On the drive from Pittsburgh to Catskill, I suddenly realized that I've become drastically less mindful lately than I had been in the past, and decided to do something about it. I set myself a project of trying to hold in my mind the fact that I am conscious. I met with quite a bit of success; driving is an activity that can be done almost completely unconsciously, and while I have frequently cultivated a state of semi-conscious haze on long car trips in the past, I found that I was able to mostly replace this with awareness.
I had the thought while driving that it would be much more difficult to maintain this state while doing anything, and this was borne out when I stopped at Sheetz for food and gas (I had planned to stop at the first Sheetz at least 200 miles into the trip; it turned out that this was 328ish miles). Incidentally, my mileage for that first leg of the trip was almost 30 miles per gallon, whereas I had only gotten 18 or so on the driving I had done around Pittsburgh the previous week. Nance thinks this might be a slow gas leak, as that would lead to decreased mileage over long periods, whereas driving a lot in one day, the gas might not have time to leak.
Since then I've had what I would consider good results on the same task, though I'm pretty sure there are stretches of an hour or two when it doesn't occur to me that I'm conscious. Today was the Hamm family Christmas, which was good, but seemed… surreal. Actually, everything has seemed kind of surreal lately.
I'm finding that I really missed my obsessive thoughts, and that the annoying ones are almost totally gone and (I hope) won't come back unless I specifically call for them for some reason. I do still wish I could quit picking at my fingernails and the skin on the tips of my fingers, though.
I like the shorter journal entries I've been writing lately, although I sort of wonder whether their length allows me to get away with a lack of rigor. I suppose a journal is the wrong place to look for rigor anyway, but a part of me wonders how I'll ever find the mental energy for any writing that is rigorous, with the creative load imposed on me by my job. I take heart, though, in the fact that my job is at least pretty flexible, and that I think (/hope) I'm finally starting to put aside a little money, and that I won't always have to work, and that my next job will probably pay better, unless I take it for reasons other than pay, in which case it will probably be something I enjoy.