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  • Writer's pictureKarl Walker-Finch

An eye for the crater

Updated: Jun 15

Which craters are you about to fall in?

In The Martian by Andy Weir we relive astronaut Mark Watney’s unlikely isolation on Mars following a botched mission through his diary entries sol by sol.

****spoiler alert****

There’s an entry towards the end where our auspicious astronaut has nearly completed a treacherous journey across the Martian surface. He’s overcome many obstacles in his pimped out rover and his destination is in view. Unsighted by what he sees as the end of the road, he tumbles into a crater very nearly foreshortening the book by a couple of chapters.

The discerning reader would clearly not be fooled by such suspense, remembering that we’re reading his journal. Mortality is quite the inhibitor of writing ability, not that I need much to inhibit my writing style.

One of the best things about keeping my own journal, is that I have become more self-aware, more able to recognise patterns in my behaviour. I’ve noticed that I often hit a low spell after a manic spell.

More commonly, this is known as burnout. Fortunately, the burnout I seem to get is of the short term variety. I work harder and harder and harder until my body and brain shut down. I’m running on empty for a few days until I recharge the batteries and can go again. The idea then, is to start the recharge before the battery is completely drained. The ideal long term solution is to make sure I’m maintaining a steady state of restoring energy as I’m consuming it but this doesn’t always feel possible.

The warning signs were there these last few weeks. Since I cam back from our little jaunt in June, I’ve pushed myself to get back on top of everything. I was trying to do more more more and before I knew it, I was teetering dangerously towards the precipice of a crater that I hadn't seen because I was too busy looking ahead to take in the immediate danger.

With the aid of Marisa (as usual), I’d spotted these warning signs and forced myself to take a step back, to cut all non-essentials for a couple of weeks and get myself back on track. This blog was one such non-essential, hence the lack of posts in the last couple of weeks.

It’s a constant to and fro, a drain and recharge that happens on a daily basis. Sometimes I’m losing a bit of energy every day and I don’t always notice it leaching away until most of it’s gone.

For me, it’s enough right now to have an awareness of this. To keep journalling, to maintain awareness of my environment so as to not fall into the crater by looking too far down the road.

Going forward, for the time being at least, this weekly blog is becoming bi-weekly (every two weeks that is, not twice a week, thanks again to the English language which I so love playing with so, and yet requires perpetual parentheses). Alternate weeks I’ll be publishing a new blog on our website aimed towards patients which I’m hoping will debunk some myths and put some dental jargon into plain English (if there is such a thing).

This In The Loupe blog is still going to keep rumbling on for anybody (dentists and humans) who finds it useful, just very slightly less frequently than it was before.

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