Tag: mental download

Past my bedtime on a Sunday night

Bad habits I’ve picked up

  • Salting food before tasting it
  • Chewing gum

I’m looking forward to dinner tomorrow. To celebrate coming out on top after some busy weeks, our team is having Mexican food at Covent Garden.

What I got done this weekend

  • Went to the gym twice
  • Booked accommodation for my upcoming trip to Germany
  • Cooked ‘quick meatball casserole’ from my favourite recipe book. Tonight’s dish plus ‘oven baked risotto’ takes me up to 14% of the 101 recipes.
  • Roasted herbed chicken and potatos (with paprika)
  • Did a mega grocery shop
  • Researched and bought an MP3 player
  • Cleared my inbox

Things I didn’t get done

  • Tidy my room
  • Make Greek salad, stuffed peppers, Mapo tofu or sausages in chilli tomato sauce (but I bought the ingredients)
  • Laundry and ironing
  • Getting my hair cut
  • Finish reading Guns, Germs and Steel
  • Process all the photos from my Chinese New Year weekend.

Sarcastic dreaming

I had another bad dream last night.

I was staying in a hotel with my classmates (we must have been on one of our class trips). It was dinner time and I was trying to collect food at the buffet but I kept dropping my plate. I was getting frustrated and hungry.

Finally, I got to the cashier with some food. They told me that they didn’t recycle at all at the hotel.

‘What?’ I said.

The cashier didn’t care. ‘So? Trinity College throws out furniture. That’s worse.’

I stare at him incredulously. ‘Yes. That is worse… And why don’t you steal as well? There are people murdering out there. That’s worse than stealing.’


I had a bad dream last night. I dreamed that I found the perfect place to live in London and when I met the girl I would be living with, she didn’t use punctuation, was a nail technician and charged me £7 to paint one of my nails. I didn’t want to live with her 🙁

I will be living in London from October and have been wasting time, energy and angst looking at rental ads. I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s a waste of my brain space because:

  1. Most of the ads are for moving in this month or next. October ads aren’t out yet.
  2. I’ve only got three more weeks to wait until I hand in my dissertation, then I can look for places to live more productively.
  3. I’ve only got three weeks to write my dissertation.

But my brain! My brain is stuck in a loop! I don’t know how to get out except to just make a decision so I can stop thinking about it. But I can’t make a decision because I keep changing my mind about what I want and there are no October ads yet.

My wish list

  • I can get to work in less than twenty minutes.
  • The neighbourhood is safe.
  • There is a park nearby where I can go for a walk.
  • I do not feel like I’m wasting money.
  • I have intelligent, friendly housemates who use punctuation, aren’t having parties all the time, don’t smoke, and don’t drink themselves silly.

Stop it! Stop it! Stop thinking about it! Aaaaargh!

Frightened and inspired

Emerging from solitary weeks of writing, today I went to the first of three days of our dissertation conference. The thirty-six members of the class are presenting their research to date. Presentations are followed by questions.

I am frightened and inspired at the same time. I’m frightened because of the impressive amount of rigour in other people’s study design. I feel like a fraud in comparison. Somehow, I must persuade others that my results are valid and reliable.

I am also inspired by how interesting and useful people’s research is. For eight hours today, my brain was filled with non-Joan-shaped thoughts and that gave me ideas for my own work. I went home, eager to tweak my presentation, looking forward to my turn to present on Wednesday.

Before I started this course, I knew two things about research: that it often a lonely occupation, and that it is a hard slog. I was warned about this and I have experienced it to be true. I also knew that good research practice includes collaborating with people and sharing ideas to ward off loneliness and stagnation, and that the best way to slog through research is to work nine to five, even in the most uninspired times.

Despite forewarning, I did not follow these two guides and it has been to my detriment. Because I didn’t have the willpower to hack through the lows, I feel the pressure now. Because I am under pressure, I feel like I can’t spend the time to talk to people and socialise. Because I don’t talk to people and socialise, I am unproductive and low.

Maybe this conference, enforced interaction, is what I need to break the cycle.

Joan-shaped thoughts

My thoughts fit into my head comfortably. I’ve had nothing but Joan thoughts for days, maybe weeks. They’re all the same shape, they sound the same, they use the same words. They’re familiar, they don’t challenge me and I’m sick of them the way that one is sick of eating the same food every day.

I had a great day today. I wrote 2,500 words. I went for a walk at the cemetery. While I was there, I realised that the reason I felt so uninspired was because my brain is full of Joan-shaped thoughts, which I forced myself to pursue to wretchedness.

Someone once described to me what it is like when he meditates. It isn’t that his mind is empty. He lets his thoughts enter as usual. The difference is that he watches them drift by without following them. There is no need to follow thoughts. They can come in and leave as they want.

Di told me about a woman who would spill a bowl of rice grains on the floor. She then uses a pair of chopsticks to pick up the grains one at a time. When the bowl was full again, she pours the rice out and starts again.

In the corner of the cemetery, there is a little stone house. I thought a priest lived there because it looked like a miniature church. The house was open today and I went in. It turns out that it is the home and studio of an artist. While I was there, about ten other people came in to look at her prints and sculptures. The patterns in her work helped me not follow my thoughts.

It was nice to get a rest from thinking.

Treading water

I feel like I’m treading water. I have six weeks to get to the end of the pool but I feel like I’m not progressing. I am sick of it. So uninspired.

I have to present my findings on Wednesday. It’s a twenty minute presentation. I’m sick of thinking about this topic. I want to think about something different. I don’t want to read my own writing anymore.