Monday, January 18, 2016

Slow and steady...

Preparing for the semester...
Tomorrow morning at 8:45AM the new semester begins.  It is my last semester. I started the journey towards my bachelors degree five years ago in 2011.  I started as a part-time student and had plans to continue working full-time through school.  Due to a variety of circumstances, such as the realization that I'd come to detest my job, I left full-time employment and began the life of a full-time student.

Translation: This was one of the scariest things I've ever done.  I might have hated my job but I liked the security of it.  It was safe and leaving full time employment for a part-time job and full-time school was unknown territory.  I was not at all sure, even after I made the decision and gave my notice, that I could do it.

It has been a very intense five years. During these five years I worked two part-time jobs, I managed a performance troupe and began to teach belly dance classes.  I maintained a very full performance schedule with many hours of  dance and music practice each week.  Yes. There have been moments where I questioned my sanity and the wisdom of my choice to return to school.  I had many times where I considered quitting altogether.  My stress and anxiety levels were pushed to their limits.   I lived and died by my datebook and relied on my buzz of my iPhone to remind me of when things were due. 

Translation: It was difficult as fuck getting through these past five years.  Most days I was stressed out and the anxiety that I've managed for my entire life was triggered to the utmost.  I fought against my natural inclination towards procrastination but knew that if I put something off it would only feel that much worse later.  How more things didn't slip through the cracks is beyond me. 

Somehow I also managed to have a social life.  I know my friends at times must have been frustrated with my seemingly endless event declines and the need to schedule even a cup of coffee weeks in advance.  I'm am grateful for their patience, their understanding and support.  I believe I probably, maybe, could have done this without the amazing people I have in my life but their presence made it far easier. 

Translation: My friends were my life saver.  They answered my 2:00AM text messages when I was in the midst of panic and self doubt, they listened when I went on and on about some fantastic new energy or business idea I'd encountered that I was completely jazzed about, they were patient with my scheduling issues and they stepped in to tell me when they thought I was taking on too much.  And when I hit really hard times a couple of years ago, they arrived with food and love to get me through a very tough winter.  When asked how I manage to cram so much into my life I can really only answer with one thing:  I have a lot of help.

The semester that is ahead may be the toughest semester I have had yet.  Academically I am taking four of the most difficult courses that I have ever had in one semester.  I am actually looking forward to the challenge of this as they also appear to be four of the most interesting classes I will have taken.  I am anxious though, perhaps more so than I have been in the past, about keeping up with the rest of my life over the next 14 weeks. 


I will be making self-care a priority.  Taking time each day to myself; making sure I get enough rest and hopefully not falling in to a food rut of pizza, wings and coffee; dancing and making music as regularly as I can; walking; and of course making sure I spend time with those I love. 

Translation: I'm going to need a pile of sticky notes on which to write reminders to do all of these things and I shall stick them all over the apartment, in my textbooks, in my notebooks, and in my underwear drawer.  If I don't take care of myself I turn into a stressed out, angry, overtired, crank of a human and no one wants to see that.  "Breathe...breathe...breathe..."

I'm on the edge of finishing up a long term goal.  I'll be counting the days until May 14th, when I will be donning the cap and gown and going through the ritual of commencement.  That day seemed so far away five years ago, something I barely dared to think about, but today I can see the finish line. 

But there will be no sprinting to the end of this race...slow and steady, slow and steady. 

Translation: There's gonna be one hell of a party when this is over. 

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