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02 December 2010

Finding track of time

Time.

A flashback of a different sort, this one on purpose-- lately, especially after starting with the meds, I've had trouble managing my time.  There is an entire industry dedicated to helping people (including students) manage their time,  and entire sections of bookstores are devoted to guides and calendars and such.  I'm sure many of the ideas proposed there really do work, but none of them seem to address time management when you can't tell today from yesterday.

Time.  I still jump when I hear a PA system click on, because in the Desert hearing that click meant a SCUD had been launched and we were the target.  

At the start of fall semester 2009, I left my 40-hour-a-week job and went back to school full time.  Before that, I was in school half time (or a little more) and I worked my regular job, plus a part time job.  There were weeks I worked 50+ hours in addition to being in school.  I managed to get everything done, somehow.  I used Google calendar, synced to my phone, and I kept a daily task list on paper.  I also kept a separate paper calendar for my second job.  I literally went from one place to another to another, home to work to school to home to work to work to home....  it was a grind, and there wasn't much room for error, but I managed it for several years.  (I had the PTSD then, and had some serious issues along the way, but I didn't stop long enough to really deal with them.  I had far too much to do, to try to actually resolve any issues.)

Time.  Hurry up and wait.  It always seemed like there was an invisible hand moving the military around-- who makes up these jacked up schedules, anyway?  But in the end everything always seemed to get done.

Now, I have almost complete freedom of schedule-- much of my day is free, and most of my nights in a week are free.  This is in freedom of choice, not freedom to lay on the couch and watch Airwolf reruns.   Academics are far more demanding here than at the community college I was attending when I was working those 50+ hour weeks, yet I have far more free time now.  Still, I seem to get far less accomplished.

It was easier, I think, to schedule every waking minute when my tempo was similar to being deployed.  The invisible had guiding time was the need to always have somewhere to be by a certain time.  There was a rhythm, like clockwork... every day after work I headed straight downtown to school.  I had a couple of hours to do homework, and then I was in class the rest of the evening.  The cycle ran again the next day.

When I was a full time student at the community college, I was (stuck) in the same building all day.  I got there in the morning for my first class, had several hours off, then had my next class in the afternoon.  In between those times, I was in the library with the same group of people every day.  Most of us were in the same classes, and we not only helped each other out but kept each other motivated.

Time.  Once you're in a rhythm, time ceases to be an issue.  You know where, and when, and how, and you just find yourself there.  It takes conscious effort to get there... but once you're in the zone...

I am having a great deal of trouble with time and sleep management since starting on the meds.  The past few days, I've had so much of an issue that I've been questioning the increased dosage-- was this really a good idea?  I'm having more trouble now, not less.  WTF? 

Today, it started making sense when I looked at the clock, and it was five hours past the normal start of my day.  I missed all of my classes today, and I missed turning in two assignments; night before last I was up all night studying.  I don't know what time zone I'm in right now.

When I looked at the clock, and it said 1500, I was in morning mode-- I hadn't gotten dressed yet, hadn't had coffee yet, etc.  That's when it occurred to me that I've never had a time in my life when I had so much freedom to do what I need to do.  I have all of the resources at my disposal that I could ever want.  I'm walking distance from world class libraries, really good coffee houses, I have a great apartment, I have all the tools (pens, paper, books, laptop, ruck, etc.) that I need.  My kitchen has food in it, the lights are on, the heat is keeping my place warm.

I feel pretty decent.  I'm not feeling desperate, I have a new girlfriend (woohoo!), I want to live and grow and have a wonderful life.  But I'm lost in time right now.  The clock means nothing to me, the calendar is a lost cause, and my brain doesn't make any distinction between today or tomorrow or yesterday.


Finals are approaching.  Tick, tock.  Tick, tock.  Tick, tock.

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