If you were to ask me if I felt stressed… I would probably say no. I don’t feel panicked or on the verge of tears or like I couldn’t fit a single more thing in my life. In reality, I am probably less busy than I have been in other semesters. I am only working one job and I actually have a day in the week off. Sure, my classes are pretty hard and demanding, but overall this isn’t my hardest semester yet. I think a part of me actual fears stress so much that I don’t take on too many extra activities or responsibilities. I fear that exhausted, can’t do one more thing, don’t-talk-to-me kind of feelings that stress has brought me in the past.
Yet, I feel blah. I feel anxious. I feel like I’ve been in the same spot for too long. It is not high level stress, but it is a low level chronic stress that has been festering. I am guessing it’s common for anyone inching towards their 19th year in school. I started going to school at the young age of 4 (if you count kindergarten) and I’m 23 now. I’ve been in school almost 19 years and I think I’m officially burned out. I’ve felt burned out before, but this is a new kind of burn out. A burn out that actually makes me forget about assignments and not care as much about studying. It’s a feeling of discontent and I’ve noticed it affecting other areas in my life as well. It’s making me lousy. Little things that people do, either trying to be funny or just complete unaware of what they are doing, gets under my skin and actually makes me angry. I have noticed that I haven’t been looking people in the eye lately. When I pass by someone on the street sometimes I won’t smile, but instead intentionally look elsewhere. I’ll look down at papers so that I won’t have to talk to the person sitting beside me. This may sound like normal behavior to some people, but for me it is a much lousier version of myself. I am not usually one to avoid eye contact… I love the exchanges smiles with a stranger. I could talk to a house plant.
I guess you could say I feel stuck. I’m certainly not unhappy- I love what I am learning in school, I’ve made some amazing friends through school, my husband rocks, I get to enjoy hobbies like cooking and blogging and exercising, and overall I have a beautiful life. I am not ungrateful by any means, but incredibly grateful I’ve been able to make it through 19 years of school. Yet, right now I’m at a point where I feel like I am taking so much from the world but not giving much back. I have to dedicate time to school work because it’s my responsibility right now. I have to focus on doing well, because my journey isn’t over yet.
I graduate in May and I feel like I am at the end of marathon. I’m at mile 22 and I am exhausted and the measly 3 miles I have left feel so far away. [Note: the only time I would consider three miles to be measly is in this illustration].
Goodness I sound whiny… What it all comes down to, I believe, is that I am so ready to be in a career helping people. I see the career I want, the kind of love, knowledge, and support I want to give to others. I am no longer satisfied by simply making good grades. I should have known as a freshman that a perfect GPA would only go so far as to making me feel fulfilled. Right now my life feels very self-serving and that bothers me. Even though I won’t technically be out of school next year, I will be out in the field working as an intern and I am seriously so excited. I know it will be hard work, and I am okay with hard work, I am just ready to be outside of the classroom.
So since I can’t just skip ahead to May, I’m going to have to be intentional about not being lousy. I need to breathe deeper and exhale completely. I need to love people better. While this phase may be temporary, it does me no good to rush this time of my life. I need to recognize that everyday and every hour is valuable. Even when I am not feeling it. Time to revisit my old “fake til you make it post”. I need to find all the little ways I can live out my call to serve others and be patient for the time in my life where I can devote myself to just that.
Thanks, Amanda for hosting Thinking Out Loud Thursday.
You tell me-
Have you ever felt stuck? Like you were playing the waiting game?