Long Time, No See

This blog has gone dead in the past month. This was for a variety of reasons. I made a great number of changes in my life this past month, in an attempt to prepare for the great number of changes likely to come in the next few years. I had come to realize that I was growingly unable to cope with the stress of living life. Work has become more demanding, more so even than during the summer. Home was growingly difficult, due to complications in living conditions at our cottage. While much of this has largely been resolved, and resolved quite well, I came to realize that I was more unable to deal with any of it.

So I started imposing order. I created a structure at work to synch up my interactions with other people, allowing for more time for research. I also forced exercise into my day. Every day at 11:30, I change clothes, leave the office, and go running. I’ve averaged between 2-3 miles each time, typically 4-6 times a week (depending on other factors). Tomorrow, I’m even participating in the 4-mile SLAC walk/run, which is going to be great.

A number of realities have finally caught up to me. First, my mother’s heart attack and my sister’s growing dedication to exercise made me want to keep up with my family. I also came to realize that I needed to put all the stress hormones flooding my body into something useful. Stress has started to paralyze me, a state not healthy for a person my age. So I started running. I just started it one day, without too much forethought. That led to foot pain, which led to buying proper running shoes and sweat-wicking socks (solving the pain problem). I settled on a regular route quickly: around the SLAC loop road, into the sector 30 gate, then along the North Access Road to the North Perimeter Road, along that for as long as I can take, and back again.

While it makes my physically tired, I have not been so mentally acute since high school. In fact, in retrospect, it was likely the daily physical activity combined with classwork that made me feel so alert and aware. I abandoned that activity in college, and completely forgot it in grad school. Combined with simply getting out of my twenties, I was getting tired, having a hard time sleeping, and feeling completely unable to handle the stress of everyday life. I was having a hard time seeing how I could continue in physics, without also essentially killing myself slowly.

While I am cautiously optimistic that I am better able to handle stress, I also understand that without diligence it cannot last. I have to keep this up, so much so that it becomes an even more integrated part of my life. Perhaps most satisfying of all is that Jodi finally got her wish: she and I run together on the weekends, something she’s always wanted but never could convince me to do. If I had understood sooner the impact that exercise would have on my mind and emotions, I wouldn’t have shunned it. Exercise is always sold as “good for the body” – but I prefer things good for the brain. Now I get both.

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