Here I am on the afternoon of the eve of my 37th birthday and considering running 37 miles tomorrow simply because I can. To say that I have an obsessive personality is accurate. I tend to fill my plate with as many things as I can and hope that I can make everything happen in the time that I have allotted for it. September through December 2018 were probably the busiest that I have allowed myself to get in recent memory, taking on a side job timing races, directing/producing a musical at work, working with Spiderweb Salon, creating and choreographing and performing in a puppet theatre piece for Cirque du Horror and getting in shape for running my first successful 50 miler attempt on top of co-directing and timing two races and preparing for a third all while keeping my children and wife and dogs mostly happy. Easy, right? All of these things are byproducts of how I define myself (educator, artist, athlete) but piled up together, it looks and sounds like a lot.
One of the byproducts of being so busy, strangely, is that I have been isolating a lot. Last summer I found myself in a pretty deep hole from a mental health perspective and struggled to get my shit together before I started another year teaching. I didn’t really talk to anyone in my life about what was going on and relied on a therapist to talk me through the bulk of the stuff that had finally made it back to the surface. I have a history of mental illness in my family and so I wasn’t really surprised that I had to deal with it, just not what I expected. My wife helped me put my head back on straight and we built out an office space for me in the garage so that I had a space where I could work and create and be messy and loud, and while I feel like I started the fall semester in the best mental space that I had in a long time, I let my outlets get away from me. I stopped making time to write, I didn’t pick up my guitar like I do most summers, I didn’t start singing again and I felt like I was tapped out, nothing left in the tank that anyone would want to read, hear or even waste time on.
Negative self talk is something that I counsel my students against but I have a habit of not listening to my own advice. So here is an effort to get things moving in the right direction.