Tuesday, September 22, 2015

On emails, solitude, and alarms

Some days it's easier to choose to be happy than other days. Some days the happiness just comes, and other days I have to fight for it. It's worth fighting for, I think.

I'm finding my happy this week by cleaning out my email inbox at work. I am determined to get it down to one page. I have it down to 285 emails, which is practically a record for me. It usually hovers closer to 1000. I need to be better about deleting things as they come in. I think part of the issue is that I'll hit reply, type my response, then hit send. The email swooshes off and I move on to the next one, leaving that original message lingering on my inbox. "Oh haaaaay. Ima just hang out here and move on down the line as more messages come in, so in three months you can read me again and ask yourself why in the hell you kept me." That's a lot of those. I wonder if there's a setting I can change in Outlook that gives me the option to delete or file messages immediately upon response. There has to be. I can't be the only person dealing with this.

Last night I decided that I'd try the second night in a row without the sleep aid. I've been on it for a year now and it definitely does the trick, and I have this nice little routine where I follow all the rules and don't stare at a backlit screen right before bed and I go to sleep when I'm tired and not fall asleep on the couch and no caffeine after 1 p.m. etc. Yeah, turns out all that is bullshit. I need meds to sleep. Once again I could not turn my brain off. I ended up wide awake at 10:45, so I read some more. I finished the spring Missouri Review, which was a stupid thing to read all at once because the whole issue's theme was Loners and it was depressing as hell. Every single character was alone and struggling and unhappy. Major downer. I kind of suspected that going in, since it was easy to see the theme on the cover in bold letters, but I plowed through anyway. I like to start and finish things uninterrupted. I don't want to read a story in this issue, and flip over to another issue or even another journal, but I should have known better.  I thought it was interesting that most of the main characters were women.

Not that I think being alone is bad. I think being alone is important to most people, and especially to me. And especially because I so rarely get alone time. Solitude is incredibly powerful. I know people who struggle with solitude, who can't stand the silence. To me, it's magical, and reformative, and healing. The people I know who struggle with solitude are all women. Is this innate? Are men better equipped to handle solitude? Or do I just know the women better who struggle with it?

The maintenance men are back in my office. The fire alarm system, conveniently located above my desk, has been going off randomly and regularly the past few weeks. It's been annoying, and pretty symbolic for what's going on in my head, actually. 


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