My Roxette inspired post title today is both cheesy and dated (and yes, perhaps revealing too much of my limited musical education), but I think it reflects an important idea that too few of us tend to heed: that only you can know what's right for you.
I started thinking about this when I realised just how many physical symptoms of angst started to manifest when I realised I had to sit down and finish off some outstanding academic work. I won't say what it is, but it is something that really must be done by a certain deadline (not an internally imposed one that I have created). It won't take me long, and indeed, after finally getting around to starting it, I am flying through what I need to do. So really, why I am I finding it so physically painful to get through?
Here is a rough summation of how my afternoon has gone:
First, I turned the laptop on. Queue stomach grumbling about needing food. Ok, so break for lunch.
Second, I sit down to begin. Uh oh, need a drink of water. Away from the computer again.
Third, five minutes in and I already have a pain in my neck. Lots of shifting around trying to comfortable.
Fourth, twenty minutes in I start getting cold. Spend five minutes wrapping myself in multiple layers.
And so on and so on. Either hot or cold, shoulder and/or neck in pain and either need more food or water...
I have been forcing myself through my list of things to do with grim determination because the sooner I get it done, the sooner I am free to do more fun things. But all of this procrastinating about my physical comfort has made me realise that what it really is about is that I just don't want to do this stuff anymore.
I am pretty sure that it's not something that's task specific, because working on a computer is something that I do for my paid job too. I think it's something more to do with the mental burden of having to continue with this particular academic task. Clearly, the emotional strain of having to continue with something that I have already moved on from is manifesting in physical ways.
While my years of disciplined writing mean that I will continue, no matter what, and finish this damn task, the few months of freedom from such discipline have forced me to realise that listening to what my body/soul/psyche/mind/instinct is really telling me is hard to do when immersed in externally and arbitrarily created goals that are imposed on me by a system not of my own making. One of the joys of being free from academic life is being able to focus more clearly on what it is that I want to do. Current incomplete tasks notwithstanding.