Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday morning moment of panic

Fact: If I've worked hard on Saturday, I enjoy Sunday immensely.
Fact: If I haven't worked hard on Saturday, Sunday makes me a little anxious.

I should have worked on revising my article more, yesterday. Then I'd feel better about coming back to school from Spring Break, not with everything done that I need to/want do, but just with at least one project completed. Especially because next week is a half week and I go to a conference. So much time slipping through the cracks. I need to meet with my adviser and revise my prospectus outline (perhaps drastically) and finish revising my article and transcribing my research and all the stuff that I kind of thought I'd be able to do with an entire week cleared of work and classes. Really, though, I think a lot of my anxiety right now comes from not doing much Saturday work from Monday to Saturday. Even if I were to go full force, I wouldn't finish everything I'd like to. Things just take more time than you anticipate; that's life and that's especially taking work home with you.

But it does depress Sunday a little bit. The commandment, the full one, reads "Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work but on the seventh..." see? Not "Six days thou shalt dink around and maybe put in a couple hours here and there, but mostly watch Dr. Who and make cookies and take long road trips." I'd like to feel totally fulfilled about the work I've done, but here's a partial list of what non-work I've done that I'm proud of:

-helped a friend without a place to stay to sleep on my couch 2 nights in a row.
-took another friend errand shopping to help her stay on task
-kayaking with one of those people you keep telling you'll hang out with and then don't
-drove down (2 hours) to A&M to pick up an (electronic) book I need for my research.
-went to Gretchen's cousin's band at SXSW
-went to 2 free big concerts and 2 free smaller ones
-got to spend time with my sister's family here in Austin--the first time they've been here for any amount of time, and they're shortly to leave
-got to do a good reading and comments on a friend's memoirs

I don't think these are bad things to have done. In fact, many of them are pretty noble. But it doesn't help me now.

I love the Sabbath. Part of this comes from trail-and-error of what makes me feel most holy. Having a day set apart to work on reflection (long walks, making goals, writing in journals) and revelation (reading scriptures, talking about ideas in Church and before) and relationships (calling home, visiting teaching, writing letters)--why, it just makes the same sense as having a time devoted to getting all my work done at school.

I know not everyone keeps the Sabbath in the same way, and, frankly, that's one of my favorite things about it. My own trial and error with the Spirit has helped me to see what works best for me, and it might not work for everyone else. 10 years I didn't care about working on the Sabbath--I did a lot of AP Art History work on Sunday, I remember, because it was the "wonders of man" and doing chemistry on Sunday was "the wonders of the universe." But overtime I discovered that for me, doing school work on Sunday made me feel worried, and decreased me energy and zest for my work on Monday--I wasn't truly "rested." Over time, though, I've become stricter, cutting back on the secular work I do on Sunday while also stepping up my efforts to actively do good for my family, friends, community and self. And over all, I've been very pleased with the results

Which is what is difficult about moments like this. Will working for a half hour on my schoolwork make me more anxious and worldly, unable to get it all done still and unable to get into the things which matter right now? Or is it like doing the dishes, something that must be done to give me a little more peace and order?

I kind of expected that at this point I'd have a clear sense of clever, wise answer, because that's what typically happens when I blog, but I don't have one. I might just have to make this one of those trial and error sort of things. I mean, obviously I wasn't this anxious about my work yesterday. Whatever I decide, I'll figure out something about my work habits, the way that I feel the Spirit, my standard grad-student anxieties, and the boundaries I set in my life.

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