Thursday, June 30, 2016

My Secret...

To be honest I'm not at all sure what it is that keeps me going. What it is that makes me put two feet on the floor every morning. It might be that I have some deeply planted bit of hope and optimism that won't die not matter what life throws my way. I could have a sense of purpose that I don't fully understand. Or it might just be that I really have to pee and the cat needs to be fed, and well, now that I'm up and awake I might as well go on with my day.

I don't really know what got me through the past five years of school/work/create/dance/teach/live. I could say it was my meticulous planning and scheduling, but I'm as much a procrastinator as the next guy and, well maybe I work well under pressure. I had some support, lots of, "Go team!" and "Atta-girl, you can do this." It must have helped - I mean at least no one was saying I was crazy or that I ought to pack it in and go home.

I don't have a secret. There is no special formula or magic plan. Most days I wake up full of self doubt. I face nearly crippling anxiety at least a couple of times a week. I live with depression and a really, really, really not so great self image.

Yes, there are days that I look in the mirror and I manage to smile. I also hate to see things left undone or half finished. I like things neatly completed with the tools tucked away in their proper place after the work is done. There is a need that I have to do right by those that love me, to make them proud of me - maybe it's that I need to feel worthy of the love that I'm given.

Other's might say I'm just terribly driven. That I get something in my head and I have to see it through, even if it exhausts me or makes me, however temporarily, crazy.

The truth is that I wish I knew. I wish I knew because if I did...then when I have those really tough days. The ones where I just want nothing more than to stay in bed, covers over my head, bedroom door shut, curtains drawn, leaving the world for someone else to manage...and can't I please, please, please just stay here for a week in utter silence???
If I knew, if I could name it, then when I had those moments (days, weeks...), I'd have something to draw on. If I knew what it was then I could make it at will and then maybe, those other days...there would be less of them.

But I don't know. I can't name it. And so, I go on. Without answers, without knowing. Accepting that whatever it actually is, that it will always be there simply because it always has been.

Maybe, that's enough...

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Was it worth it?

Photo by J. Grandbois
"How does it feel to finally be done?"

This is the question I have been asked with great frequency over the past several weeks.  My answer is generally about the same. I am glad to be done.  I feel less stressed and for the first time in five summers I don't feel pressured to cram as much as possible into the three and half months I had off between semesters.  Yes, there is a lot of good feelings surrounding my completion of earning my degree.

But...(yeah, you saw that coming didn't you?)

There is some cliche out there about how anything worth doing requires sacrifice.  In economics we call this opportunity cost.  It is the value of the the thing we give up in order to do something else.

Being back in school took nearly all of my energy and focus.  I realized very soon after making my return to school that there was no way I could keep up with everything that had been a part of my life.  I knew I'd not be able to dance as much, keep up with my blog (though I did better with that that I thought I would), that my social life would be greatly cut back and that I'd likely have to turn down opportunities that I'd otherwise pursue so that I could have enough time and energy to focus on school.

Knowing I'd not be happy giving up performing all together, I chose to focus on my troupe instead of my solo dance work.  I stopped updating my blog twice a week, which meant I gave up possible ad revenue, writing and review opportunities through the blog group I belonged to.  I tried my best to keep up with my social life, but very soon found I simply did not have the time, and I felt myself drift out of the communities that five years ago were central to my life.  I stopped working full time so I could finish school earlier and took on quite a bit of debt in order to do so.

I stepped out of my life for five and a half years and I've yet to find my stride again now that I've stepped back into it.  I do ask myself often if it was worth the sacrifice, but that is a question I won't likely have the answer to for a number of years.  I am glad I did it.  I love to learn and I derived a huge amount of satisfaction form completing this goal.  I experienced things, such as Semester at Sea, that I never would have done had I not returned to school.

I just a little bit adrift at the moment. I'll find my course soon.