Hopeless Bleak Despair


My mental state has shifted into despair, and I couldn't be happier about it.

You see, I tend to shift back and forth between two varieties of hopelessness. I am now firmly ensconced in what I call "Despair." This is the state I find myself in when I have dozens of things I want to do and no time to do any of them; every spare moment is taken up by work that, while I might enjoy it on some level, slowly grinds away at my spirit. It's not that the work is hard, it's just that there's so much of it that I have no time to enjoy myself, even as I see all manner of delightful preoccupations dancing before me. Right now I've become interested in video games (about a dozen are beckoning me at the moment), I need to practice my banjo, I want to start running again, I have movies I want to watch, I have a bookshelf full of half-read books I need to finish (My current project is re-reading Gregory of Tours's History of the Franks, by the way), and to top it off I suddenly really, really, for no practical reason want to learn Latin. But I can't do any of it because of the crushing levels of schoolwork.

But I'm happy to be here, because it's better than the alternative. The alternative is Ennui, which will set in within hours of my last final. Once I have all the free time I need, I will suddenly lose interest in everything. I will spend my time lying around and being completely bored. I'd been under a big cloud of ennui basically from when I finished my last final at Berkeley until about a month ago, when I began the transition back to despair. Two moves and getting settled here helped fight it off, because at least then I had practical things to fill my time with. Nonetheless, I look back at my time just working at the library and see months when I worked at the library 9 to 5, came home and did ... nothing. In a five month span, I read no books, played through no video games, saw a couple of movies with friends, met no new people. There were nights when I sat around at my desk at the library after everyone had gone home and I had clocked out, staring at the computer for hours, because it was a change of pace from going home and doing nothing there. Now I have interest in life again, even if it's a perpetually frustrated interest. I'd rather have too much I want to do and no time to do it than just no interests whatsoever.

So, yay! Despair! Now back to Civil Procedure.


The real problem is when you get Despair and Ennui together. You have so much overwhelming work to do that you don't do any of it... like a permanent Dead Day Study Avoidance Kabuki Dance. *shudder*

I've kind of got that going on right now. I think it's triggered by having tons of stuff to do but none of it anything interesting or personally important -- just Work Stuff. The fortunate mitigating factor for me is my enormous commute, which makes me a captive audience for books for almost two hours a day. If I drove, though, I wouldn't even be reading. It would be Ennui from here to Tuesday.

Speaking of, this reminds me of a question that has come up way more times in my conversations than I care to admit: Is there an adjective which indicates "Filled with ennui?" I always find myself saying things like "Ennuiulent" or "Ennuiulous," but those are clearly wrong and possibly mortal sins. Because Ennui is very useful in describing a specific kind of depression/boredom, and adjectives that don't incorporate it don't really do the trick. At the same time, it would be very useful to have an adjective form of ennui, just because it's inconvenient to have to say things like "I've been filled with ennui lately."

But yeah. I'm thinking of cutting back my internet time, or setting hard-and-fast rules like "No internet after 8 PM." That should help clear out what is, frankly, largely dead time and give me more time for books and such.

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This page contains a single entry by Zach published on October 18, 2005 11:54 PM.

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