Energy and distraction

I’m writing this post on Saturday, when I should definitely be working on my finals.

One of the problems I have is that sometimes it’s really hard for me to sit down and work on something. Like my finals. But I’ll be overflowing with energy to work on something else, like the student group that I’m trying to put together to organize Hampshire’s information-based resources.

At times like this, I often feel like I shouldn’t be working. Like, there’s the thing that I’m not working on, and somebody’s eventually going to ask “Why didn’t you work on it,” and if the answer isn’t “I literally couldn’t work on anything” it won’t be good enough. That’s my fear. And if that time comes and what I have to say is “I did this other thing instead,” my failure to complete the thing will be deemed unacceptable.

But that’s the path of spiraling depression and anxiety. My experience has been that whenever I refuse to work on the thing I feel motivated to work on just because I can’t motivate myself to work on the thing I need to get done, I end up triggering a lot of even more terrible shit.

On the other hand, getting things done energizes me. It makes me feel good about myself. And usually the thing that I have the energy for is something actionable, something that I can put into the world, something I’ll feel good about.

Solarpunk Press came out of that. All my best work at the Observer came out of that. All my best work on anything came out of that, because there never isn’t something else I could be doing – there are always things I could point to and say “Because I’m not doing that, I should do nothing.”

But that’s a deeply irrational and self-destructive way of thinking, built on the idea that I’m supposed to find people to subordinate myself to and attempt to act in accordance with the idea that my value to them is my value full stop. (See: Capitalism.)

I’ve written a lot today. I’ve created a lot today. This has been an energetic burst that has left me feeling better about my future here at Hampshire and in general than I would have thought was possible last week. And part of that has been letting my finals crunch get even crunchier, but the way I see it, that was going to happen anyway – my choices today weren’t Work on This or Work on Finals; they were Work on This or Lay in Bed Screaming Internally as Fear and Guilt Worm Their Way Into Every Part Of My Mind.