Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Forty-Eight Days Until My Release From Federal Prison
The final month that I will have to begin and end in prison has arrived. I’ll serve a few weeks in May, but I hardly count that time. This is it. April is truly my final month, and I feel great about beginning it today.
I understand a lot more about prison now that I have nearly 12 months of it behind me. Yesterday I spoke with a man who has been incarcerated for 20-plus years. He is scheduled for release later this year and he’s obviously enthusiastic. He said that he couldn’t wait to go swimming. I didn’t really think about swimming before. As I listened to the long-term prisoner describe how more than 20 years had passed since he had submerged himself in water, I realized that I too had missed the feeling of plunging into a pool. There is a lot of joy that awaits my release.
Still, since I have to pass through 48 more days of confinement, I would have thought this final stretch would be the easiest part of my sentence. It’s not. Ironically, the easiest part was somewhere during the middle six or seven months. During that stretch, I felt acclimated to my environment. I had my routine in place. Each night I slept easily before nine and I woke without exception before five. I spent my mornings and late afternoons writing. I exercised hard. The days passed on schedule.
My schedule feels a bit less pressing now. I don’t fall asleep as easily. Sometimes I feel thoughts colliding in my head; they keep me awake past midnight. I sleep a bit later than I would like in the morning. I completed a major writing project that I will soon announce. The calendar pages keep turning, and I bubble with anticipation for my imminent return to society.
The time for my release has almost arrived, and to some extent, it slows down the clock. As I wait for the end of May, I feel a little like I’m waiting for paint to dry. Yesterday I didn’t even exercise. I wasn’t scheduled to take a day of rest, but I simply felt like staying inside to read, write and study. So I did.
A bit of the discipline, I’m finding, evaporates at the end of the term. Now I’m kind of in a meandering phase, simply wading through calm waters until it’s time to leave. The serenity I feel has its roots in the preparations I’ve made. My adjustment through prison, and the lessons I’ve learned, make these final seven weeks a breeze.