The Art of Exploration · a diary of day trips, natural places, and miscellaneous adventures

Milton Keynes Central

Saturday, January 5th, 2013 in Buckinghamshire
Milton Keynes Central

The first week of 2013 is hectic. I try to ease gently back into a routine after the New Year, but that effort is soon dashed. On my first day back, I find myself under a landslide of work. The number of new tasks I acquire on my list of to-dos quickly outnumbers those that I complete. I stumble into a half-dozen messy situations and I resurface time and again with the vague feeling that I’m being duped into taking on responsibilities that aren’t mine.

The end result unfurls as familiar, neck-wrenching stress. Consequently, my shoulders lodge themselves in my ears and my teeth loosen from clenching my jaw when I sleep. I have far too much to do and way too little time in which to do it. To make matters worse, I can’t get through a solid ten minutes without a multitude of interruptions—phone calls, instant messages, emails, reminders, questions, suggestions, corrections, goals, game-changers. It’s never-ending.

Platform at Milton Keynes Central train station.

My inbox gathers a layer of email detritus six-feet deep. Messages cry for my attention and I cringe at the volume of correspondences I must read, review, delete, ignore, sort, or respond to. I lose information in the nooks and crannies because I forget if someone told me something by email or instant message or in the description of a meeting invitation. The information I receive comes at me in fifty different formats. I try, in vain, to recall what to do with each item, who sent it to me, and how it arrived.

I’m organized but there are limits. I lack sufficient energy for this. It feels like someone figured out my capacity for keeping my head above water and then they opened the floodgates another two-hundred fold beyond that. I bob on a sea of expectations, I grow seasick.

Others, too, suffer from burnout, I hear it in the voices of friends and family. I see it in their eyes of strangers texting and calling as they sit on trains or walk down the street. Like them, I don’t know what to do, how to catch up, how to keep up, how to cope. I try my best each day to work to a high standard, to meet expectations, and to retain my sanity. I maintain an awkward juggling act and strain to improve.

If you can’t meditate in a boiler room, you can’t meditate.
~ Alan Watts

For now, I deal with my stress as best as I can. Hence, I meditate, I concentrate, I do yoga. And I walk each day, rain or shine. Today, for example, I stroll past the Milton Keynes Central train station. The station is normally bustling, but today it is calm, empty. Although I like the view of the train station my walk offers me, I crave greenery. Tomorrow, perhaps, I will instead walk to Lodge Lake or South Loughton Valley Park.

Platform at Milton Keynes Central train station.
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Assortment

Mesa Trail to Shanahan Ridge
Mesa Trail 1
Today, it topped sixty-five degrees for the first time in two weeks. After a morning of chores, I snuck away for the afternoon for some much-needed trail time. The late start meant I couldn’t drive far to hike, so I went to my favorite nearby standby: the Mesa Trail.
Smoke Season
Smoke Season
About ten days ago, a shift in the jet stream delivered a thick layer of smoke to the Front Range, cutting the visibility (which normally exceeds 35 miles) to less than 10 miles at times.
Viceroy
Viceroy