Home > Life > Just relax.

Just relax.

It’s late Sunday afternoon, and I’m sitting at my kitchen table listening to Jill Scott and drinking coffee. Earlier today, I roasted apples, baked some oatmeal to have for breakfast, went to judo practice, and did a kettle bell work out. And here I sit with nothing to do. To be precise, here I sit with nothing I HAVE to do. I feel calm. I think I’m relaxed.

This makes me nervous.

From 2007-2010, I worked two jobs. Then from September 2010 until April 2012, I was a full-time graduate student. During the last five years, there has always been a bus to catch, a paper to write, a meeting to go to, or just someplace else I needed to be. I slept sometimes. I know I went out with friends, but I’m having trouble pinpointing specific memories of that. I typically felt tense and overwhelmed.

I always told myself that I loved the stress. I told myself that I’m the type of person that thrives on deadlines and challenges. There’s no such thing as free time in my life. I need structure. Sleeping is stupid. But hings are different. I’m not in school. I only have one job. I didn’t realize this would feel like a big transition, but it does. While I was working on my MSW, I had work to do when I got home from work. I had work to do on the weekends. Any moment I spent not working, I was thinking about how I should really be working.

Presently, I still have stress. As a rookie social worker, I frequently feel overwhelmed. I love my job, but I have moments where my inexperience terrifies me. I continue to struggle with the severity of the issues with which my clients deal without letting myself feel like I’m drowning. I felt this way as an intern, but I’m an employee now. I am licensed to practice social work in the state of Pennsylvania. It’s for real. When I was intern, I’d leave work, carrying all the upsetting things I’d seen and heard back home with me so I could write a paper about it. Then I’d go to class to days a week to discuss all the horrible things some more. I couldn’t get away from it.

When I get home now, I don’t have to think if I don’t want to. The weekends are mine. The impossibility that surrounded simple tasks, like washing the dishes or doing laundry, seems laughable now. It turns out at that I am totally capable of changing my sheets on a regular basis. I’ve started baking. I have friends over my apartment. I watch movies.  I sleep eight hours a night.

I can’t remember ever feeling this way–the ease, this contentment. I think I convinced myself that life is supposed to be a struggle. Happiness is something you can only experience in brief intervals. If you feel too content, you stay still. Even now, as I think that I really like my life, I keep waiting for something to sneak up and punch me in the face. So my challenge now is to get really good at relaxing. I still have plenty to worry about at work, and of course, thinking about my student loans makes me want to throw up. For now though, I’m going to let myself see that sometimes there’s merit in sitting still.

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Categories: Life Tags: , ,
  1. November 4, 2012 at 18:14

    This is an awesome post. I loved this: “The impossibility that surrounded simple tasks, like washing the dishes or doing laundry, seems laughable now. It turns out at that I am totally capable of changing my sheets on a regular basis. I’ve started baking. I have friends over my apartment. I watch movies. I sleep eight hours a night.” I can really relate to that. It is a bit of an ego boost to realize, now that I am no longer at UNC, that there really WERE reasons I was not getting things together before. Lovely post though.

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