By Taylor Griffin
NEW YORK – Call it what you will, but as of late, I’ve fallen victim to a journalist’s worst nightmare: writer’s block.
Typically when I pen my blog entries, I use the week as my muse to reflect on my observations and thoughtfully consider how I will combine my ideas. These last few days, however, were different. I’ve tried to conjure a memory of a specific discovery that would make me sound deep, insightful or whatever flattering adjective.
But alas, in the process, I deleted several drafts of hollow material that proved fruitless when I fleshed them out, always resulting in a “meh” reflection.
Certainly my absence of inspiration has not stemmed from boring observations. I tried to write about every possibility: the fact that New York is swiftly changing seasons and becoming Pumpkin Spice Paradise, the array of indie films and celebrity Q&A sessions I’ve seen at the New York Film Festival or the embarrassing, tearful encounter I had with Mitchell Jarvis, one of my Broadway idols. All of them proved dead ends as I sat down to write.
Behind each of these events and countless others I tried to grasp, I felt no passion in my words on my laptop screen. As a journalist, I’ve written material on the fly plenty of times before, but this time wasn’t procrastination in the least—it was merely lack of revelation.
Upon further consideration, I found this sense to be the most compelling to explore, and I arrived at this conclusion: I am completely and unashamedly tired.
The truth is, my mind is fried, and my body is not too far behind it. Between classes, my internship and outside events I have to attend, I have had no time to take a breath. In fact, I haven’t had a great night’s rest since I left my East Texas bed a month and a half ago.
As many college students can relate, I believe there are different levels of exhaustion, not unlike Dante’s nine circles of Hell. I distinctly remember the deliriously wasted sensation of working at the Lariat every day until midnight with 18 hours of classes also on my plate. There’s also the bloodshot-eyed late nights of final’s week, a beast all its own.
Among other instances of being completely pooped, none of them compare to the feeling of having your mind fall to its knees before your body actually does. As I mentioned, I take my week to ruminate new concepts I learn, and honestly, my last week feels like a huge blur in my mind.
This really isn’t a shock to me though. About this time every year, I fall face first with what most people call “burning the candle at both ends.” It takes one good bout of head cold to shake me back out of autopilot. Last year, I got an ear infection and a ruptured eardrum on Halloween. Babies don’t lie—those things would make a grown man cry.
Though I fought it hard, I’ve had an incessant cold the past few weeks that I’ve ignored long enough, and my body is so exhausted that sleep only puts a dent in its recovery. Emergen-C can only do so much at this point.
For fear of becoming complacent, my level of entertainment and eagerness to go nonstop comes at the expense of my health. Not such a smart trade off. This semester in particular, I’ve been so consumed with squeezing every last drop out of my stay here that I’ve forgotten to make time to simply slow it down.
Nearly every night in the past week I’ve gone out with friends, seen multiple films or had late night classes, all of which made my nights run until around 3 a.m. My realization came Tuesday night—well, Wednesday morning I suppose—when I came home from some friends’ apartment in the wee hours, hopped into bed for some Netflix and Googled what time Dominique Ansel Bakery opens for Cronuts, which sell out an hour after opening each day. When I set my alarm for 5:45 a.m., only two hours later, I knew I had a problem.
As a result, I haven’t had ample time to seriously reflect on my time. I have several papers due this week that require me to journal my experiences over the last few weeks, and it’s taken me some effort to honestly remember what has happened.
Much to my family’s displeasure, I’m not ready to go home yet. While my memories have made the semester spectacular thus far, this realization showed me that my time here is not infinite. The city expects a lot out of you, and I’ve been much too happy to oblige. In order to truly make this time last, I need to stop and enjoy rather than hurry on to the next excitement. At the very least, a few more winks of sleep wouldn’t hurt.