I woke up this morning from a vivid dream in which I was having shiatsu massage, at my acupuncture studio in Lima. The masseur was stretching my neck, and there was a student watching intently.
Suddenly he paused. He had picked up on something. “Professor Zero,” he said, “Why is it that you always strive for your second choice at everything, not your first? Why do you not try first for the things you really want, and then go for your fallback options later, if your first choices do not work? Why do you aim for your second choice first? Why do you aim to come in second and not first?”
I woke up because I heard a noise, but I might have awakened anyway at that point. It was, as I say, a very vivid dream. The questions are familiar and I can easily answer them. Still I am interested to have dreamed this, and dreamed it so vividly today.
I made coffee and looked at e-mail. Then I scraped, bleached, and and caulked the bathtub and shower. This took about three hours.
Then I had lunch, and now I am looking at files. I am looking for some research files and also some files of business letters, and I came upon a file of notes from a couple of years ago, in which I was examining my psychic state then and trying to figure out how to better manage anxiety.
I noticed how very much worse it was then than now. I do mean very much worse. This is encouraging. I saw that at the time, the only activity I had identified which would actually reduce anxiety was reading literary theory. Now, most American psychotherapists I have met would say that was because this is a “safe space” or somewhere I can “retreat.” I would say that it reduces anxiety because it is something I need to be doing and do not do enough of. If I read theory, I get on track for every aspect of my job and life, and anxiety — which in my case is always about not doing what I want to do and know it is a good idea to do — dissipates.
Therefore we will continue discussing theory. The post of the day, on “applications” of theory, is good.