Like most people who put out content on the internet, creativity comes in waves.
Some days I have ten different topics I want to write about and a mountain of books and recipes I want to review; other days I’m hulled up in the bathroom puking up my guts and the only thing I want to do is go to bed. It’s a constant struggle to find balance between staying inspired and having a life outside of what I share online.
Lately I’ve felt caught up in this never-ending cycle of stress and constantly feeling overwhelmed. I think part of it is because, for the first time in twenty three years, I’m not in school or doing something related to school.
This time last summer I was in the peak of studying for the California Bar Exam. It was every day, eight to ten hours a day, for almost three months. It was exhausting and to be totally honest, sometimes I forget how hard it was, both mentally and physically. You can read posts about my bar study experience here, here, and here.
When I found out a few months later that I had passed the exam on my first try, I was pretty surprised considering I had gotten super sick on the second day of the exam and almost didn’t finish. It’s not like I didn’t study my ass off, but by the time I took the exam, I was burnt out and running on nothing but caffeine and adrenaline.
Shortly after I got the results, I was sworn in as an attorney (woohoo!) and started to apply for a full-time job. I hadn’t really applied to too many places prior to getting my results, because most firms won’t hire without them, or if they do and you don’t pass (which is very possible given nearly 1 in 2 fail it), your offer can be retracted and then you’re SOL.
Last summer I didn’t really think about how much could change in a year.
I’m done with school, engaged, moving, adjusting to life with two dogs, navigating new health issues . . . the list goes on. Most are good things, the health stuff is whatever . . . but you don’t get to pick your hand of cards in life, so I’m just working with what I’ve got.
For whatever reason, maybe it’s because it’s grad season, or maybe it’s because for the first time in nearly a decade I don’t have “next step,” but the nostalgia has hit me hard. I’ve been missing the bubble that was college and late-night dance parties with strangers who would become closer than family. I miss being so active. I would walk miles every day to and from class, and now I have to make time to work out. It’s jarring how so many of us just accept sedentary lives post-grad, working at a desk in an office with a paltry fifteen minute stretch break during the day. I miss the newness of classes and professors who exuded this excitement about topics that are now mere line items on my transcripts. I miss the (seemingly) infinite realm of possibilities that was life after college (grad school, and now law school).
That’s not to say moving and wedding planning and adulting isn’t exciting, but it’s a different kind of exciting. It also probably doesn’t help that 99% of jobs I’ve applied to in the last six months haven’t panned out . . . and the other 1% have turned into situations like this one. On top of all this, my service pup, Apollo, is scheduled for knee surgery soon . . . so if I wasn’t stressed with everything else, this pushes it over the top. Part of my worries stem from the last time I had a dog who needed surgery, and how she had to be put down a few weeks later (see this post and this post). I’ve been told (and continue to tell myself) Apollo is a different dog, and it’s a different kind of surgery, but still . . . he’s like my kid and I would do anything to not see him in pain.
Looking at this all spelled out, it kind of makes sense why I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed. I feel like I’m being pulled in so many different directions, and my creative outlets on here have taken a backseat to real life shiz.
Right now I don’t really have any remedies on how to deal with feeling overwhelmed, other than acknowledging it. When my Dad asked me how I was doing the other day, I just blurted out “ants” and “leave me alone” and started crying.
I was the epitome of a hot mess, if you ask me.
But it’s okay, because once I snapped out of my pity party of one, I explained to him how ants had gotten all over the dogs’ food bins and it took me hours to clean it up by myself. Then, as soon as I finished that, I checked on one of the dog’s food bowls, and there were ants EVERYWHERE, so I haphazardly threw the dog bowl (with the food) in the sink and flushed it with water (to drown the ants).
A note to the wise: do not do this. You will be picking pebbles of dog food out of the sink for a while and it would have been way better to lay down a paper towel before doing this, or just throwing all the food directly into the trash.
Ya live and ya learn.
Anyway, lately it’s felt like every day has had at least ten ant-like disasters and I’m just running from one emergency to the next. Maybe in the chaos of everything, I just need to pencil in some time for me to write and unwind . . . because at the end of the day, you can either look at everything as one big overwhelming disaster, or a bunch of smaller opportunities to problem-solve with grace and patience.
I’ve got the first part down . . . I’m just working on the second one.