The thing I have to watch out for is not burn-out: it's burn-in. It's not running out of energy or running too hard that's my greatest nemesis; I learned to deal with burn-out the hard way during 7 years of high school and college, and as awful as it was to flame and wreck that way, it was wonderful to have that problem. My biggest danger is not having places to put the energy I've got. I can't down-spin the massive do stuff! do stuff! flywheel of enthusiasm quickly or well - or really, at all - and so I pace like a caged tiger when I'm home.

Common symptoms:

  1. Sleeping a lot. 6-7 hours a night. Or more. Every night. It's not refreshing; it's stupor-inducing - oversleeping is a drug of sorts for me, so that's bad.
  2. Being full. Like, all the time. Which either means (1) I'm not hungry (and therefore something's not quite right) or (2) I'm eating way too much (also bad).
  3. Generally being really antsy (all right, that's not unusual) and feeling like there are lots of little snarls of knottiness threading up inside my neck and throat and shoulders because of it (ok, this might also be the RSI). I can close the blast doors and keep all the explosions inside myself, but I can't stop them from happening. The energy turns into little dense pellets that gnaw; it really does feel like slowly burning inside sometimes, because there's no vent for a clean fire to blast out and propel me somewhere.

The lack of running-around time due to the first probably also has something to do with the second. Comparing my usual caloric intake to what I eat when I'm in Glenview, I'm not actually eating more than usual, though we do eat a lot more meat and far richer and more "nice" food than I'm used to. Geez, I remember when going out to eat was such a rare occasion that getting fast food burgers was a special treat; today we went out for brunch and dinner, and I couldn't finish dinner.

So. What can I do to deal with this? I WANT TO CRUSH THINGS! I want to totally pwn things! I want to do things!

Answer: well then, do things! That stuff, you know, that you wanted to do, but never had the time for? Do it now, and push yourself through it. Work through the nights if you need uninterrupted quiet-time; that's the usual tactic for being at home. All right. So, this week...

  1. All recommendation letters I'm writing for people will all be mailed
  2. Grad school applications will go from "asymptotically being finished" to "finished" (this is the big one, and it'll have to be broken into subtasks.)
  3. Belated Christmas presents will be shipped (it's so much cheaper to get Christmas presents after Christmas) and all necessary returns made.
  4. I will begin my research pile by getting a VM slice and setting up a git repo for reading notes on it.
  5. Get through Chapter 6 ("Present Tense of Haben") in Colloquial German.
  6. Convert the FSI mp3s for German Headstart into ogg format; use Christmas money to get an ogg-compatible portable media player (current top contender: Sansa Clip + firmware upgrade) and begin playing former-mp3s-now-oggs on it to start learning how to listen to the language.
  7. Exercise differently every weekday this week in order to try out the different schemes you were considering; pick one on Saturday.
  8. Scholarly societies: make sure your memberships are up-to-date (ACM/IEEE/ASEE), that you know what publications you want to watch this year, and that they automagically get delivered to your inbox.
  9. Year-end finances: roundup, 2010 budgeting.
  10. Finish transcribing, tabbing, and learning "Lullaby to an Anxious Child" on guitar (so far I have awkward fingering on everything except the bridge and none of it's transcribed; I'd like it to be nice throughout).
  11. Ye Olde Annual Inbox Purge (this will need to be done a little bit each day)
  12. Spend at least an hour each day doing Nice Things for/with Family. Hopefully longer. This may be the hard part - or then again, once I explicitly make it my responsibility to take this initiative, it might magically get easier.

That should be pretty good for now 'till Friday, yeah?

Tomorrow's agenda, things I should do every day this week:

  1. The exercise thing (morning stretching, plus moving a lot throughout the day)
  2. Do nice things with/for my family
  3. Ye Olde Inbox Purge, round 1
  4. Colloquial German, chapter 2

And then the other stuff...

  1. Exploring downtown Chicago with Yifan! (This will be most of my day.)
  2. All recommendation letters in the mail
  3. Finish CV (and swap reviews with brother)

If I have time, I'll update the scholarly societies, but let's keep the list more manageable for now. It is vacation, after all. Oh, this feels so much better.

And when I'm good and tired from Doing Stuff, then I'll be able to rest.