Trapped in the Doldrums

The past week has been rough. And yet I’m coming out of it, I think, much better than I went in.

It’s been miserably cold in Chicago for most of the week, which likely contributed to me getting a cold starting on Wednesday. It’s weird getting sick like that; it’s generally pretty minor—just some coughing and congestion—but it lingers. I’m feeling much better now but there’s a decent chance I’ll still be feeling some after-effects next weekend.

I realized today that sickness tends to beget sickness, and I think it’s because I try to over-rest it. I’m only an average sleeper in the best of times; I can easily have a lousy night of sleep here and there even when I feel fine. But this week, both Wednesday and Thursday I didn’t sleep well, and I think it’s more that I was trying to rest so I didn’t do much all day either of those days—so come bedtime I really wasn’t tired. Which meant that I didn’t improve much overnight, so I needed to rest the next day, and so on. I did a light workout Friday, and it seemed to make a big difference.

The late-winter cold snap contributed to keeping me inside, and it feels worse now both because it’s been like that for most of the past few months, and because we’re at the point where it feels like it should be letting up (but it isn’t). It has clarified something for me: I hate where I live. There is almost nothing public around—you have to go half a mile to hit something that isn’t a convenience store or gas station. In the summer and fall, it’s fine—I’m happy to walk or bike. But when it’s 0 degrees out, that loses its appeal. Long story short, it’s clear that when my lease is up I shall be moving.

The other moment of clarity came Wednesday morning when one of my bosses decided to complain about how I wasn’t adequately following an instruction given six months ago. (I was instead following a different, contradictory instruction given to me.) Combined with feeling lousy, this just reminded me of what a former boss of mine said: I may be working for someone else, but really, I should be working for myself.

So the positive that comes out of it is focus: I got the reminder that—despite the miserable rigamarole of job-hunting—my situation is not permanent and that I need to channel my anger about job-hunting (and my poor fit with my current job) in a productive way. Which carries through to my fitness goals as well—even though being ill and not terribly eager to spread germs among my co-work-outers made it harder to take productive action on that one. At least weight-wise, I didn’t lose any significant ground, and while I certainly felt weak today, I think that’s just a symptom that will disappear as I return to a regular schedule.

So I come out of this week a bit stuffy in the nose and a lot ready to make things happen. Perhaps I’m not trapped in doldrums after all. It’s possible that I’m just coiling them neatly into a spring that will shoot me at unheard-of speeds as soon as I release it.


That’s something of a mixed metaphor, no? It assumes that doldrums not only have a physical form—and yes, I was envisioning The Phantom Tollbooth—but that they also have the necessary mix of elasticity and stiffness. So maybe don’t try to turn this into an inspirational Facebook meme.

P.S. Exciting news on the #CardamomWatch front: I used 3/4 of a teaspoon in some split pea soup. I can’t really detect the result.


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Filed under Cardamom Watch, Recovery, Training

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