Feeling it in my lazy bones
For the first time in the 10 years since I graduated from college, I wondered recently if majoring in English was really the most productive use of my time. While being an armchair quarterback in subjects like Brontë and Chaucer comes in handy during intermissions at poetry readings and afternoon tea engagements, had I majored in psychology or some other -ology, I might not have spent so many hours this week questioning what’s wrong with me.I was reading in bed last Sunday when I realized the room was particularly chilly. The thermostat was a few inches out of arm’s reach and a quilt was draped over the chair located two and a half feet away from the edge of the bed. But, instead of rolling a few degrees to the left to adjust the temperature or swinging my legs onto the floor and reaching over to grab the blanket, I didn’t budge and remained uncomfortably cold until I was done with the newspaper. Later that day, while defrosting my toes and fingertips in the relative warmth of the unseasonably snowy afternoon, I started to think about the things I should and could easily do, but don’t. For instance, my rear left tire developed a slow leak last week after I evidently drove over a four-inch blue screw. As I have a severe allergy to all mechanical matters, I called my dad for advice on the available options for getting the tire repaired. During the consultation, he suggested it would be generally prudent for me to know if the spare tire in my trunk was full size or a donut. He was and still is right – it would be a good morsel of information to have readily available. And, having remembered, but simply not bothering to look in the trunk since that conversation, I still have no idea. I have patellar tendonitis in both knees and I don’t drink milk regularly. So, I have two bottles of vitamins. The glucosamin would bring relief to my joints and the calcium citrate would strengthen my bones. Some days I take the pills. Other days I don’t. On the days that I don’t, sometime it’s because I’ve forgotten. Other times, it occurs to me to take the pills, but I just don’t anyway.Up until I moved two weeks ago, I lived a quarter of a mile from work. Yet, instead of walking to work, I drove every day. Mind you, I have to be at work well before sunrise, so there was never, ever a chance I was ever going to wake up earlier than necessary to walk. But throughout the course of a normal workday, I would frequently go back and forth to my house. I diligently train for a marathon every year, but I can count on fewer than 10 fingers how many times in the two years that I lived in my last place that I walked the 440 yards from the front door at home to my office during the day. After some serious reflection, I started to fear that faulty wiring in my brain might be to blame for my (in)activities, so I called a neurologist. After repeating the question following an uncomfortably long silence, he advised me to call a shrink. (On a more positive note, he also said my question livened up what was an otherwise dull day.) The first psychologist I spoke to suggested I was masochistic. Another said it was more about my desire not to indulge the guilt-inducing “shoulds” that were impressed upon me as a child. There was also the hypothesis that I’m rebelling against the rules I internalized years ago. It might be possible, too, according to a third psychologist, that this is a self-esteem issue and I don’t feel worthy of being comfortable. An adolescent psychiatrist told me that I didn’t form a secure attachment with my mother when I was younger, so in turn I have difficulty regulating my mood state and therefore I’ve become my own drill sergeant, so it’s more comfortable to feel my unconscious pain knowing consciously that it’s the wrong thing to do. My general practitioner said that while she was more than willing to run several expensive tests to get to the root of the pressing medical issue, her primary advice was that I take two aspirin and listen to the neurologist. A conversation with my mom after all the ologists and the psychiatrist weighed-in saved me from potentially returning to school in search of another degree, or from committing to a year of psychotherapy. She said my issue is self-discipline. Apparently when I’m interested in doing something, I’m willing to go the distance and then some. But if it’s something that bores me, I take the easy way out. She also said that I’m a control freak and I have a need to please (neither of which have anything to do with why I called her, but at least I know I can always count on a few extra pearls of wisdom every time we speak).After hanging up the phone, I finally felt the strength of my English degree come through as I scrutinized and dissected the deeper meaning of my Mom’s analysis, bringing some welcome relief to my troubled mind with the answer to my (in)activities (which, thankfully, has nothing to do with my self-esteem, my childhood or my need for pain) – I’m lazy. Meredith Cohen’s Yom Kippur fast went especially well on Thursday since she didn’t feel like figuring out what to eat for lunch anyway. Questions or comments may be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
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