Today was not the day.
No big packet appeared in the mailbox today. No slim envelope waited for me there either. There were bills, a catalogue, and plenty of mail addressed to people who don’t live in the house anymore, but nothing I wanted.
When I left teaching, I wanted to de-stress my life. I wanted to go after my dreams. I had visions of applying to schools and writing in my free time and just sitting back and being Happy.
Little did I know that my anxiety would follow me into my glittery fairy land sans stress.
Stress is relative. When I was teaching, there were many things that made me happy. I felt needed and mostly supported, but I wasn’t following many of my goals in life, and I couldn’t find time to do what I wanted because I felt like I had deadlines and too many responsibilities hanging over my head all the time. While I felt needed, I didn’t feel like the administration distributed the work evenly, and I was tired of it (seemingly) landing on my shoulders all the time. Their Vision wasn’t my Vision; I had other dreams. I had to leave, but sadly and with much love for what they were trying to do.
Now that I am following my dreams, trying to write while waiting on word from PhD programs, I am adrift. Most people go through this at 21-22 years old, fresh out of college, and I am 30. I feel like I am constantly buffeted back toward the shore by the waves, unable to get a real start on something. This is partly self-esteem (that’s the nice 90’s term for it), and partly feeling very alone in this brave new world.
I turned in my portion of my applications in the beginning of December. Thats four (4!) months of waiting for decisions to be made by some Oz behind the curtain. I am still waiting on two decisions, and I am hopeful because they are taking a long time to get back to me, and so is my baby ulcer (just kidding, I don’t think I’ve formed an ulcer, Mom and Dad).
I guess what I’ve been trying to say about stress and anxiety is that when I was teaching, I had less time to think about the stress and anxiety I was feeling at the time. At the same time, I was also less able to cope with those same stressors, which caused all sorts of destructive behavior.
I am a much happier (and rational) person than I was even a year ago, but I have a long way to go. I am still in the shallows blown around by the waves. That smooth water is in sight out there, but it’s going to take some paddling.