Life as an AVL tree.

Last week, I broke my own heart. Despite my general internally upward trend since returning to school this winter, I had my morals tested last week and I failed to measure up. Much more than the fact that I let one my teams down, much more than the fact that I botched an interview, much more than the number of classes I skipped and material I didn’t learn is the fact that my trust in myself is shaken.

Insert(abuse). Double right rotation.

I maintain that almost everything we do is—on some level—a reach for balance. Whether it’s conscious or not, we are working to find a balance that makes life livable (for the pessimistic types) or that makes us happy. (I’d argue that those two are the same thing, but that may be my optimism speaking.)

I remember one man told me that in retrospect he felt that much of his drug use in his younger days was that same reaching. He took speed because it calmed him down and allowed him to focus. He was diagnosed years later with ADD.

I have a friend who drinks precisely because it allows him to forget his troubles for a few hours. An extreme balance between high stress and blissed memorylessness that works for him.

I remember earlier this school year, like week two or three of the first term, I felt so bogged down and overworked that one Wednesday I told Luke, “Let’s go out and do something this weekend so I don’t do something bad and overreactive to myself in my stress.” Hence the beginning of Movie Nights. (Insert(wildFun). Single left rotation.) I don’t think we’ve missed more than about a weekend yet. It became what I’d look forward to on my busy Tuesdays and my frantically transitioning Wednesdays; my way of cutting loose of all my restraint and work ethic and pleasantness that I try to show to the world on weekdays. Come Friday evening, I “check out” and transform into a typical college-girl, under the (implicit?) condition that what goes on when the three of us get together gets heavily censored and filtered should it come up in conversation later around others.

The worse I make my weeks, the more I cling to Friday nights, and the wilder I probably am on those Friday nights.

There’s a problem with that, however. I don’t think compartmentalizing is a healthy way for me to live. I don’t know if the opposite would be “holistic” or simply “integrated”, but I have a lot more peace of mind when I’m not swinging from one extreme to the other and keeping things behind closed doors in my mind (outward privacy—also known as secrecy, apparently—is still a good thing).

So I made this week a good one. I still bitch about my workload; it’s more work than I can do, even working as quickly and efficiently as I can. But last week reminded me of why I need to ask “why” and why I need to dig into the “what”—it keeps me interested and excited. This week I’ve taken the time to relax everyday; my days run long enough that if I don’t take a breather around 17:00, my evenings go poorly. I’ve dug back into my research with abandon; a couple more hours of coding, and I’ll be ready to begin testing my model-fitting algorithm. I’ve regained an interest in writing here. I’m not dreading the work and assignments from my Fundamentals class (despite the fact that I will continue to bitch about the disproportionate amount of time I will need to spend on that class’s work). I’m excited about the newspaper and my new staff (we were voted in officially yesterday). Work (for pay) is less stressful, despite the fact that there may soon be a change in that whole arena.

Insert(curiosity). Double left rotation.

When Luke and I discussed whether we were doing Movie Night this week, I found that I could take it or leave it. There’s a panel on five women’s perspectives in art I want to attend on behalf of the paper tomorrow afternoon. I’m going to be neck-deep in testing my research code against S-plus results. I’m going be well into my spreadsheet implementation. I need to teach myself hefty chunks of material for two classes.

Even to be able to let go of that crutch for one week is a good sign.

Delete(numbness). Single right rotation.

The standing question is this: do I have the strength of will and the centeredness/core to stay true to my desire for healthiness and balance, despite what it will probably cost me in grades? To take my life philosophy more from my own reflections (which requires real work) instead of the easier route of using external influences?

*shrug* We’ll see.