26 July 2006, 7:00am

Today I got paid finally from the university – quite a bit less than what I hoped.  And I’m reading Class by Paul Fussell, which has me feeling frustrated and stuck in whatever status I have right now, especially after getting a measly paycheck for 4 weeks of work.

I’m worried about school.  I’m worried about maintaining the relationship with Lori while also performing in school at the level I want.  As far as this whole school thing goes, I feel like I’m just showing up, wide-eyed and clueless, expecting to just take a couple classes and leave with a degree.  I have vague ideas in my head of trying to get two degrees – take Library and Linguistics classes, yet still get done in two years, and have all the knowledge I need to go straight into a professional high-paying job.  oh, and even though I’ll be taking classes all summer in order to get done in a miraculous two years, I also have expectations of doing incredibly prestigious internships during those months.  Throughout all this activity that I’m unprepared for, Lori will still know that I love her and we’ll still spend lots of time together.  And somehow I’ll impress someone so much that I’ll be offered a fellowship in a phd program that just happens to be at or near the school that gives Lori a full-ride to her phd degree.  And we’ll have so much money by then, that we’ll be able to hire people to load and unload the moving truck for us, and our moving expenses will be paid, to boot. La la la la la…

So basically I feel like I’m trying to live someone else’s life.  Someone much more accomplished, capable, honest, organized, insightful, and just plain ‘with it’…

But I have to admit that after getting this measly paycheck, I’m more relieved about tying to work at .65 time while taking a full load of classes.  We will definitely need the money.  So having two jobs during the school year will be a good thing after all.

But have I become more of a “staff person” than a student over these last few years out of school?  Where is all that reading I was going to do this summer?  It’s sitting on the bookshelf dusty.  Where’s all that “getting ahead” that I was going to do with my library copies of next term’s textbooks?   They’re on the bookshelf, too.  Do I still have what it takes to be an even semi-impressive student?  Once upon a time I could pour over books for hours at a time, soak in all sorts of information.

I’m aging.  And I’m not doing a damn thing to keep up with it.  I should be taking care of my eyes, taking care of my joints, my muscles.  Why haven’t I been practicing my languages this whole freaking summer?  I’m about to start a job in the Modern Languages library, for crying out loud.  I know all this, I know exactly what I should be doing.  What am I doing?

Let’s veer toward more positive subjects.  Let’s find the positive spin here.

Nope, sorry, see it’s not about all these negative things that I mentioned.  I didn’t mention them to be negative or because they’re negative.  In fact, they don’t seem negative to me so much as bizarre.  Absolutely bizarre.  Is this me?  Am I living this?  Two recent movies circle through my head (I hate admitting that I’m influenced by pop culture, but who isn’t?  So shoot me.)  First of all, we have “Devil Wears Prada” – a classic example of someone doing something that is completely wrong for them.  I don’t want to get done here and find out that was me.  Secondly, we have “Lady of the Water” – with a quote along the lines of … when you’re on the right path, the universe will give you signs and everything will work out so you know you’re going the right way.  I can’t tell if I’m getting the right signs or wrong signs.  [WARNING: spoiler!] When Paul Giamati’s character guesses wrong on everyone’s “purpose”… I completely related.  What if I’m doing that now?  He even guessed his own purpose wrong.  He had no idea what he was doing, he was listening to the wrong people, he didn’t trust himself.  When you’ve lost touch with your instincts, that’s terribly easy to do.  How do I get my instincts back?  [spoiler over]

I keep telling myself to just get on a schedule.  Find a routine that works.  I always expect this routine to be along these lines:  writing & reading first thing in the morning,  yoga/walking/exercising before a shower, then a healthy breakfast, some eye exercises, and board the bus to work/classes.  After that, my ideal routine gets a little fuzzy.  More reading in the evening would be nice.  A good session of stretching and yoga before dinner. More eye exercises before going to bed.

If this routine really were the right one for me, wouldn’t I have stuck with it by now?  Or have I simply not developed the habit yet?  What does it take already??  I hear and read about people who have found their routines and are quite successful with them, so I know it’s possible.  Which leads me thinking once again that I’m on the wrong track somehow.  Or – I think the time and place is right, buy the way I’m going about things is all wrong.  I feel like my life is an automatic transmission car, but I’m trying to drive it like a stick shift.  Somewhere, somehow I need to just put it in gear and leave it alone, and it’ll be fine.