Lately I feel like when I am happy and involved in my work, no matter how many hours my workday lasts, and no matter how tired I get, there’s some kind of furnace of joy inside me that keeps me going like a star. I never get sick and I find time for everything, though heaven knows I miss a lot of fun.

And I feel like when this furnace goes out, when work doesn’t stir me and classes lose the intellectual glamor I savor, I swiftly become befuddled and ill.

I go from competent and industrious to confused and headachy. Over the past two weeks, I have missed 1 1/2 humanities lectures, completely due to forgetting that on Fridays I have class at 11:30.

Last weekend some weird bug kept me on my back all day Sunday, unable to keep food down and most grateful for my Netflix subscription. And this week I seem to be one of the first at the college to come down with that unwelcome seasonal visitor, the common cold.

You know the deal. Dry, gaping mouth and stopped-up nose, sneezing wetly into the quiet of the bedroom as the minutes tick by, closer and closer to the time your alarm will usher you into breakfast, classes, the morning hustle you are in no way ready for.

I admit it. I’m in a rut, and a very bad one.

I am missing classes, flubbing tests, rarely leaving the house due to constantly being ill and out of sorts. A good day feels like a sort of compromise between misery and hope.

It’s been a long time coming. The first real sign of it that I remember came this spring, when I lost my taste for caring for my garden, previously a hallowed activity in my life. The garden looks like shit this year, having received the bare minimum of care to not be a total wreck.

And I must also admit that my sweet house, which I once loved with all my heart, no longer brings me joy. I am more and more overwhelmed daily by all the constantly increasing little matters of repair and upkeep that I don’t have the time, knowhow, money or mental focus to deal with right now.

Leaf-stuffed gutters. The mysterious, growing dark stains under the linoleum near the bathtub. The damned bloody leaking skylight, the Moby Dick of my household existence. The tree that needs to be pruned. The broken locks. The dust that gathers in the corners. Cobwebs. Dirty windows too high to reach from the ground. The little things bug me, and the big things, the leaks, are legitimate possible threats to the value and structural integrity of my home.

My old enemy, the forces of decay.

And as I mentioned before, as I have never painted the interior of this house the colors of my choice, nor furnished it properly (my office especially is done in Early Target). Five years on, I still feel that I have never quite moved in.

I used to tell myself that someday, when school was done and I had a proper full-time income and proper not-a-student-anymore free time again, I’d address all these things, and wasn’t I just happy to have this house at all, never-quite-decorated as it is?

Now I think I’m done with that idea. I think I’d take less and find it suited me more.

I’ll likely be in school for years yet, and I need to either creatively start work on turning my house and yard around, or try something new already.

Changes need to be made. The dreaded thing we all must face, the need for change.

My house, my lifestyle, my life, all very likely need to be reworked. And just like my house overwhelms me with all left undone and gone to pot, so too does my life.

My health’s in the toilet. My asthma, aggravated by stress and lack of exercise, got so bad earlier this week that I couldn’t draw a deep breath without a shooting pain in my right shoulder. I figure my lung capacity, which for some reason dwindles when I don’t exercise and let myself fall back into the slough of isolation, is probably close to 60 or 70 percent.

Eat right, exercise, sell my house and start a new house somewhere else. Turn my whole bloody life around when most days I am doing well just to go through the motions. Is that what I need to do?

I feel like I need to have a closeout sale with my own life. Everything must go.

Today I am going to my mom’s pumpkin-carving party, which I’ve been looking forward to for weeks.

I will tell my little East Tennessee fam that I am thinking of selling beautiful Jen Manor for future homesteads still unknown, and also that I cannot get the Peace Corps out of my head. Dr. Allison says their foreign language training is impeccable.

Nice way to pick up a new language, globalize myself a bit, finally see more than my home country. (What I’ll do with my four dear cats, whom I truly love, is a very real concern. But I wonder if a cohousing situation might make it easier to pull up roots for a few years.)

Today the sun is shining after days and days of rain. This weekend is looking to offer the first really cold days of the year, with temps on Sunday night going down to that magic number, 32. Time to bring in the plants.

Last night I went outside just to visit with the moon. Changed and reduced as I am, I am still me. Beautiful Carolina moon, so bright it made sharp-edged leafshadows on the white fabric of my shirt. The night sky that curious blue-white.

I love to step outside and be struck at how bright it is under full moonlight. How well the world is revealed, how bright and strange and rare full moon nights are, how I never tire of them though I get one a month for life.

I am a child of this planet, bred to wonder it at forever, I suppose.

So. I’ve accepted that I am in a terrible rut, no getting out anytime soon, no magic cure, and the three butter rum muffins I ate last night really did not help. Muffins only temporarily relieve me of the knowledge that my choices are A. capitulation and B. making nearly everything different.

While one is certainly easier it stinks like death, or at least like the stack unwashed dishes that accumulates weekly, which I have neither time nor energy to address.

But in life as with dishes, sometimes the only way out is straight through the mess.

One response to “Rut.

  1. Good luck Jennifer.

    P.S. I used to “forget” my boring classes quite frequently. ;-)

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