously close to mirroring the same (essentially stagnant) daily routine I lived right up to the end of 2014.

The lesson: Like a single cigarette to an ex-smoker, even a brief retreat to old, bad habits can quickly turn into a long term affair.

The other lesson: Again the ex-smoker knows the retreat is reversible, if you catch it in time. I sure hope I have, and I’ve already got one functioning day back under my belt (that’s today!).

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