In the five years I’ve been working in publishing, I have ALWAYS worked the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Most of my colleagues spent time with their families, so being 2,000+ miles away from my family and having not returned home for Christmas since I was 19 years old, I’ve always just spent the week manning the cubicle row. I didn’t mind. In fact, the first year I was working there I was so bored I spent the time rearranging the printer area and cleaning my cubicle. Subsequent years were filled with Macworld preparations. But this year is different. When I mentioned perhaps taking a day off, my boss turned to me and said, “you know, you don’t have to work that week. It’s really boring. I mean, you should probably take if off.” Wow. Why do I have to wait to be TOLD these things?!
So, I have ten days off. In a row. TEN! 10! TEN! I haven’t had that since back when I was unemployed. And how do I feel about it? Relaxed? Elated? Psyched?
How do I feel? Anxious. The first few days were concealed under the excuse of holidays. Followed by holiday recovery. Monday had a tight schedule of waking early, getting a workout in, cleaning, getting things done. Today, I slept in late, tried to go out on a rainy day, found the business I was seeking to be closed, came home, read, napped, and woke up. Woke up to feeling anxious. I’m thinking back to this post. Where I vowed to just sit. Simply sit. Without thinking about cleaning, running, gardening and all the things that have to be done. I struggle with this. I strive for it. I feel like I fail at it.
This evening I was web browsing. One of the things I really didn’t want to do during this break was get stuck in front of the television. I’m happy to say I haven’t. It has remained off most of the time. But the computer? Ha. I follow Gwen Bell peripherally. I admit, most of the time I’m simply not in the mood to contemplate things on the level her posts demand, but sometimes I am. And sometimes it helps, and sometimes it frustrates me. She’s in the midst of doing her reverb 2010, a reflection of the year through writing prompts. I only blog once a month, so like I said, I’m peripheral. But I saw this prompt:
December 21 – Future Self.
Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)
And I’m sitting here, feeling like I have failed once again. I was actually considering going into work tomorrow because I need a schedule, I need a routine, I can’t sit still. And I read this. And I pondered it. And what came to mind?
Dear Alison, fucking relax. Just fucking relax.
I don’t like using curse words unless they are absolutely needed to drive a point home. I feel like they are needed here.
I had kind of a rough year starting in fall 2009. I don’t know why I thought I could take 3 classes, work full-time, study for the MCAT, and sneak in some physician shadowing, along with a few work travel trips on the side. What did this amount to? I was sick every few weeks, including one of the worst illnesses of my adulthood that kind of freaks me out just thinking back to it. So is it any wonder that I withdrew medical school applications and had a bit of a rough time with the process? ( hello ego, is that you on the floor getting trampled?) It’s no surprise to me.
So what would I have told myself? The constantly sick and overworked and under exercised myself?
1) Cut yourself some slack. You’re working hard.
2) Live presently. Not in the anxiety of an application process you have very little control over.
I’m not going to work tomorrow and cut this vacation short. I’m enforcing it. I don’t want to successes to be measured by how much can be done and accomplished. I want them to be simpler, more focused, and to carry a little bit more meaning. If I had just done this throughout this past year, wow. Look at how successful I was. No, I didn’t get into medical school, but I learned so much! I learned what I could balance and what I couldn’t. I learned to let go of a really bad relationship I was in and all the stresses it brought. I am a better communicator, a better listener, a better friend. I have yet to learn how to dress for my body-type or the ins and outs of physiology and anatomy and cell messenger systems, but that’s not worth the stress. I can break this down. I can accomplish what is important to me. In the meantime, I’m going to fucking relax.