I headed for the library with the intention of working on overdue papers.

The intention was to see if holing up in a study room would help me focus.  This thinking is based past experience.  I have sat at home for days, sitting at my computer and my mind jumps from topic to topic unable to land on anything but my Roo for long periods of time.  So I will go to the library, thinking different surroundings will help me focus and I sit there for hours on end – my mind jumping from topic to topic and landing on Roo.  Maybe if I get a study room this time, my mind will focus and I will be able to get things done…to no avail.

I can’t even bring myself to go into the library… I instead pick up a small salad from the college deli, sit at a table, finish listening to my podcast…  I get in my car with the intention of again, going to the library… I make it to the library parking lot… I don’t go in…

I drive to a local park outside of town.  This is the park I used to bring the kids to when they were young and it was hot outside.  This is the park we used to be happy at – splashing in the slow moving creek… finding pretty rocks and declaring them “treasures”… Roo once found a stick here that he deemed his “walking stick” when he was about three years old or so.  This “walking stick” doubled as a hot wheel road maker and digging stick… we kept that stick all summer long…he wouldn’t leave home without it.  He would put it in the car when we went grocery shopping even…silly Roo.

This is the park where Rin celebrated her first birthday.  Balloons and streamers adorned a picnic table…we had carrot cake and she got one of her favorite dollies that year…

This park was my turn-around when I would drive Roo up and down the road when he was a baby when he had colic.  The road here is an old concrete road so it has nice rhythmic ruts in between the concrete slabs…perfect to lull a baby to sleep.  I would put him in his car seat at night, plug in some Beethoven and spend a good thirty minutes driving up and down the road…just him and I driving an old country road on early fall nights…

Some summer nights the air at this park was filled with the smell of mint.  A field across the road was planted in mint and the air would be pungent with the smell…with the windows down it would waft throughout the car…there was nothing like the feeling of being enveloped in the smell of mint and the sound of music…

Those are the places my mind settles on when I should be focusing on my homework.  I should be focusing on the Military Industrial Complex, power structures, rural elder issues, sociological theories, inequities and injustices that are inherently systemic in our society.  I want to focus on those things – they are issues that I deeply care about…but my mind won’t settle on them.  It almost seems as if I do dwell on them I am somehow not focusing on the right things.

I feel guilty not doing the work I need to.  I feel guilty when I sit at the computer at home and am not working on my papers – Joe is being so caring and patient, but I feel guilty because I don’t feel like I am pulling my weight.  I was supposed to be done with school by now…I was supposed to be on my way to getting my career on track…I am supposed to be contributing financially to the family budget instead of being a drain on it…

Instead…my mind wanders from memory to memory, indulging in fantasies and times when my Roo was here and my family was full and happy… when the future was filled with promise, dreams realized, and hope in things to come.  Instead, I feel like there is something looming on the horizon, something else is going to happen, some dread looms…a catastrophe on the horizon that keeps me from looking too far into the future…something that keeps me from turning my focus outward to the outside world too long.  It seems that if I try to hope too much, that thing looming on the horizon will become a realization.  Call it superstition, call it crazy, call it whatever you will…that’s what I feel…


2 thoughts on “Can’t Focus

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