Like most 20-something’s attending post-secondary institutions, my time wanes and fluxes. In other words, there are periods of great desperation and flood, and there are also periods of great emptiness and drought. There is very little in between times when you feel totally lost as to whether “you should be doing work and you just can’t remember it” or “it’s actually the right time to slack off and you really have nothing due anyway”.
There are 2 times, and I am absolutely revelling in the second.
All semester, I’ve been running from conference to job to second job to volunteer position to bar to computer to school. It’s been hectic. But I did it, and these 3 weeks off are a huge pat on the back for me. I planned to specifically do nothing but what I enjoy and rustle up some mega-important masters applications, which have been giving me anxiety attacks since mid-October.
I put my tutoring on hiatus (all my students! One by one!), took an obvious break from my “real job”, was released from the bane of my second last semester of my undergrad, stopped writing and thinking (mainly), and gave up showering. It feels, if a little oily, completely wonderful. I’ve already slept in till 11 am and stayed up till 4 am all by my lonesome, and being the sort of narcissist that couldn’t ask for anything better than some alone time with my sexy self, enjoyed the shit out of the whole process. I’m about half of the way through a huge knitting project that will hopefully be done for Russian Christmas (Jan 7) for my grandmother, and I’ve absolutely barreled through all 4 seasons of Vampire Diaries since the end of classes. I’m also on the 3rd and utterly wonderful season of Glee, which I spent years slightly disliking from afar.
In fact, “disliking from afar” is how most of my great love affairs with TV shows begin. I hated The OC, and couldn’t stand One Tree Hill. I thought Weeds was badly sarcastic and Glee was overrated. That being said, I’ve still read and watched the Twilight books and LOVED every one of the TV shows I just listed. I have a tendency, unlike some of my close friends, to dislike everything that becomes a fad. The easiest way to decrease my desire to watch something is by saying “OMG, this show is like the best – everyone says so.”
I hate what everyone says – that is one of the high school characteristics I possessed that has stayed intact through my young adulthood. But I was so wrong about Vampire Diaries, and I was so so so wrong about Glee.
Vampire Diaries is a lot more upbeat and exciting and, let’s be real, beautiful, than True Blood, which I also marathoned (probably during exam time) this year. And I had to weirdly accept the fact about myself that I found the incestuous Stefan-Elena-Damon thing super hot. Weirdly and slowly, but I did, and I haven’t looked back.
Glee is just fucking awesome. I watch the show with my 11-year-old sister and just sigh with relief when the show touches on important and delicate topics in a realistic and helpful way. Disability, gender, sexuality, religion, identity, culture – it’s all there. It’s all there, it’s all real, and it SINGS.
What I find odd about my love for these TV shows and projects and even how I go about relaxation (bad parallelism!) is the way I go about getting involved in them. TV shows are just one example of a, what could I call it, personality trait, I guess.
I put in 150% at the start, and push through until death (or completion).
If I’m watching a show, I watch 4 seasons in a week. If I’m knitting a blanket that takes about 80 hours of work, it’ll be done in 4 days (24 x 4 = 96 : 16 hours of sleep in 4 days). If I join a club, I want to be president. If I get hired for a job, I create a plan to revolutionize the workplace (!) within a month. I analyze. I assess. I do.
If something disturbs me in the middle of the project, however, it might lie unfinished forever.
If I had to name this, I would call it project-based obsession. Maybe it’s just the way my brain works, but I haven’t convinced myself that it’s the best way for it to work yet. I’ve just rolled with it. For example, it’s the reason that I have a lot of trouble (amongst other obstacles) reading books that don’t interest me from the beginning. I still persevere, but I’ve been “reading” Emma by Austen since my trip to Europe in May, and I’m no farther along. The only progress I made was when I had whole stretches of hours to read on the plane and on transport in Germany; ie. when I had no other distractions. Same thing with In The Skin of A Lion by Ondaatje: I always throw it in my purse on my way to school or work, but find the content too hard to slip into on a bumpy and uber-early bus ride.
What I’m trying to say is: I’ve found that my “project-based” obsessions can be really healthy and helpful when I’m focusing on work, but sometimes very distracting when my attention is diverted onto other things. For example, Sims3. Or my new Wii. Or sleeping and wearing pajamas. All day, every day until January 7th. Eep.