Well, as of last week the Mister and I have officially been on this island for two whole months and I have to admit, I’ve never been as bi-polar as I am here. I don’t know what it is exactly (well, ok, yes I do, but to post it on the internet might somehow get me reported to the Kittian government, and we don’t want that to happen), but this island just makes people crazy.
I can go from fairly content to raging mad to depressed and sobbing and back to being ok with my life in the blink of an eye – an island symptom that has been validated by many of my fellow vet school spouses – so it’s not just me that’s losing my mind here. (A common factor in my mood swings seems to be grocery shopping day. . . but that’s all I’ll say for now.)
However, I have noticed that the number of angry and/or depressed days has decreased in the past 3-4 weeks, so life seems to be getting better. I don’t know if I’ve just finally resigned myself to being here or what, but it helps that my days have taken on a fairly predictable regularity. Here is a summary of a typical day:
7 a.m. – The Mister wakes up, which means I wake up by association.
7:50 a.m. – The Mister kisses me goodbye and leaves for class; I roll over and go back to sleep.
9 a.m. – Somewhere in this area I wake up and spend a while staring at the ceiling willing my brain to reboot to properly functioning status. I make a poptart, or a bagel, or whatever else will fit in the easy bake (aka toaster) oven and boot up my computer. Sometimes I also take a shower.
10 a.m.-noon – I spend my mornings largely on the computer, either talking to friends, checking facebook or writing blog posts and reading those of other blog writers. Oftentimes I get an hour or so of work done (I am a technical writer/database compiler/fact checker for LOGOLOPE, Inc.).
Noon – The Mister comes home from the main campus and I make him something for lunch. The choices are often: Ravioli, mac n cheese, grilled cheese sandwich, quesadilla, burrito, turkey sandwich, leftovers. We typically watch something on Netfliex – either Grey’s Anatomy or Star Trek while we eat.
1-4 p.m. – The Mister goes back to campus for his afternoon classes and I get another hour or two of work done, depending on what needs to be done and how much of it I can stand in one day. This time period also involves more Netflix watching, book reading and house cleaning.
4:30 p.m. – I usually start cooking dinner around this time. The Mister gets home from studying in the lab at around 5 or 5:30 p.m. and we have dinner, again, watching something on Netflix. He’ll study a little more while I clean up the kitchen.
7 p.m. – The study sessions regroup and the Mister leaves me to my own devices. I don’t normally feel like working in the evenings, so they involve a lot of book reading, Netflix watching, attempts to write the next great American novel and the creation of reasons not to wash the dishes. Sometimes I call home.
10:30 p.m. – The Mister gets back from his study group and we head toward bed to begin again tomorrow.
Sometimes I don’t go outside, change out of my pajamas or talk to anyone but the Mister for days at a time, but I’ve come to not mind this so much. I enjoy being by my myself and oftentimes large amounts of time with other people just exhausts me and makes me want to go back to my solitude. And there are variations to my schedule depending on what day of week it is.
On Wednesdays the campus has a small produce market from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. and upperclassmen have a yard sale in the quad at noon, so I go over to the main campus for those things. Tuesday nights are ½-price ticket nights at the local theater so that’s often an outing, and Friday nights are intramural beach volleyball games on Timothy Beach. And there is usually at least one day a week that someone will be going to the Marriott or to a restaurant or into town or to the beach during the day, so that gets me out of the house as well. And tonight I am meeting up with some other spouses at 5:30 to discuss Cloud Atlas, the book we’ve chosen for last month’s reading. So it’s not all doom and gloom, although I have found that the simple act of putting real clothes on at some point in the day really does help your mood a lot.
And the possession of a vehicle does wonders to alleviate the feeling of constant confinement. Now when I stay at home all day it’s because I choose to, not because I don’t have the option.
So the lessons I’ve learned to increase island happiness and well-being:
1) Put on real clothes.
2) Own a vehicle.
3) Create a schedule of some kind; whether it’s paid work or not, having set things to do each day is critical. Otherwise you just wake up in the morning with no reason to get out of bed and no purpose to the continuation of your life, and that leads to depressed days.
4) Have a mental list of things you like to do and places you like to go on the island so you always have options ready when you want to go out and do something.
5) Make friends, even just a group of casual acquaintances is good. Even if you enjoy the time alone, there will come a point where you want to spend at least a few hours with other people.
6) Minimize the time you spend in customer service-type establishments (grocery stores, beach restaurants, etc.) There isn’t much “customer service” here, so its lack will only infuriate you.
7) Have a countdown to the next time you get to go home but DON’T LOOK AT IT! Looking at it will only depress you (until you finally get into the less-than-30-days range). Knowing it’s there and that the time is ticking away is comforting, but, like I said, don’t look at it.
Any other advice, questions or lessons for me and my fellow island-dwellers?