Saturday, April 30, 2011

Patience is not My Virtue

I totally freaked out when I went to see W today. I knew that things had changed given my new exercise routine and the continuous studying. I didn’t need to go to her to confirm that I had lost muscle mass. I guess I should be relieved that I hadn’t gained any weight, but I still felt frustrated. I had been working so hard and was making such good progress and now this writing has set me back. W was wonderful, as usual. She’s been so supportive and encouraging. She gave me some good advice and once again got me to focus on my nutrition since I just haven’t been able to put as many hours at the gym as I’d like to. At the same time, she tried to convince me that cutting back to only 1.5-2 hours at the gym was actually a normal routine. She didn’t convince me, but I appreciate her effort.

Do I sound foolish? Does the outcome of getting my PhD sound like a much bigger achievement than continuing toward my fitness goal? Perhaps. Perhaps not. It’s all a matter of perspective and priorities, isn’t it? I know what I’m doing is important – and I (think I) know that the progress I am making, both in terms of my writing and my fitness, is fine given the circumstances but still – I’m frustrated. It’s emotionally exhausting – and you have to understand that this emotional worry has an effect on my writing as well.

I know I just need to be patient and stick to the program. I can’t/shouldn’t let little obstacles (i.e. life) set me back. I know I can’t operate in a vacuum and in control of all the variables … but still. Being patient and sticking to the plan is definitely more difficult than I thought it would be.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

One of those days ...

Today was one of those days … you know the days I’m talking about. Those days when everything is actually kinda ok, but at the same time everything is slightly off sync – just enough to throw you off balance and make even the smallest of tasks feel like a struggle.

I hadn’t slept well and ended up waking up earlier than I would have liked. I decided to try to do a bit of reading – I managed to get through the article, but I didn’t feel like I had gained anything from it – what a waste of time. I couldn’t decide whether or not to go to the gym. I wanted to … but I didn’t feel like it. Still, I got my things together and went. I finished my routine – but every step was a drag and every rep was exhausting. It just felt like I was going through the motions with no emotion behind my actions. As I said – absolutely exhausting. With this type of start to my day I was totally dreading facing my class. I just printed off a worksheet for them to complete and stood there for 2 hours, staring at them. More wasted time.

I was somewhat consoled by JH in the afternoon when he told me that there were days that he struggled with his workout as well. I would have never imagined … so at least I felt like I wasn’t alone. I decided to use that bit of motivation to get some writing done. I wrote a few pages and then decided to take a break and check my emails. Bad move. More distressing news about my aunt’s deteriorating health. It’s the helplessness really that gets to me. What can I do to make her feel better or to cheer her up? It seems like an impossible situation.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Rumor Has It ...

My oh my. Won't locker room rumors and gossip just make you blush?!
You'd be amazed at what's said in there -- and about who it's being said!

Now, I'm not one to spread or believe rumors, but I am guilty of not turning away when something is being said to me. Maybe it's because I seem a bit uninvolved in the social politics of what goes on at the gym that people seem to have opened up to me – I really don't know what it is that makes them talk, but boy have I heard a lot! Most often the source prefaces the statement with 'I'm not sure, but I heard ...' but there are quite a few times when they're making an outright statement of 'fact.' There are definitely a few that I've heard lately that I know are not true ... and there are others that would be amusing if indeed they were true ... and still others that I hope are not true!
How do these rumors start and what possesses people to start them? I think it's just to get a reaction out of people - and perhaps catch a hint from the reactions about whether or not the rumor is true. Most of the rumors really are just speculations about what quieter (but popular) members of the gym are really like/what they really do/who they are really into or with ...

I think I should take a moment to distinguish between rumors and gossip. When I say rumors, I’m referring to things I’ve heard from others – usually as statements of fact. They’re usually those absurd statements that you hear from some random person … they may make you stop and think, but I think those outlandish claims are the easy ones to just shrug off and ignore. They’re often tempting to hear but usually difficult to believe …

Gossip, on the other hand, is just talk – speculation, if you will. We tend to keep the gossip among just our circle of friends and save our observations and speculations as an inside joke that we can refer to for a pick me up – it’s harmless and not really to be shared with the public – A quote by Erica Jong comes to mind: “Men have always detested women's gossip because they suspect the truth: Their measurements are being taken and compared.” ~ How’s that to spread a bit of paranoia and speculation?

And the gossip and rumors continue …

~ Did you know that she’s bulimic?
~ I heard he takes steroids.
~ She says she’s single, but she’s really not.
~ I heard he’s quite the womanizer.

… whether you like it or not.

I know that there are some people who are definitely very careful about what they say, who they are seen talking to, and even when they wear at the gym … and then there are others who don’t care what others are saying about them. I think the one thing that I have found out is that people will talk no matter what efforts you think you’re making to avoid drawing attention to yourself. I think it really is best to just ignore what’s being said and continue to be however you are most comfortable with yourself … because no matter what, those rumors will spread …

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Tango and Trance

I’ve been having trouble finding my focus while writing. Part of it has to do with being stuck at home, at my desk – the same surrounding day after day. It’s making me feel a bit claustrophobic. I would study elsewhere, but frankly, I find it quite distracting. The noise of coffee shops – plus all the distractions with people walking in and out as well as inevitably running into a few people that I know – doesn’t help me concentrate. I wish there was a nice library where I could just go and work peacefully for a few hours – proper desks and chairs and an inspiring ambiance. Kuwait’s national library is supposed to be opening soon – but I hope that I’ll be done with my PhD by the time it actually opens. In any case, I think the stage I’m at in terms of my writing prevents me from working anyplace other than home. I need to have my books/research articles at hand as well as all my notes and research diaries. It doesn’t make sense (nor is it really possible) to lug them around where I go. Anyway, I really can’t complain about my home office – it’s absolutely ideal. I’ve got everything I need organized just the way I want it … so it’s really just about being able to mentally focus without getting bored or distracted … and to do that, I turned to music.

I remember once upon a time when I absolutely could not work without music. It was everything to me – and it helped motivate and inspire me. Unfortunately, I had been having a bit of trouble finding the right type of music to listen to while working on my thesis. I found all my favorite songs to be distracting … classical music and other instrumentals were a bit boring … and then I hit the jackpot with Tango music and Trance music.

Odd combination, isn’t it? But it worked perfectly for me.

The soulfulness of the tango tunes and the hypnotic effect of the trance beats put me in the perfect zone.

[Suggested Albums: La Revancha Del Tango (Gotan Project) and 40 Summer Trance Hits 2009 (Various artists)]