After a Day Back at Work [en]

[fr] Journal. Retour au travail, découragement, rythme toujours agréablement ralenti, de la vie seul ou à deux. Et des fumeurs.

Demain, j'écris en français, promis.

A day back at work, or a day back home. It hasn’t been easy, to say the least. I’ve been feeling very discouraged by the state of things and the amount I have to accomplish.

What has changed? I still feel slowed down, in a good way. I’m rushing less. Taking more time to do things. Particularly silly things like make food, brush my teeth, go out on the balcony to look at the storm. Retrospectively, I feel like I used to be rushing around to scrape every minute I possibly could and get back to being “productive”. That’s not exactly what I did, of course (gosh, no), but the fact I remember myself like that pre-holiday is an indicator of my level of stress then.

I’m less stressed. I see a slightly larger picture. You can’t spend days in the mountains and stay stuck to your internal screen. A dear friend of mine showed me that, long ago — with the lake, not the mountains. When anxiety goes up, that life seems too hard, and troubles not manageable anymore, go by the lake and look out. Lots of water, and mountains on the other side. It helps gain some perspective.

A bit like this phrase that hit me, and stuck with me, from [Eight Principles]( “Think about what’s worrying you the most now. A month from now, will it still be important? What about in a year? In ten years? in 100 years — will anybody care?” It helps me not take everything to heart. Everything in my life tends to be a matter of life and death. Dealing with life and death situations from morning to evening is very, very stressful. It takes some effort to remember that these are not life and death situations. They are small problems.

Problems which will not matter much ten years from now, or even a year from now. I’ll have moved on. I always do.

One thing I’ve realized, now that I’m alone with cat again, is how much easier being with somebody makes certain things. Eating, for example. I ate late today. I managed to conjure myself up a nice lunch, but dinner was… well, there wasn’t much in the fridge or cupboards, so I made do with what I could find. When there are two of you, there are two people to think about / provide the impulse for things like shopping, cooking, taking breaks, going to bed, getting dressed.

Alone, it’s all on my shoulders. I have to make all the effort. I have to lead, always, never follow. If I’m hungry, I have to cook — each time. There is no chance for somebody else to say “I’m hungry, let’s make some food” before I’m starving.

It’s a bit (in a positive way) like the mutual encouragement smokers are subject to when there is more than one of them. Being a non-smoker, I’ve often noticed how my smoking friends smoke reasonably little when they’re alone with me, and often more than double when they’re together. Each time one smoker reaches for her pack, the other lights one too. They are not just following their pattern of need/desire, but adding to it that of the other.

Being a social animal has its advantages — saving energy.

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1 thought on “After a Day Back at Work [en]

  1. Il arrive que les décors s'écroulent. Lever, tramway, quatre heures de bureau ou d'usine, repas, sommeil et lundi mardi mercredi jeudi vendredi et samedi sur le même rythme, cette route se suit aisément la plupart du temps. Un jour seulement, le “pourquoi” s'élève et tout commence dans cette lassitude teintée d'étonnement. “Commence”, ceci c'est important. La lassitude est à la fin des actes d'une vie machinale, mais elle inaugure en même temps le mouvement de la conscience. Elle l'éveille et elle provoque la suite. La suite, c'est le retour inconscient dans la chaîne, ou c'est l'éveil définitif. Au bout de l'éveil vient, avec le temps, la conséquence : suicide ou rétablissement. En soi, la lassitude a quelque chose d'écœurant. Ici je dois conclure qu'elle est bonne. Car tout commence par la conscience et rien ne vaut que par elle. Ces remarques n'ont rien d'original. Mais elles sont évidentes : cela suffit pour un temps, à l’occasion d'une reconnaissance sommaire dans les origines de l'absurde. Le simple “souci” est à l’ origine de tout.

    De même et pour tous les jours d'une vie sans éclat, le temps nous porte. Mais un moment vient toujours ou il faut le porter. Nous vivons sur l'avenir : “demain”, “plus tard”, “quand tu auras une situation”, “avec l'âge tu comprendras”, ces inconséquences sont admirables, car enfin il s'agit de mourir. Un jour vient pourtant et l'homme constate ou dit qu'il a trente ans. Il affirme ainsi de sa jeunesse. Mais du même coup, il se situe par rapport au temps. Il y prend sa place. Il reconnaît qu'il est à un certain moment d'une courbe qu'il confesse devoir parcourir. Il appartient au temps et, à cette horreur qui le casait, il y reconnaît son pire ennemi. Demain, il souhaitait, quand tout lui-même aurait du s'y refuser. Cette révolte de la chair, c'est l'absurde.

    Albert Camus, Le Mythe de Sisyphe

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