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Friday, September 7, 2001

While I was lying around doing nothing this afternoon, I took a little self-inventory and realized that I've been spending a lot of time lying around doing nothing. For a while now, at least since I got back from vacation, I've been a champion underachiever. I've kept my resolutions and not spent a lot of money I didn't have, but the rest of my life has gone to seed.

On April 13, I committed myself to a program of better eating, which I guess I could call a diet in the generic sense. It was my response to the fact that I felt soft and lumpy around the middle and knew that I'd turned into an habitual muncher. I can't even remember what I'd been eating to get me to that point, but I seem to recall stacks of buttered toast and bags of glazed donuts.

I stopped on that date, and for about three months I ate three or four small, healthy meals a day, and nothing in between. (I admit it was helpful that for about a month I was so sick that nothing stayed in my stomach anyway.) Recently I've noticed more and more ice cream sandwiches and Fig Newtons making their way from my hand to my mouth. They must be getting into the house somehow, and I really should find a way to stop them, because that soft, lumpy feeling is back. The fact that I've gained back six of the fourteen pounds I lost is a bad sign.

It isn't just the eating itself. I was cooking for myself more a few months ago, adding to my culinary repertoire all the time. Now I'm into frozen foods again, or sandwiches. The most I do on my own is an occasional pasta plate. I still fix a salad almost every night, but when you top that off with a twelve-inch Freschetta mozzarella and basil Pizza Margherita, some of the benefit is lost.

The biggest reason I'm gaining the weight back is probably not my diet at all, but the death of my exercise program. I hate repetitive exercise, so it was probably inevitable that anything I tried wouldn't last. But I'm not even walking every day the way I did for so long. It's a miracle if I walk a couple of times a week lately. That definitely has to change, especially while the weather is still cooperating.

My work has suffered recently as well. I just don't put as much effort into the job as I did before. I do barely enough to get by, and I'm more ashamed of that than anything else. It seems that I'm just as busy overall as I was when I was working hard and producing more, but realizing that doesn't make me feel any better about my shoddy performance. I can't be proud of letting myself take advantage of working at home, without supervision, where no one knows how little I'm getting by with. (No one who doesn't read my journal, anyway.)

Many areas of my life could be better. I should be reading more and watching less TiVo, even though it's hard to pass on all those Monty Python episodes and Merchant/Ivory movies it records for me. (But not all those tedious spy pictures, thanks anyway.) I could find time to keep the house in better order, or wash my car once in a while (or write better journal entries). I've even slacked off on the yard work I was doing so faithfully for so long.

It all starts with sleep. This is an old subject, but I know that prowling around the house half the night and then dragging my weary body through the next morning's routine is not the key to efficiency. It's more like the key to this feeling of uselessness and malaise that just overwhelmed me this afternoon, as I was lying around doing nothing.

This is the one area I can't find a way to cope with. I can't make myself sleep. I can force myself to go to bed earlier, but the benefit of that is nil. It just means the sheets are twisted and the pillow warm before I ever do fall asleep. All I can do is try to catch up whenever possible.

As for the work slackage situation, I don't see how I can force myself to maintain any kind of momentum at something that's not really goal-oriented. Wait, I think I know what I mean by that. When specific reports are due, like quarterly taxes or year-end statements, I have no problem keeping my head down and my neck bowed (ow!) until I get them done.

At the moment, my most important task is reacting to the latest phone call or fax. So I do exactly that and very little else. (I certainly don't do any filing, because I'm so far behind now that I can't even see the sky, let alone the rainbow. The pot of gold is a long-forgotten myth.)

the yellowjackets like it

New and improved butterfly garden (a work in progress).

The eating thing, though. I can change that in a blink. All I have to do is decide not to fill up the cupboards and the fridge with all that gross stuff. If it's not here, it's a sure bet I won't peel myself out of my lounge chair and go buy it.

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