Oct 202010
Authors: Shane Rohleder

When my mother called last Friday to tell me she was going to New York for the weekend, I said, “Oh, I had no idea.”

I’d heard something a few months prior about my Dad signing up to take some classes in New York, but since that time I’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, “Oh, I had no idea.”

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 I’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 I’d talked to her in roughly three weeks.

The last couple nights I’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 I’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, I’m consciously waiting for him to get to me, and I have no intention of getting up. This dream has occurred three times, and I’ve not yet been shot.

It’s more than halfway through the semester and I’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 don’t have a Facebook, I don’t tweet, I don’t watch TV (unless it’s a movie I’ve seen a hundred times already) and I am not an avid “texter” (although I’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.

I’m no dream interpreter, but I think the guy shooting people in the movie theater is the “issue’s pending” I’ve constantly got on the back burner, and Roosevelt fighting Lucas is probably just because I’ve fantasized about those two meeting in a boxing ring for some time now.

Perhaps you’re struggling with the same anxiety and are losing touch with those closest to you because of the miasma of assignments you’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 I’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 you’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, “I love sleep. My life seems to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” Find a way to sleep, even if your dreams are terrifying.

Last: Drink. I don’t even need to explain this (although I tried a six-pack study night and it didn’t work as well as I’d hoped; perhaps just use it for attaining three).

Don’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 news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 2:10 pm

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