Existence, Humor, Philosophy, Problems to Solve, Prose, Thinking, Writing

Is this burn out?

I awoke to the hollow clang of an empty gas tank.

Too much. Can’t focus. 

This feeling of just-let-me-sleep-more always catches me off guard. I don’t expect it when it hits me. I suppose it’s nice that I can write it down here. Not a complaint, but a mere exhalation of life onto a page.

I like how I can find metaphors from everything around me to describe my experiences. I’m climbing a hill, or crawling through a dark underground hole–and you know what I’m talking about. I’m burned-out and slogging along through the mud trying to finish the simple daily tasks beset in front of me, that only yesterday seemed trivial.

Funny thing is, I know tomorrow or even 5 minutes from now, I’ll have the fire again. I don’t know where it comes from: inspiration. An intake of air that propels you forward through the day, the minutes and seconds of experience.

So I patiently wait for it, inspiring oxygen (the non-metaphorical kind), and doing what needs to be done through habit. The emotion and drive behind it, a simple twitch of muscle.

I’m an academic….maybe it’s mental fatigue. If I dig through my ear canals, I may find soot and ash. I drove this car fast and hard. Time to park this vehicle I drive in my head on a parking lot in a fancy exotic place. My bed sounds nice.

But really, I suppose it’s not burn-out. I’m stable on solid ground. I just want to do something different. So many of the same tasks ahead of me. Done that, been there. Tedium. I’ve lost the thrill.

Yet, I know, I’ve heard some wisdom on this:

“Let the thrill go — let it die away — go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow — and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time.” C.S. Lewis wrote.

 

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Compassion, Existence, Faith, Philosophy, Prose, Thinking, Wisdom, Writing

A Reflected Creator

Another day in the life of a neuroscientist. I’m sick with a cold. A viral infection that’s on extended vacation inside my body. How often do we get an illness and not realize that these battles within us are life-or-death.

Life for us, death for the pathogen.

This physical realm we live in is full of dangers and mortal threats. Our resilience as flesh and blood is only our ability to cope with these threats. The cells in our bodies regenerate. The immune system adapts to new invaders.

It’s war.

Then, there’s the psychological warfare with have within ourselves (ugh). This unrestrained need to survive and build ourselves up with emotional walls of stone and mortar. We are rocks unto ourselves with the single goal of making sure we aren’t ground into sand.

If all this strife is true, constant and never-ending, then kindly wake me up because this world sucks in reality.

No wonder I dream. No surprise I love stories and movies and all manner of created fictions. These fantastic tales and higher purposes we look up to are amazing and required for us to feel safe and secure.

As I am hungry, I search for food. If I am thirsty, I find drink. If I am sad, I find a friend. All physical realities that can be reached.

But what if the object I’m searching for is a fiction, an imagined thing? Am I in a fruitless search?

I suppose the only way I could find it, is to create my heart’s content. I’ll sculpt it out of clay. I’ll paint it with wonderful colors; azure, crimson, and sunshine yellows. Flesh tones and brown inks. I’ll make it beautiful and love it because I made it to fill up my longing for the simple desire to create.

My heart and mind is that of a creator. Ironically, this gives me joy.

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Coffee, Diet, Food, Humor, Vegan

Bright, Sunny, Egg-less

I’m a whole-foods vegan. Temporarily. Just going to try this for 28 days with my wife and see how it goes. Well, only for 3 days now and I’ve got to say that I’m feeling the internal difference. I’m on the verge of my seat whenever my colleagues at work bring in their bacon cheese burgers for lunch (with french fries). There was an ache in my chest the other day; took me a moment to realize it was the pain of not having any ketchup in my diet. Ugh, I love ketchup.

Then, I found myself day dreaming while at my computer doing some work that I was walking to the hospital cafeteria. Row upon row of sloppy joes, taco Tuesday specials, and cold-cut submarines served by gentle elderly servers flashed before me. And I got these sudden headaches; I just wanted to lie down.

Are these symptoms of withdrawal?

This, I could learn to enjoy!

As part of this diet, we are choosing to avoid foods that came from anything that could have moved in its past life. I tried to make the argument that eggs shouldn’t be a part of the diet (it doesn’t move), but then I realized my empirical way of making-sense doesn’t always work against my wife. She’s a smart lady. Eggs, she says, are moving because they are inside the body of an animal that moves, hence, the eggs move by default.

A losing battle, for sure. Well, on the bright sunny egg-less side, we have been having….what shall we say? Healthy movements more than twice a day.

Oh, and I can still drink coffee, so all is good!

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Existence, Memory, Thinking, Video games, Writing

Me, Matured?

I’ve lost my mojo for video games. I used spend time and money on video games, more than some, less than others. Nonetheless, I find now in my 30’s that games in general don’t excite or thrill me as they once have. Funny too, as I think the video games nowadays are more action-packed, more intense, and more realistic.

It’s pretty incredible how far the video game industry has come since the days of pong or pac-man. Then, a few pixels on a screen moving about by the simple manipulation of a joystick and a button drew the attention of so many, thousands. People would stand in line at the arcades to get at the newest games. I remember walking through shopping malls and seeing video arcades jam-packed with kids of all ages, from 5 to 50.

Gone are those days. Now, we have video games that have literally millions of pixels projected at speeds that are faster than our nervous systems can process. The games are smooth, real-looking, and even sound realistic. The musical scores in some of the fantasy/sci-fi games just blow my mind. I bet only a few years ago, buying an album with some of these orchestral arrangements would have cost a pretty penny–no game attached–and they would have sold well.

What’s next, implants?

Oh, did I mention that instead of a single joystick, we have controllers that have 3 – 4 input “sticks”, and more than 8 buttons. Some games even require the use of all these discrete inputs activated simultaneously or in specific combinatorial sequences. It’s complicated unless you know what you’re doing. Even experienced gamers, like myself, may still have to endure a steep learning-curve to get good at some challenge.

Then, the range of games is mind-boggling. Whoa! Role-playing, strategy, shooters, etc., and then for the crazies, there’s the online multiplayer games. I’m not even going to bother listing them. So many!

Yes!

It’s like pizza. I used to love pizza. But despite all the toppings and combinations of what you can get on a pizza nowadays, I’m simply not motivated to partake in the yummy dough baked cheesy goodness that is pizza. Despite the rise in the quality and intensity of the modern video game. I find myself thinking I need to spend my time in other things.

Video games aren’t pizza, but maybe it’s because I’m trying to consume a healthier diet in what my body (and mind) take in. Whatever the reason, I’m maturing and it’s weird.

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Existence, Poetry, Writing

Yellow Special

A lot can happen at the wee-hours of the morning. Even now, an orange glow seeps through my curtained window. The sun has risen and I’m prepared to drive to work.

Interesting? Heck no. But, it makes me think. Dawn brings something that 9 am doesn’t. It’s a new kind of beauty that most people don’t see or enjoy. This simple sight, a horizon set ablaze, and a smell of fresh air (not the garbage truck!).

I’m having a good cup of coffee (the freeze dried stuff, yummmm) and watching the day arrive. Hmm…I’m not sure what this even means, but it’s poetic isn’t it:

Sunrises are a special kind of yellow.

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Existence, Food, Humor, Problems to Solve, Relationships, Wisdom, Writing

Dude, that’s boring!

It’s that time of day again. Lunch break. I’ll just feed the blank page some litter before I head out.

I eat hospital food, nearly everyday; honestly though, it ain’t so bad. Only problem is that it doesn’t change.

The same! 

Oh, how ridiculous we are, humans! Yes, I’ll pose the question of why this is so; this tendency to avoid boredom and tedium we have. It is our desire for

–wait, no! It is more an unbridled, burning need for adventure. We need adventure so badly. If we can’t get it by traveling into outer space, climbing to the top of a mountain, then by any means necessary, we’ll get it–through our taste, smell, sight, and sound.

Adventure: this is the undiscovered country, or the story that has yet to begin and has no ending. We seek it and don’t even know what it is. It is an unnamed journey for things unseen. Why do we crave such intangibles in our lives, an infinite motivation that drives us to break routines. Adventure compels us to leave safety and security.

Maybe, I’m a bit melodramatic. But, we do love stories, fact or fiction, or somewhere in between. We’ll gobble it up and spit it out in favor of the next one. Actors and actresses appear on a screen, and live out a fallacious life, and we praise them as heros, worshipping with our limited attention.

The inner drive…. for something new. I’m about to head to the hospital cafeteria. Same old, same old. Time to find me some adventure in a bottle, Tabasco!

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Compassion, Philosophy, Relationships, Wisdom, Writing

A Change Within

I’ve changed.

I woke up and checked the news as I do every morning. There is so much bad news amidst the daily stories posted on CNN or FoxNews. Oddly enough, it has begun to affect me. In the past, I would glance through these stories and happen upon one that I thought was interesting. I’d read it, then walk away.

Now I’ll go through the stories and a feeling of disgust or revulsion would wash over me. I will consciously say to myself that there is so much bad news. Where’s the good stuff?

I don’t know what has happened within me. I’ve changed. I know it’s me and not the world. The content of the news hasn’t changed.

No such thing as new “…news, just old news to new people”, I recall someone saying.  Perhaps it has gotten worse, but not so much that the bad news would alone move me. No, I think something clicked on the inside not too long ago.

I’m now more sensitive to these stories of trauma and human suffering. The world is broken into small glass shards, and I’ve finally felt what it’s like to be cut and bloody.

Some may say this is a sign of maturity. I’ve identified with the world around me and I can see our reality, a flickering high-contrast picture, flesh and blood. I don’t like it, yet there is no escape. Try as I may, I’m here now. I suppose my job is to be still and know this is it, until a new day comes.

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