My life is so adjectiveIt’s the first day of the week and this coming Tuesday is the first day of the semester, and that means it’s time for me to reorganize my schedule. Actually, this entails organizing and planning more than just my schedule. For example, as my blog post from yesterday shows, I have recently rearranged my dorm room. It is necessary that I do this at the beginning of each semester. In this particular case, it was especially needed because, over the last couple of months, my room had become messier and less ordered than I usually allow it to get. This state of affairs in my room has been fairly reflective of the state of affairs in my schedule and the way my brain works. The time has clearly come, not to make changes necessarily, but to clearly define the way things sort of are already and should be all the time.

Approximately three months ago, I spent a fair amount of time writing down lists of my life priorities, my opinions about various important things, and my life rules. I further summarized these lists into a few principles so concise that they had the appealing quality of a simple algorithm.  Thus, I concluded, I had clearly defined my personal rules of life, and everything would make sense, and I would be completely capable of solving any problem easily and neatly. It didn’t quite turn out that way. In fact, I would say that between then and now, my life has made very little sense and has been generally uncool in several ways, some of them very specific and others very abstract.

ListThe fault did not lie with my life rules, which were sufficiently logical and axiomatically accurate. The problems lay with my life, which is too complex and too unpredictable to be governed by such a simple set of rules, and my brain, which doesn’t always follow my own rules. You see, I’m so obsessive about organizing and planning things that I feel a need to even script out my thoughts before thinking them. When my brain goes off-script, it’s confusing and disorienting, but this is an inevitable occurrence, because life itself goes off-script all the time.

There are two ways to respond to this conundrum. I could just accept the fact that life is unpredictable, illogical, and full of surprises. The only way to deal with it is to learn how to improvise a little, to be capable of changing my mind or altering my plans, to tolerate change and to accept the fact that sometimes I don’t know what to do or what to think and I need to just take a guess. Alternatively, I could stick with my conviction that everything is quantifiable and that I could make sense out of life if I just had more data.

I've got life down to a scienceTherefore, here are the new rules of my life. My values and priorities will follow the system laid out a few months ago, which is no different from the less specific system I already followed. My schedule will be consistent from week to week and will follow the plan that I wrote a few days ago. This schedule, of course, revolves around my classes. In the meantime, I will be obsessively collecting data on everything. I have developed methods of quantifying cognitive efficiency and emotion, which I will be tracking on a multi-daily basis. I will keep records of time spent sleeping, eating, dancing, studying, and sitting in class. I will be noting the music I hear, the food I eat, the degree of my health, and the weather patterns. Furthermore, each day will be evaluated on a scale measuring it against normality according to a specific standard set forth by my daily schedule. All of these factors will be noted and evaluated for the purpose of discovering any correlations. For example, does less sleep lead to decreased cognitive functioning? Do certain kinds of music motivate me to study more? To what extent does weather affect my emotional state? Am I correct in my presupposition that normality in my schedule leads to a maximum mental ability, good health, and positive emotions? These are all things that I feel a need to know in order to develop successful life algorithms in the future.

Pictured: an actual nutcase

Pictured: an actual nutcase

Anyone who is sufficiently versed in psychological theory, either real or as-seen-on-TV, will probably have come to the conclusion by now that I feel a need to document and record everything in my life in order to compensate for insecurities that stem from a fear of lack of control. Very observant, psychological people. But you haven’t really noticed anything that I don’t already know and wouldn’t have been capable of explaining. I am, in fact, a complete nutcase who is just trying to find a way to make statistical sense out of the confusing, stressful, and frequently unpleasant situation known as life.

Whatever works, right?