I’m sitting in a different carpark today, waiting in the warm until it’s time for pipe practice. I don’t want to be here.
I’m trying to tell myself that this chapter of my life – the pipe band, the practice, all of that – is over. I’m pretty sure it’s true. I don’t want to join another band now. I don’t want to go to practice every week or even every other week. I don’t want to have to learn new tunes and deal with the expectations set on me by agreeing to play turnouts and take band reeds and equipment. I don’t want to do this anymore. I’m more than content being a noisy mediocre drunk pest at parties and pub crawls. I’m done. It’s too much and I have so many other things in my life now.
That brings me to stress.
At work a few weeks back, we were treated to stress meters to see how we were going. I have no idea what they measured. I took one, because although I was perfectly happy at work (an extra €200 a month would be great though), I was curious what sort of results I would get.
The results were not good.
I don’t know if I’m a naturally tense and stressed person who just bottles it up and denies it. I guess I probably am. I think everyone close to me, when I told them about this, tried as nicely as possible to tell me as much.
I work full-time in my (distant) second language. I live perpetually with a bag of shit that could peel off at any moment. Even when I sleep, I’m aware of that risk. I wake up to vent gas. I have two amazing kids, but kids are hard work. And I have a second job writing and publishing novels.
So yeah, my results were appalling. Like, if the average test result showed a balance of 50-50 on stress and recovery, my score was 98-2 on stress. Not at a single point – and this included two nights of 10+ hours of sleep – in the test period did I actually gain anything. I was in massive loss of reserves the entire time.
Of course the test results stressed me out even more. I’m sure they were skewed, but I’m also sure they were telling me something fairly accurate about the tension I live under.
This threw me into a downward spiral, but it only lasted a day or two. Most of my downward spirals do. And I have a lot of them. Today, sitting at work and thinking about how I had to go and practice with the band this evening, I almost shut down. I didn’t want to do anything. I just sat, locked, getting more and more miserable and unable to function.
In the end I snapped out of it, sort of, and here I am. But I don’t want to be.
And I’m so tired of this shit happening, whether it’s for a good reason or – which also seems to happen – for no reason. I don’t know. I’m just tired.