I bet that’s what it looked like I did for the last two months. That would be entirely… false.
The weeks have been short, but the days have been so long. I guess if I had to try to caption a still life from this time, it would probably read something like, “My plate overfloweth.”
Everywhere you look, people are trying to answer the Big Question: How do you balance it all? I would love to say that after the big ordeal that life has recently become/thrown my way, I have the answer. Well, the truth is – you guessed it – that thought makes me fall into fits of uncontrollable laughter.
This isn’t meant to be a pity party. Not at all. But January kicked off a whirlwind of two internships, grad school class, wedding planning, and to top it all off, a dream job opened up at one of my internships sites. That means I embarked on my first real world, big girl, professional application process in the higher education (aka interview circus) field. I was a little unsure of what I was getting myself into, but oh, did I do a lot of growing. First, December brought the online application process: resume, cover letter, three letters of recommendation, writing samples, blah blah blah. Not a huge deal, except that when you are applying for the job of a career counselor, there is a lot of pressure for all of those things to be impeccable. Next came the phone interview almost two months later in February. Then March brought the final round of interviews and the end of the 4-month application process. At least eighty-five applicants down to four finalists, and all that I had to do was a panel interview, an all-staff presentation and Q&A session, a one-on-one interview with the director, and a two-hour lunch.
Needless to say, that day could not come soon enough. Once it was over, the only remedy was neon and cutoffs, cupcake batter ice cream, a glass of champagne, and my couch.
(Three weeks after that, I got the job!)
Then at last, the end of the quarter was finally here. Classes were winding down, and it was almost spring break… but the comprehensive exam we have to pass (in place of a thesis) in order to get our Master’s degree was taking place just two weeks into the new quarter. I got some traveling in during that week, but with Comps right around the corner, studying was a cloud hanging over all that fun. The quarter started, and finally came our Comps Day on Friday, which takes the form of a five-hour exam that consists of lengthy essays (I wrote 21 pages, APA-format, during that time), and I was done. Just done.
I spent last weekend sleeping. Recovering. Letting the outside world come rushing back in. I got some drinks to celebrate and started feeling a tiny bit better, but for some reason I haven’t been able to shake the weight and the stress of everything that has happened in the last four months. I’ve missed writing, cooking, exercising, reading, listening to music, planning the wedding, seeing my friends, EVERYTHING. I found myself starting to worry and get anxious again… until I was driving to work/school one morning and realized that that was silly. I have put so much time and energy into trying to control things and make everything perfect, and while I have been doing all that, the world has been passing me by. I kept finding myself wishing that everything would slow down. That I could just catch a break. That something would let up.
So many huge life events are happening right now: graduating, getting married, starting a new job. How AM I going to balance it all? There’s just no way, right? But then I realized just that: there is no way to balance it all. Life will throw what it wants at you. It doesn’t matter how hard you work at trying to keep it all together. But if your heart and your mind are open, all of these crazy, frustrating, overwhelming days can turn into exciting, unpredictable, beautiful ones. It really is amazing how that happens… once you decide just to trust life a little bit.
This is going to be a struggle, adopting this new outlook. But I want to be done stressing. I want to be done being frustrated. I want to be done with my excuses and my complaints and my constant frustrations. I have to phase all that out. I need exciting, unpredictable, beautiful days.
So here I am. I’m planting a smile on my face. NOW. I’m putting my sunnies on. And I’m going to enjoy this life, damnit.
I recommend you do too.