Waking Hours

The first sign of burn-out?

Trying to spend as much time asleep as possible. I wake up to work on tasks and assignments, then immediately go back to rolling up in a big burrito of flannel-and-down goodness.

It’s not to say I don’t like what I’m doing. I like what I’m doing a lot, but I’m letting the impending reality of the situation get to me. I’m so impatient, and I can’t stand not knowing where I’m moving after this.

In response, my dreams have started to get pretty creative. I mean, the other night, I dreamed I went kayaking by myself in a ruddy old green kayak. I accidentally lost my paddle, so I had to use a big wooden spoon to get back to the campsite. The next thing I remember is a group of high school classmates watching in horror as we pulled up the “class video” we had filmed in 2004. It was like a terrible music video, complete with someone dressed up in a mouse costume, wearing a neon pink shirt with the word “THUG” written across the front in black Sharpie. The mouse was also break dancing.

Maybe I need to lay off the LMFAO videos.

Whatever it is, the uncertainty of the next several months is nagging me.

I still look forward to the upcoming events. In March, there’s the national NASPA conference in Phoenix. I’m going to Hawai’i with my mom over Christmas. Most importantly, my birthday is this Saturday, and gosh darn it, I’m spending it in the city. If it means hanging out with one or two other people and having a great time, then so be it. Finals always fall near my birthday on the quarter system, and I’ve gotten fairly good at clearing my schedule to have fun. (Others don’t do as superb a job, but that’s understandable if you don’t celebrate your birthday on December 3rd.) I’m going to treat myself to good food, a hotel room, probably some new books or clothes, and a trip to the science museum. I can’t wait.

The other uncertainty in my life is the big L-word: L-O-V-E. Oh, I hate not knowing. I hate not knowing when Prince Charming or Mr. Right will show up. I hate not knowing if I have yet to meet him or, if like many of my past suitors, if he’s just doing his own thing until the time is right for both of us. Give me answers, Universe!

Of course, that’s not how things work. I know this. I can’t know who’s going to sweep me off my feet, and I can’t know if I’ll be moving north or south when I can finally place the letters “Ed.M.” after my name. I have to remind myself that this is a journey, and the journey is the good part. Arriving… well… that’s just a fleeting event. A blip on the screen. Getting there–making plans, packing, finding the right outfit for the right day, things inevitably going wrong–that’s the stuff to talk about.

It’s talking about how crappy last Thanksgiving was, getting dumped the first day of a long weekend while out of town, and then talking about everything that led up to how amazingly wonderful this holiday weekend was. It’s talking about how losing one of the most important people in the world moved me to fully commit to a career I love. It’s talking about how without heartbreak I wouldn’t be carefully tailoring cover letters and follow-up emails to jobs I would have blown off until May.

I’ve heard some strange things the past few months. Last year, it was that I was hard to read. This year, it’s that people don’t know how I do it–“it” referring to picking up the pieces and re-building, time and time again. I have no clear answer to that. It’s just a feeling that if I don’t do anything, if I wait idly for opportunity to find me, I won’t get anywhere. Good things come to those who seek it. Not obsessively, but the kind of seeking that comes with wonder and fascination. I’ve gotten this far; what have I learned? Where will it take me?

I’m waiting. I’m seeking.

And yes, I am dreaming.

What Do You Think You’re Looking At?

This is my fifth year on the quarter system, and let me tell you, winter term is the most difficult every year. During my undergraduate career, it was always because basketball season was in full swing– I had games two or three times a week. I remember one particularly hellish week in which we had five games; I think it worked out to two double-headers and a single game. Plus, on top of that, I worked my last two years, which meant that right before winter quarter, I was knee-deep in retail terror. Couple that with Honors courses or writing intensive courses and you had a busy little ‘Dith.

Nowadays, I’m working, reading for graduate classes, and trying to figure out what the crap is going on in my personal life. Factor in working out, eating better, and a lot of upcoming events to plan, and you have another stressed-out ‘Dith.

So look, if I’m cranky or having a meltdown, it’s just normal winter quarter blues. Feed me some candy, give me a hug, and tell me we’ll go do something fun soon.

In the meantime, carry on.