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Friday, November 6, 2015

Restless in Recovery

            “I never go out anymore,” I say to my best friend Selena. “There’s nothing to do in Tampa.”
            “I remember you complaining two years ago – I gotta get out of Miami! I’m having too much fun and not getting any work done.”
            “Really?” I ask. “I said that?” How quickly we forget the past.
            Two years ago, I was applying to MFA programs and living it up, Miami style. I was between house-sitting gigs and a tent pitched in my mom’s backyard. I spent most of my day working in my food forest and hanging out at the botanical garden where I volunteered as an environmental educator. My afternoons were spent hustling around town from one tutoring job to another, maneuvering Miami’s crazy quitting time traffic and teaching everything from French grammar to SAT essay writing. In the evenings, you might find me practicing my salsa moves with the Salsa Craze dance club, getting down at Vixen, or owning the streets of Miami with my bike posse. Every now and then, I took on an extra shift as a waitress with a fancy catering company, mainly to hang out with my friends who also worked with the company, but also for the gourmet freebies. In between volunteering and dancing and tutoring, I stopped by the beach in the middle of the week for long swims along Virginia Key’s shallow shore.

            These days, my life looks nothing like it did two years ago. Each day is eerily similar to the last. I wake up early and go to sleep late. In the mornings, I meditate, make my lunch, water the garden, eat breakfast. I bike to school and am sitting at my computer by 9:30. (My friend Sam says – “Carmella’s got a cubicle? The world must surely be ending!”) Weekdays are some amalgamation of consulting at the Writing Studio, teaching classes, attending classes, and doing homework. I eat lunch at my desk or by the pond across the street from my office building, although the benches are usually too full of duck crap to find a safe seat. At the end of the day, I try to make it to a dance class or the swimming pool before biking back home, where I’ll stay put until the next morning (writing, presumably).
My muse, hard at work
            A few days ago, I got an email from Graduate Assistants United (our union) inviting me to their monthly social at a local bar.
            “Ugh,” I told my co-workers. “Is it terrible that I really don’t want to go?”
            “You should go!” one of them said.
            “Going out is risky,” I said to my roommate later that night. “If I go to my dance class, I know for sure that I’ll have a good time. But going out – you just never know.”
            “You should go!” she said.
            I did end up going, and I had a nice time. But still, the whole situation made me laugh. The girl who used to triple and quadruple book herself in one evening can’t summon up the energy to go to a bar for an hour?

My professor says that people are way more productive as they age because they just don’t want to do all the things they once did. Their knees hurt and they’d rather stay close to the hearth. Plus, there are cats at home, and what’s better than kitty cuddles?
Kristyn + kitty cuddles = happiness
Perhaps this all part of the natural aging process. I’m nearing thirty, after all! Or maybe grad school is getting the best of me. It’s also possible that this strange phenomenon is simply temporary… Who knows? You might find me in a year and a half, a fresh-faced bushy-tailed MFA graduate, back to my old restless ways.