When my mother called last Friday to tell me she was going to New York for the weekend, I said, â€œOh, I had no idea.â€
Iâ€™d heard something a few months prior about my Dad signing up to take some classes in New York, but since that time Iâ€™d heard nothing else. I had no idea my mother would be accompanying him (My mother will read this, so: Mom, this is not your fault).
My little brother came home the other day and told me that my older brother was in the hospital, to which I said, â€œOh, I had no idea.â€
Apparently he was too dizzy to stand up after a plane ride from Chicago to Denver. I called him the next day and, to my astonishment, upon hanging up, I realized this was the first conversation Iâ€™d had with him in roughly three weeks.
My sister lives 10 minutes north of me in Fort Collins. I called her on Saturday to ask if I could use her digital camera, she said yes. Upon hanging up I realized this was the first time Iâ€™d talked to her in roughly three weeks.
The last couple nights Iâ€™ve laid awake in bed trying to figure out why sometimes my blood feels like dirty oil, slowly seeping its way through my strained heart.
When I do finally slip into madness, I have a strange dream where Iâ€™m trapped in a movie theater with a boxing ring in the center. Theodore Roosevelt is in the ring getting hammered on by my good friend Lucas, a Russian-American with a mean right cross (my jaw can attest).
Meanwhile, a man with a patchy black beard and a double-chin is walking from person to person shooting them with a gun, Iâ€™m consciously waiting for him to get to me, and I have no intention of getting up. This dream has occurred three times, and Iâ€™ve not yet been shot.
Itâ€™s more than halfway through the semester and Iâ€™ve found myself trapped at the bottom of an academic pit.
Constantly pending papers, RamCT posts, group projects and test study sessions have nearly wiped clean any connection I used to have with the outside world.
I rarely check my e-mail, I donâ€™t have a Facebook, I donâ€™t tweet, I donâ€™t watch TV (unless itâ€™s a movie Iâ€™ve seen a hundred times already) and I am not an avid â€œtexterâ€ (although Iâ€™ve made significant strides in this department).
When I do have a moment to spare, I bury my nose in a book about the Wild West, when it was still protected from the ravages of urbanization and the Indians still ruled the Badlands of the Dakotas.
Iâ€™m no dream interpreter, but I think the guy shooting people in the movie theater is the â€œissueâ€™s pendingâ€ Iâ€™ve constantly got on the back burner, and Roosevelt fighting Lucas is probably just because Iâ€™ve fantasized about those two meeting in a boxing ring for some time now.
Perhaps youâ€™re struggling with the same anxiety and are losing touch with those closest to you because of the miasma of assignments youâ€™ve got coming up in the near future, or perhaps your dreams are about lollipops gone sour (which would be terrifying).
So, here is what Iâ€™ve found to help me: One, breathe. The leaves are yellow and falling, and if you walk from Morgan Library to Eddy (the plaza way) a yellow hue tints the sun and youâ€™ll find yourself covered in a canopy of golden light. In these moments, stop and breathe. Even once is enough.
Two: Laugh. Find something to laugh at (YouTube is your friend). Laughing temporarily stops the world from imploding.
Three: Sleep. Hemingway said, â€œI love sleep. My life seems to fall apart when Iâ€™m awake, you know?â€ Find a way to sleep, even if your dreams are terrifying.
Last: Drink. I donâ€™t even need to explain this (although I tried a six-pack study night and it didnâ€™t work as well as Iâ€™d hoped; perhaps just use it for attaining three).
Donâ€™t get trapped in a paper pit. And call your mothers.
Shane Rohleder is a senior communication studies major. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.