The Pain Period – End of Day 3 – November 15th, 2013

Short post, haven’t got much time.

Managed to complete everything yesterday. Well, nearly everything. The timer was running while I was both studying and doing things conducive to studying. Like the post-workout wank that would keep my mind off my ex as things got tough during the last three-hour stretch of memorising anatomy. I didn’t write off the time I spent doing that because it was ‘in the right spirit’, or something. It wasn’t like I was actively rebelling and saying ‘fuck it, who gives a shit, I’m going to procrastinate instead.’ It wasn’t giving up, it was pacing myself.

What I noticed, though, was uncanny: after the first hour or two (which fucking sucked), everything just fell into place. I get into it. At first, my mind squirmed; I felt tired and fatigued and all I wanted to do is to keep my earphones in, put my head down on the desk and listen to Karl Pilkington rag on about how a stapler could evolve into a crocodile or some shit. Thereafter, though, it just came naturally. I don’t have to will myself to keep going, I don’t have to drag myself kicking and screaming into another half-hour of study. It just happens.

However, sooner or later, when the caffeine starts wearing off and I’m staring at another, barely distinguishable block of text or reciting the myriad of answers to the questions on a single flashcard, I start losing focus. I’ll suddenly start thinking of my ex, or what I’m going to eat for my next meal, or whether I’m going to have enough money to survive the month, frivolous distractions that I don’t have time for. What’s frustrating is that it’s not as simple and clear cut as other problems with concentration such as turning on the TV or checking my texts or some shit, where you can just, you know, not do it. It’s insidious, it sneaks in undetected, and before you know it, you’ve spent ten minutes staring at the same sentence while contemplating the finer details of whom your ex might be fucking right now. Ok, it’s usually not that bad, typically it’s some inane shit such as recalling the WoW tanking rotations that were second nature to me not too long ago, but yeah, you get the idea.

Shit, I seem to be three pomodoros behind. Can’t really write off blog posts and journaling as being ‘done with the right intentions’, so I suppose I’ll get back to it.

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3 thoughts on “The Pain Period – End of Day 3 – November 15th, 2013

  1. The first hour of the study process for me involves me drooling over all of the hot girls that walk by in the library. It’s just an autopilot response to being tuned into that.

    Thankfully, it fades. But that doesn’t mean I’m really studying.

    I do exercises to get the brain going. I like lizardpoint’s mental math thing. This is basically productive procrastination, or a warm-up.

    It honestly takes me a couple of hours of fucking around on the internet with a book in front of me before I actually start to focus.

    At first, it’s in short 30m bursts. I take a short break in between these bursts. As long as I am mindful of time, it is okay.

    It’s usually when most people leave the library that I finally focus and have the synapses firing.

    This is kind of a weird study process. Most people use the momentum from their morning to study unhindered and then wind down when I am just entering the library to fuck around. I am still working on compliance and building focus because it’s been 3 years since I’ve been a student. Also, I have insomnia so I become more and more awake as the night progresses and there are fewer people who are awake to distract you.

    As for the thoughts of the ex-gf. That shit sucks, but it gets better with time. I always think of the last girl who I had a relationship with, while I am in a budding relationship with another. It’s like the lagging strand and leading strand in DNA replication (using this analogy since I just studied this 5m ago). I would always stalk her okc/fb/twitter/blog/whatever to see what she’s up to, scanning for signs of a new bf. It can get crazy if you’re working leads like a detective (i’ve been there).

    But it inevitably passes. It feels like shit at first, then it just becomes something you do pathologically, and pretty soon you have no emotion tied to it whatsoever.

    When I type in okcupid in my browser, it automatically goes to this one girl I dated in like June just because of the search history that I never changed. I feel nothing looking at her profile.

    Progressive desensitization, maybe?

    +1 for karl pilkington.

    • Many thanks for the pointers.

      I’ve also drawn quite a bit of motivation and drive from the hot chicks walking around on campus. Ironically, you’d think it be a distraction seeing sex on legs sitting at the next table every time you look up, but that shit gets the testosterone flowing. She’s going to love me when I start busting knowledge on post-transcriptional modification.

      Unfortunately for me, once I’ve started screwing around on the internet for more than 10 minutes, it’s game over; it’s hella hard to come back from that. I do my best to just sit down and get started, continually telling myself that I’ll leave my ADD compulsions for the breaks.

      And regarding the ex-gf, I’ve actually got a lot to say there, which I’ll probably write a post about. Long story short, I only ever think or care about her when I’m lonely and unhappy. When I’m aceing tests or breaking PRs or getting laid, then it’s not a problem. But the few times that my resolve is tested, I find myself drawn back to her, because she embodies safety and security and contentment, a place where I can bury my head in the sand and not face making my life better. And besides, even seeing a photo of her nearly makes me have a panic attack, and I’d probably go nuts if I saw her with a new boyfriend, as I described in ‘Pain as Currency’.

      But yeah, I’ll leave that shit for another post.

      • I screw around on the internet for like 2-3 hours before I actually do work. It is hard to come back from, but it’s like the “fallacy of the perfect approach”. Like pick-up, studying (and lifting, and anything really) is messy. We have these ideals in our minds and it bothers us when we wrack up failures, but if you learn how to reset and get back to task you can still make the most out of your time right now. That’s what it boils down to doesn’t it? Now.

        Moments when we’re at our worst are when we look to external sources to make us feel better. I remember how revelatory it was to finally be with that person again and still feel just as shitty. Eckhart Tolle says this is the best opportunity to practice the “power of now”, which is really just present moment awareness. He uses women on their period as an example, which I think is a perfect example. When everything in your body tells you you are unhappy, it is the best time to realize how arbitrary feelings are. I usually feel this way when I am coming down from a caffeine high and my mind tries to justify these feelings by attributing it to “tfw no gf” and shit like that.

        Something I tell myself in these situations is “you are here forever.” It’s true isn’t it? Whether you are in a bar talking to a beautiful woman, in a bar alone and scared, in a library anxious as fuck about your test tomorrow, or in a prison cell. You are here forever. All of those moments are momentary. Only constant is you. This takes the edge off of being in a high pressured environment where you must do things to improve your life.

        This is where you can rest. We all need rest and security. Except instead of burying your head in the sand and not face reality, you rip the layer of saran wrap and come face to face with it as it is. Finally, you are free.

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