Friday, 30 November 2007

Bah Humbug!

Yesterday my friend Babs dropped by on a whim. I was right in the middle of a very taxing game of Spider Solitaire (when I should have been working) and the house was a tip, so I was a little off my guard.

As we sat at my grubby table, surrounded by my books, nursing hastily-prepared cups of coffee, Babs told me that her family had all suffered from a flu bug that apparently " makes you think everyone hates you" (that's a virus??). I've been really grumpy ( I mean really grumpy) lately, but I'm not sure I can put it down to a virus.

Last Friday, I came away from my second supervision session with the biggest dark cloud over my head. My supervisor had been quite enthusiastic. He could see how I could rework my thesis and had even written out the bones of a structure. On the face of it, that's exactly what I had hoped he would do and I should have been excited. The problem is, my brain is simply not agile enough to cope with new things - like people dropping by unexpectedly or different perspectives being thrown into the mix. I couldn't for the life of me see where he was coming from and it threw me into a panicky state of confusion.

Then, I made the mistake of looking at some of the comments he'd made on the prehistoric draft I'd given him. Simple comments like "what do you mean by this?" or "what is the process of adoption?" sent me into a negative whirl of self-chastisement (why on earth didn't I find that out?) and unnecessary catastrophising ('It's hopeless! The fieldwork is useless, it'll never be good enough').

I've calmed down a little and am coming round to his point of view, but I'm still very crotchety.

The other thing which might account for my churlish gloom is the time of year. I really dislike the run-up to Christmas. For some reason I have a pathological resentment of not only the excessive consumerism, materialism and plain greed that surrounds the 'festive season', but the fact that everyone starts talking about it really really early.

Three weeks ago the checkout girl in Tescos asked me if I'd done all my Christmas shopping. I almost bit her head-off: 'Don't!' I spat 'I refuse to start even thinking about it until at least December and preferably the second week'.

I have a problem with efficiency, booking things early, getting organised in good time and I don't know why. It's something about planning in advance (my mum would always plan far too far in advance and make me commit to things I really didn't want to do) but also something about my particular brain getting easily overloaded.

Despite being a reasonable multi-tasker, my poor noggin cannot take too many things on at once. I do actually physically find it hard to turn my mind to Christmas when it is so far ahead. I like to focus on one immediate and relevant thing at a time. I find the task of picking out good presents and taking the time to trawl the shops really really difficult, so I prefer to dedicate a certain time to do it. - and I'm nearing it now, with dread.

Last night I wrote a scrappy list of possible presents for the ever- burgeoning family of mine including two new nephews and neices and two more birthdays before Christmas. Instead of feeling mildly in control I just sagged in a depressive heap - too little money and too much organising to do. Bah HUMBUG!


Swearing Mother said...

Oh, I know those feeling so well. It somehow seems indecent to be fannying about getting Christmas presents any earlier than the end of November, yet so many smug so-and-so's can't wait to impress you with the fact that they bought their's in the July sales. Big deal.

My reply to that is that I prefer to wait until it feels Christmassy, to enter into the spirit properly when the weather's cold and crispy, rather than trying to get ahead whilst I'm still thinking about summer holidays. It just doesn't seem right somehow.

In truth, it's because I just cannot "get my head around it" until it's an urgent issue, then of course I will do it all, in time, no problem.

It's just not Christmas unless there's a panic. You'll be fine, join the club of people who haven't done a damn thing yet!

Suzy said...

Great writing, it should be called the Run DOWN to Christmas.

I worked at Yale for 23 years and 18 of those years in a Biology lab-
ah, the stories I could tell you about Post docs....There were contests for the longest running graduate students. I think the winner was a 7 year student.
Thesis shit is hard. It's not fun as you see your life flash before your eyes. It markst the end and the beginning of things.

The best thing you can do is just put blinders on and just write, write and write.

Love your posts.


Flowerpot said...

I hate the run up to chrismtas as well - brings out the very worst in me, particjularly as it starts earlier and earlier each year. So sorry to hear you've been feeling grumpy. If it's any consolation I have been UNBEARABLE.

Jen said...

That was a really well-written post - conveys brilliantly how I feel about beinf burdened with Crimbly and all associated stuff.

And don't even mention that unexpected knock on the door. There's nothing that makes my heart sink into the unhoovered carpet faster.

Look on the bright side - another month and it'll all be over. We'll be eating the remains of our chocs and breaking all our New Year's Resolutions already. Hurrah!

Tina said...

I think I am cancelling Christmas. It seems like a lot of trouble. I might have beans on toast for Christmas dinner.

Mid-lifer said...

Swearing mother - yes, it's the smigness that really gets my goat. If I ever buy something in advance - odds are I'll forget all about it and find it years later at the back of my cupboard.

Suzy - thanks. I'm feeling a little more positive now. Just wait till the next supervision session though and I'll be all of a spin again.

Can't believe you'd be unbearable flowerpot!

Jen, Hi, thanks for dropping by. I know it will be over soon, I just dread it before it starts.

Tina - wouldn't it be great....or maybe not. I quite like the actual day, just hate the preparation.

belle said...

I've not yet begun to think about Christmas other than realising that I've done nothing about it. S'spose I should soon I guess ...