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|Written by Culture Staff|
|Friday, 30 September 2011 12:08|
This month, we asked the writers what responsibility have you been avoiding lately?
Does this ever happen to you: you take on an extra activity of some kind and the rest of your life sort of goes to shambles? Within the past couple of months I have signed on to a fitness/nutrition regimen that has taken over my life. It's beneficial to be sure, but also has left me with little time to write anything for (Cult)ure, have personal relationships, or sit around and watch the massive amount of new fall TV (which is necessary to my pithy bonmots in this publication). Not to mention that I think my boss might be catching on to the fact that every day I either arrive a bit late, leave a bit early, or take a long lunch. And yet headlines and news briefs still perpetually broadcast the increasing obesity issue in Western society and how every extra pound takes years off our lives, making me want to scream "I can't try any harder, damn you!" at the media at large. Sigh. I thought exercise was supposed to make you less stressed?
I have been avoiding committing lately. I blame feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work I have for school, so instead of being my industrious self I tend to do the bare minimum and then sit and stare into blank space thinking about all the other, more productive things I should be doing. I know I would feel better about myself if I got off my ass and did something, but for some reason I don't feel like deciding what, specifically, I should be doing out the myriad of possibilities. I also tend not to make plans with friends because I just don't want to have to make decisions in any capacity. Sure, my lack of commitment means I get to watch a lot of TV, which is just great, but when I have 25 books I need to read and 7 papers to write, it just isn't the best choice.
As a part time student, it's my responsibility to remain diligent in keeping up with my program (the ever-sexy Canadian Studies). As a full time employee, it's my responsibility to ensure my people are happy and our programming initiatives are successful. As a person who aims to retain some semblance of a healthy lifestyle (I feel you, Emily!), I try to exercise four times a week and eat well and get some fresh air and then there's the whole relationship business, with possibly a sliver of free time (and a new television season) squeezed in there somewhere. I can handle the regular stuff, but all of my attempts to stay on course for my PhD get re-routed into a Twilight zone filled with excuses, lack of motivation and sobbing fits in public spaces. In short, my responsibilities freaking exhaust me! I can't wait until human cloning is perfected so that I can breed a smarter (but obedient) version of myself to tackle the crappy comprehensive exam I simply can't be bothered to get excited about. Until then look out for the person crying and muttering to themselves on the O-train-that's probably me.
Well, since Lauren came forth with what is also my dirty little secret I guess I'll have to reveal my other irresponsibility. Some of you may know that my husband and I are now doing the responsible adult thing. We're looking for a house. Let's pretend I'm not afraid of the fact that the bank will own my soul for the next thirty years, or that I will have to hang up my vagabond's hat and stay put for several years. Yes, let's avoid all that and get to the real root of the problem: looking for a house. The sheer thought of rifling though all the listings, organizing appointments, driving to all corners of the Ottawa Valley only to be disappointed by another house whose pictures lied, lied to us is not my idea of a fun experience. It gets in the way of my dancing, of my (currently inexistent) writing, and my evening social hour with all those friends who think I've fallen off the face of the Earth. Bless my husband's heart for putting up with the child-like tantrums that seem to spew from me every time he tells me there are another million listings he's found that I should look through. Bless my realtor's heart for watching me drag my heels from house to house as if this is some form of grown-up detention. Bless all of you for nodding empathetically. The idea of owning a home? Beautiful. The actual process of getting that done? Not so much.
The responsibility that I have been avoiding is...caring about the provincial election.
I seem to become less interested in politics the closer it gets to me (and ironically the more it may actually impact my life). The heroes and villains on the international stage, your Kim Jongs, Gaddafis, and Berlusconis-the veritable Hulk Hogans and Andre the Giants of politics-captivate me the same way the WWF did when I was an 8, while Canadian federal politics provides an even enough blend of the boring and comically absurd-ie, long form census fiascos and potash squabbles-that I can care about it enough to maintain a surface knowledge of the issues at hand. By the time you get down to local politics, well I won't even get into it cause just thinking about the word "Alderman" makes me want to take a nap.
This brings me to the upcoming provincial election. The Big To-Do. I tried to listen to the leaders' debate from the radio the other night, but all it revealed is how low caliber the candidates are-Hudak and Hogwash reciting made-up exchanges they had with nameless "people on the street"- c'mon! It's like trying to get interested in a junior C level hockey game after watching the 2010 gold medal match.
So I am afraid that, due to my avoidance of provincial political coverage, I will be heading to the ballot box next Thursday a criminally uninformed, irresponsible voter (and the references I've used above probably reveal the true grounds behind my ignorance...). Shame on me!
I have the same problem as Emily, in that I have thrown myself into one hobby/responsibility to the detriment of any and all others. It's roller derby, and, while the light tends to go out in people's eyes just a teeny bit when I clarify that I am a referee, it's still a big time commitment and a lot of work (especially with our girls. Whoo, RVRG!). See, the problem is, I love roller derby. I don't have to work away games, but I chose to go to all of them this year. I don't have to be on any committee, so why am I on three? Because I love it. But maybe someday I will also love picking up my clothes off the ground or extending my cleaning beyond the bathroom and kitchen. On the other hand, in high school, my since-kindergarten best friend expressed surprised that my childhood bedroom's carpet colour was white...because she had never seen the carpet before. So, you know, baby steps.
You know, I couldn't think of something to write in last month's group work and I'm not feeling inspired for this one, either. Oh, the agony of feeling like I'm shirking my duty to my fellow writers is cutting! The sense of needing to participate with all of you, such a heavy weight! Yet, don't take offense, this is all my own internal insanity. I'm actually building a kind of intentional pressure to participate in the world these days. I seemts I need to get out there and mingle with the people, even eventually stopping to refer and divide between myself and "the people". I'm not there yet, so "the people" it is. I'm getting there. I'm writing this. Such relief to meet this simple task! Now, to get off my email and actually finish my assignment due today...
I have quite a simple responsibility that I've been neglecting lately, but upon reflection it has some serious implications. It involves vegetables. This summer, for the third year in a row, I signed up-and paid $275 of my hard-earned money-to participate in a vegetable CSA (community-supported agriculture) enterprise. Every two weeks, from June to October, I bike over to the pick-up location, and stuff my panniers full of greens, tomatoes, zucchinis, and all sorts of other local, organic, fresh, delicious produce. And every two weeks, when I get home and go to put my new vegetables in the fridge, I have to pluck out the limp, browning remnants of the previous delivery. Now, I'm not wasting everything-I have no problem making salads out of the greens, and putting tomato slices in my sandwiches-but I have yet to use any of the zucchinis, and I haven't the faintest idea what to do with a turnip. My lame excuse is that "I don't really know any good recipes," and "don't have time" to experiment with new ones. But when I think about the good money I'm tossing in the trash (hmm, I can just hear my father's voice when I write that), and all the people going hungry in the world-it really is time I got online, googled "zucchini loaf," and just ate my damn vegetables!
Thinking about what responsibilities I was shirking made me depressed, so I decided to focus on the responsibilities that I haven't been neglecting lately.
1) My boyfriend and I cleaned our apartment for 10 collective hours on a weeknight after learning our cat had fleas
2) I went to the bank! This is a much bigger deal than you may think it is, because I am l-a-z-y.
3) I stopped drinking Pepsi because it translates directly into an inner tube of fat around my belly. This was hard and sad, but good for me.
4) I wrote two articles for the magazine this month!
5) I cleaned the fridge and scrubbed bathroom grout
Now, if I could just make the list longer...
I feel like I have been irresponsible with meeting deadlines. Every month I psyche myself up to submit a week before deadline, and every month (without fail) I submit hours before the deadline (sorry April!). I will do better in October (I hope)!
It might be faster to answer with what I haven't been avoiding, but I'll give it a proper go anyways. I have really been avoiding my writing lately. I am not too sure why, but I can't bring myself to sit down and write a damn thing. No articles, no cover letters and resumes-not so much as a response to a birthday message on facebook. Blame it on the curse of post-grad unemployment (10 months and counting), but I am feeling particularly uninspired and under-enthused about writing anything these days. Perhaps it will just take a particularly rousing episode of The Good Wife, Community or the mid-season return of Cougar Town (and the pounding grape that accompanies it) to call my keyboard back to action, but for the time being, I am just not finding much to say.
Tags: academia induced depression, ask the writers, deadlines, eat your vegetables, fleas, getting shit done, health nuts, home ownership, o train, obsession, ontario election, ottawa, responsibility, roller derby, shirking, skiving, tv, unemployment, writing