Not Feeling Like You’re Stuck in a Rut

I hope THESE repeating days aren't some jerk's mystical life lesson...

Another week has passed in this weird version of reality and it feels like the entire world is holding its breath.  My city’s extended the stay at home orders through April 26th in the hopes of flattening the curve, while my job has long since said that we’re working from home until May 15th at the earliest.  Cases of infection continue to mount across the world, with some places impacted a lot harder than others, and with no clear end in sight to aim for.  Maybe this will be mostly over in the space of the next month and it will make sense to lift the restrictions, or maybe this will be the new way of life for a long time, there’s just no way of knowing.  The universe has tossed a coin into the air, and now it’s at the apex of its arc, spinning in place, an all we can do is stare up at it and wait to see how it lands.

I don’t think anyone enjoys feeling like they’re caught in a rut.  Lots of people appreciate having a well-worn routine, which might seem like a rut to an outside observer, but anyone who has a good routine can attest that there’s an important difference: a routine has an arc of progression to it.  You might be doing the same thing every day, but that same thing builds on itself over time in a way that’s satisfying on some level, whether that’s intrinsic, extrinsic, or both.  You’re accomplishing something little by little and getting something out of that, whether it’s a tangible result or just the sense of accomplishment.  This is often one of the more important—and often more elusive—aspects of language learning, since it is such a time commitment that it’s easy to lose sight of the goal and get bogged down in the monotony of nothing improving day to day.  This is also the current view of the world that I think we’re all trapped in.

I’ve never done well with feeling like I’m stuck in a rut.  It usually triggers bouts of depression and anxiety for me and has led to a lot of the bigger mistakes I’ve made in my life, thanks to me either shutting down and letting the rut swallow me up, or to the opposite extreme with bouts of impulsive behavior just for something, anything to be different.  That sort of stuff has gotten easier to deal with as I’ve gotten older and learned how to deal with it, for the times when I need to force myself to do something I don’t want to do anyway and for the times when I need to stop myself from doing something different and ultimately destructive.  I have weathered a lot of this pandemic pretty comfortably thanks to good fortune and circumstance, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t facing a lot of my worst habits these days.

Last week I talked about how heart-wrenching my job’s been, and this week I was able to breathe out a long sigh of relief over a lot of those woes thanks to some options for helping people becoming available.  A lot of situations where I hadn’t been able to help before completely changed, and the general vibe of desperation started to change.  It was a very welcome change that made my job a lot easier to manage again.  And yet, every day, I had to fight past a ton of inertia to go through the routine of getting ready to start working.  It was a totally emotional, irrational reaction that I could fight my way through without too much trouble—I still like my job, and with the market going up and there being more options to help, it wasn’t even particularly unpleasant throughout the week, so I could convince myself it’d be fine once I started—but it was there constantly, because here I am trapped in this same world we’re all trapped in, wanting desperately to just shut down and sink into a mire of depression.

The job being less crushing aside, one of the few things that have made it a lot easier holding onto the fact that we aren’t trapped here forever and things are continuing forward has been my time working on Spanish.  I’ve gotten used to the pace of language learning, with how slow-burn and cumulative it all is, so the lack of immediate, tangible results don’t matter.  I can let myself get lost in media for a little while and feel the satisfaction of the time I’m able to sink into this project day after day.  Books get read, shows get watched, hours get devoted, and every day the language gets a little bit easier and more natural.

If anyone out there is also feeling the monotony set in, without a clear end to look forward to and an impending sense that nothing is ever going to change again, I really suggest picking something up that scratches that same itch.  Doesn’t have to be language learning specifically, try learning a musical instrument, or practice painting, or teach yourself to code, just something to turn your focus inward and let you track the time with a different metric for a while.

Maybe things will go back to normal soon, but maybe things won’t.  In the meantime, try to make the time we’re all stuck waiting not the worst.

Now then, let’s look at today’s numbers.

Tuesday 4/07

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of Una Oscuridad en Sethanon, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of La Zona Cero, 1 episode of Arte Divierte, 1 episode of No Hay Tos, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Wednesday 4/08

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of Una Oscuridad en Sethanon, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Diablero, 1 episode of Beastars, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Thursday 4/09

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 8% of Una Oscuridad en Sethanon, ~120 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Diablero, 1 episode of Beastars, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Friday 4/10

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 9% of Una Oscuridad en Sethanon, ~130 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Diablero, 1 episode of Beastars, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Saturday 4/11

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 2% of Una Oscuridad en Sethanon, ~30 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of Arte Divierte, 1 epiosode of La Zona Cero, 1 episode of Kiwillius, 2 episodes of Andrea Ga, 2 episodes of Daniel San GMR, ~120 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Sunday 4/12

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 2% of Una Oscuridad en Sethanon, ~30 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: Violet Evergarden: Eternity and the Auto Memory Doll, 1 episode of Beastars, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~120 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes

Monday 4/13

  • Duolingo: 20 XP earned, ~0 minutes
  • Reading: 6% of Una Oscuridad en Sethanon, ~90 minutes
  • Watching/Listening: 1 episode of No Hay Tos, 1 episode of Beastars, 1 episode of Daniel San GMR, ~60 minutes
  • Speaking: reading out loud, ~30 minutes
  • Total Duolingo: 140 XP, 0 minutes
  • Total reading: 2/5 books read, 580 minutes
  • Total watching/listening: 12 YouTube episodes, 1 movie, 2 podcasts, and 8 tv episodes, 540 minutes
  • Total speaking: reading out loud, 210 minutes
  • Total Time: 18 hours 40 minutes

These numbers are starting to look really good again.  Una Oscuridad en Sethanon started up right where El Espino de Plata left off, so it was easy to get off to the races with reading it.  This book ends one of Riftwar’s subseries, which might be a good excuse to take a break and read a totally different book next.  I’ll think on that as I get closer to finishing this one, because I might just want to continue on with the next in the series.

I finally got around to doing one of the things I’ve said I’d do in these week wrap-up sections and put in some concerted effort to watching Diablero consistently.  It’s still pretty high up on the top of my range of listening comprehension, but I do enjoy watching it, so it’s been a good time.  I also started in on Beastars this week, after getting too many recommendations on it to ignore.  It’s been described in ways that make it something right up my alley (namely ‘it’s like Zootopia, except more violent and horny,’ and I’m like, sold), but I’ve been wary of the animation style.  A handful of episodes in, and I can say the animation is ugly, but still passable enough for me that I’ll probably keep up with it.

Outside of this specific project, after drafting this blog’s main topic I figure that I really ought to take my own advice and start working on getting back into the swing of fiction writing while I’m stuck at home and stuff.  It’s been slow trying to get back into it, but hopefully I’ll have some happy numbers to report on the month recap blog.

Anyway, that’ll do for this one.  Stay safe, y’all, and wash ya hands.  TTFN.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s