Thoughtful Thursday: Inertia

August 6, 2009

Thoughtful ThursdayHow did it get to be August? Here are the Intelligentsia (people who have commented on every Thoughtful Thursday post for the month of July).

Wiseguy from Woman Anyone? has achieved Intelligentsia status every month since Thoughtful Thursday began. Current count: Lucky 7.

Ernessa from Fierce and Nerdy is back for the sixth time.

Our five-timer is Kristen from Dragondreamer’s Lair.

Jill from All Aboard the Pity Boat is three-peating.

There are three new Intelligentsia members: Jules from Just Multiply by 2, Rose’s Daughter, and Chelle from Our Life in a Nutchell (who is making good use of her bedrest time by commenting on blogs).

Thoughtful Thursday

Today let’s talk about inertia. You know, Newton’s First Law. Objects in motion stay in motion, and objects at rest stay at rest. It doesn’t always appear to be so, because external forces affecting the object such as friction or gravity may be hard to detect, but in a situation free from external forces, inertia persists indefinitely.

Newton’s First Law is true in physics, and very true of me.

I think it’s true of most people to some extent, but it’s preposterously characteristic of me. Some examples:

It can take me a long time to get started on something, especially work. Once I get started, though, I don’t stop. Sometimes I’ll go to the office intending to stay for an hour, and emerge bleary-eyed and carpal-tunnel-wristed 10 hours later. My mind is usually happy to continue, and most of my body reluctantly obliges, but my stomach and my husband eventually call me home.

When I’m on a roll with something, I am so focused that I don’t stop, even when I really should. Often I don’t stop what I’m doing to pee until it’s so urgent that I have to sprint to the bathroom, on the verge of wetting my pants.

My daily patterns go in waves. For years I arrived at the office hours before anyone else except the cleaning crew (thanks to DH’s work schedule at the time). For the past several years, truer to my night owl nature, it’s a rare occurrence to arrive before noon.

Inertia has been a big problem since I’ve been pregnant. I spent the first several months, literally months, on the couch, only dragging my ass to work when absolutely mandatory (I had to go in several days a week for New Job, but I can work from home much of the time for Old Job). I kept up fine with New Job, but Old Job fell by the wayside. I did not touch an iota of Old Job work that wasn’t urgent, and I lapsed even on some urgent tasks, prompting some “What the hell?” phone calls to my house. Some of the outside forces in this regard have been less-than-pleasant to deal with, and my pregnancy trump card does not always work wonders as I was led to believe it would. Stop lying, fertiles!

Now that some fires have been lit under my lazy ass (including “don’t let other people down” fires and “think of your long-term career” fires as well as an improvement in the crippling dampers of fatigue and nausea), for the past few weeks I have been a busy little bee. I have completed things that have been on my To Do list for literally more than a year.

Meanwhile, DH has remained in a state of constant motion, as usual. This whole pregnancy he’s been in Batten Down the Hatches frantic work mode, doing as much as he can to earn money and accomplish major goals before the babies arrive and “his life is over.” This week, I insisted that we start making appointments most evenings for Together Time, because otherwise, aside from him bringing me food, I might not see him at all.

What does this have to do with infertility? Everything. As with the rest of my life, inertia reigns supreme. Before TTC, making the leap to start trying required a huge change of mindset. When we were trying naturally, I needed overwhelming evidence of pointlessness to get myself to the doctor. Stopping treatments wasn’t so hard the first time, precipitated by Miscarriage #1 and depletion of funds. Resuming treatments, on the other hand, occurred years after our self-imposed break had ended, and again required overwhelming evidence of pointlessness as well as acceptance of the fact that there would be no other way to conceive except for Big Guns.

One thing I can guarantee: once these babies show up, this object at rest (from treatments) will remain at rest, forever.

Are you driven (and not driven) by inertia? In what aspects of your life? What external forces interrupt your motion or cause you to stop being at rest?


13 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Inertia”

  1. Kristin Says:

    Oh man…I am so glad I’m not the only one who functions like this. One big area is in house cleaning. No, not cleaning, but straightening up. I will be completely slack but then when I get going I am fanatical about it.

  2. jill Says:

    Very thoughtful post! I have never thought about this before but this idea of inertia affects a lot of areas of my life.

    It’s very hard to get me going; in the morning, at work, cleaning the house, packing for a trip, you name it. I’m a procrastinator and it ends up adding so much stress to my life, you’d think I would stop. But… “objects at rest, stay at rest.” Oh. So. True.

    Case in point – right now I am sitting on the couch reading blogs (duh ;)) and watching “My First Place” on H.GTV. I really should 1. go running, 2. do some more work, 3. clean up the house. I know I should get up and do something else, I want to, but it’s just so hard to get going.

    I wish I had more things that caused me to not be at rest. My husband definitely plays this part getting me out of the house in the morning. On the opposite side, sadness, or feelings of hopelessness often interrupt my motion. I think tonight your post will be the influencing factor that interrupts my rest – thank you!

  3. Jules Says:

    Up until TTC I didn’t realize the inertia (I tend to view it as “routine”) that was my day to day. Pre-TTC /pg I was definitely in motion – long work weeks, exercise class, find dinner, go out, try to sleep and repeat. Never sat around or was much at rest. I’m much the same way at work tasks like you mention – get through the whole project first: No restroom breaks, lunch break, nada. Never stopped in the middle of things.

    While I wasn’t upset we ran into TTC trouble it did throw a wrench into everything. But pregnancy really took it a step further. All of a sudden (mod. bedrest) “object” is told to stop. Felt like I hit a brick wall. How long I was stuck on the couch wasn’t the biggest issue for me. Those first few weeks where your body and mind are adjusting to complete rest were the worst.

    Of course I went from that to two newborns and again, such a shock to the system that had now spent 4 months doing next to nothing. I’m still having problems adjusting to all the motion and trying to get back to my normal “busy” schedule, which a few years ago, was like second nature.

    Not sure (besides doctors telling me / pregnancy) on the external forces. Mostly right now it’s my own inner self reminded me “we used to be always on the go, we can get back there” But I do have to get used to the “new” concept of motion. With the girls, I don’t get much opportunity to complete entire tasks at a time, and while this drives me insane, it’s something I’m trying to adjust to.

  4. Ana Says:

    oh yes, i can relate to this. pre-pregnancy, i was afraid to stop, lest I couldn’t start back up again. I had long, busy days, and often worked more from home after dinner.

    when the pregnancy ick started, i had to grind to a halt, and haven’t really started back up again. it is all or nothing for me—i either exercise/do work/organize the house/socialize….or….i sit on the couch reading blogs & watching TV.

    external forces towards motion: my husband/boss/colleagues or someone else “making me” do something for my own good(or the good of my colleagues).

    towards inertia: not external but internal forces–usually sadness, anxiety, or just plain too-much-living-in-my-head and thinking. the latter may be partly to blame in the current situation. i’ve never spent so much time worrying, planning, and speculating about the future…there is no room in my head for anything else!

    i am worried about being able to wind back up when I REALLY need to, but as Julie said above, hopefully the “I did it before, I can do it again” will be good motivation.

  5. Shinejil Says:

    I think inertia should be my new middle name, especially in the realm of academia. It’s so, so hard to get shit done, or to even start pretending to get shit done, when you’re exhausted and not sure what the point is and all that.

    I know this sounds very, very stupid–and I’m open to being virtually slapped or at least to others rolling their eyes–but I’ve felt a lot of envy for gals who more traditional jobs that force them to go to work for certain hours a day (instead of my nebulous work from home intellectual labors). With a dissertation and with freelancing, your work is basically never done and is always unpredictable. And all the force for overcoming any inertia comes from you, from your will.

    So blowing it off feels so good.

  6. ^WiseGuy^ Says:

    You see, when I was born, my parents got an astrological chart for me which the guy interpreted as – “Kanya chatur lekin aalsi hogi”. that is, the girl will be wise but lazy. See, inertia is in my stars!


    Your topic speaks to me.

    I may get into a rut for anything. I have said it somewhere on my blog that I always used to submit my assignments on time (because I started earlier than my colleagues). But any awkward thought make me want to not do it and freeze till the eleventh hour.

    Again recently, we were all expected to prepare for a presentation. We were told almost three days in advance. I did not begin (because I did not feel like it)making the presentation till the morning of the day I was expected to present. And that too, was made good in thirty minutes flat. The point is that while I was making it, I was told of the postponement of the presentation, but I continued and finished it. Number of my colleagues are now not wanting to do it till the date actually comes.

    I think I am a *very* moody person. If I am in the groove, I would accomplish almost anything. But if I am not in the mood, nothing in the world can shake me out of my slumber.

    I am driven by inertia in my personal life more than my professional life. I am more at-it in office than at home.

    Expectations of others from me, professional commitments or even the relative importance of who is making the suggestion will get me out of the rut. I may also do *just the needful*, and not an iota more.

  7. birdless Says:

    I’ve always been an all-or-nothing person, which I think might be similar to what you are talking about. It is hard for me to get started, but once I do, I do not stop. This can be both good and bad. I have to be careful not to get obessed with things. It is the pattern of an addict.

  8. Shelby Says:

    Ah, you have described me so well. Although I did poorly in physics in college (I’m much more of a liberal arts/humanities type of chick), I did get this concept and clearly embraced it for my own. Like you, I have 2 modes…endless and never started. And my treatment cycles are clear proof of this: the first two years of just BDing, the break of an entire year after IUI #1, and then the last 5 months of continuous treatments that included no less than 3 IUIs and 1 IVF, without even a second’s pause between any of them. I’m either hell bent on constant movement or lazy as hell. I guess it just depends on whether it’s a full moon or not. 🙂

  9. Photogrl Says:


    This definitely plays a role in our STC for the last 4 years. Often, I wonder if I’ll ever feel like we’re done trying. It seems like I don’t just want, I NEED to keep going forward, trying new treatments. Will the need ever ebb?

  10. loribeth Says:

    I thought you were writing about me for a minute there…!! ; )

  11. Heather Says:

    Yes!!! This is me to a T. By the way, I have a term for waiting that long to pee because you are working really hard. I call it “urinal retentive”. But that is why I like to at least tell myself to start something for 15 minutes. Then at least that way I get it started and move inertia into the other direction other than sitting still. But I also believe life is cyclical and that there are times for getting things done and times to sit back and relax a bit.

  12. I’m just not a big fan of rest. I actually love working. My bigger problem is regular life. It takes me forever to get around to stuff like cooking, cleaning, running errands, paying bills, sending thank you cards, etc.

    But man does that pee situation describe me. One of the saddest things about post-natal recovery is that you really can’t hold your bladder w/o getting into some serious trouble, though, so be prepared to lose that habit.

    I had the same old job/new job problem, though old job was at an office and new job was at home. Eventually, I figured out that I just needed to keep the same office hours for the new job as I did for the old job. Once I had established a routine it wasn’t too hard to keep up til the last month of my last trimester. Sadly I figured this out after reading that babies need routines. As it turns out that might never stop being true.

  13. Yes! Actually right now I really need to clean the bathroom, but I opted for commenting on your blog instead! (if the baby sleeps long enough I may be able to do both).

    Work-wise I always have a lot of plans and ideas, but really getting them done is a whole other story (although I think this is not only due to inertia, but also to some kind of fear of jumping in the deep end).

    Regarding IF, I certainly wasted a few months, maybe years, due to inertia. Only after 1.5 years of TTC did I go see a doctor (regular OB/GYN, no RE). Then when every time all tests came back normal it required a huge leap of mindset (i.e. about a year) to decide it was time for IF-treatment (moving country didn’t help either) and then I even stayed too long with IUIs before finally switching to IVF.

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