I wasn't going to write today. Not only did I sleep in - until 5:45! - but I barely managed to motivate myself to go to breakfast. It's Friday after all and I'm just plain old feeling lazy, looking forward to a weekend full of....full of what? Good question. But my big weekend plans are a subject for another post. Instead, I decided that I owed it to myself and to you, my dear readers, to force myself to sit down at the keyboard to commemorate my first full month in prison.
So if you'll indulge me in a bit of self-congratulations: One down, forty-nine to go! Yay! Almost there. Great job, Leigh! Keep it up.
Of course, as usual, I'm being a bit ironic. Although my sentence was for the seemingly eternal amount of 50 months, with a bit of luck (including halfway house, good time and RDAP) it will hopefully work out to only about half that. It better, because that's how I keep myself sane. Nonetheless, the completion of my first month feels like an accomplishment.
Why is that? It's not like I did anything particularly special to survive the month - the passage of time is completely out of my hands, after all. But in prison, I'm finding, it's how you spend your time that matters. And also how you think about it.
Have you ever had one of those busy, busy days where you wake up and suddenly, before you know it, it's evening and you're getting ready for bed? Or an exciting day where time just flew? Or a boring day spent lying around on the couch where the time between breakfast and lights out seemed interminable? Or an afternoon at work that felt more like an eternity?
If you have had any of those experiences you will understand where I'm coming from, because in prison you can multiply those feelings times ten and come up with a pretty good approximation of the passage of time behind these walls. The best way I can describe it, is that time here becomes malleable. Or, as I described it on Justin Paperny's Etika LLC blog, time twists and stretches like taffy. So what I do is keep as busy as my old mind and body permit. There's work, of course, an involuntary business spent weed wacking. But there's also reading and writing and yoga and exercise. The more I do, I find, the faster time passes.
In alcoholics anonymous you learn, as part of your recovery, to live day by day. I always sort of scoffed at that idea. I like to look out far ahead into the distance while planning and preparing for the future. I thought: what's so bad about thinking ten years ahead and saying to yourself that you'll be sober then?
It took a trip to prison but now, I finally understand. If I sit here today and think about spending the next X (49???) months at this place, it's liable to drive me crazy. But if I think about today, making it from morning to night, that seems eminently doable. So that's what I do. And that's how the first month passed. And you know what? It passed remarkably quickly. I just hope the next passes just as fast.
And the next.
And the next.
And the next.