The aftermath of my decision to defer my comprehensive exams until January (or September, they’re not sure yet) has brought alternating moments of relief and panic. I have experienced some bright moments and accomplishments that have assured me that I made the right choice to wait, and I have experienced some cloudier moments where doubt chokes me and makes me question my decision, and what this means in the grander scheme of things.
The moments of doubt generally come when I’m not busy and take a moment to breathe and center myself. I wonder why I’m resting, I wonder if I’m allowed to rest, I wonder if there’s something else I should be doing instead of resting. Hell, I wonder if anyone knows that I’m resting, and if I’m supposed to be filling my time doing things for other people. Resting feels sinful; not doing something ‘important’ makes me feel guilty. It’s all I can do to make myself sit and do something enjoyable.
I finally took down the Christmas tree today… uh, thirteen days after the twelfth day of Christmas? On the twenty-fifth day of Christmas, my true love took the boxes back into the attic for another eleven months of storage. Not so lyrical, but it means that the family room is back to its usual status. Yay, or something.
I’ve had some inquiries from people wanting to work with me for audiobooks; I’ve tried to catch up on outstanding work for current books and ‘casts. To be honest, I’m not completely sure as to what my schedule looks like before February 1st. Aside from finishing this one *amazing* book by Edward Lorn and published by Red Adept Publishing, I’m still trying to figure out where my time needs to go. Poor Jay Smith and Bryan Lincoln… I owe them lines. There are other podcast obligations, but just starting to type them makes me realize that I’m falling into the same trap again.
The moments where I know that I’ve made the right decision usually involve my kids. My eldest son, who is affectionately nicknamed ‘Bear’ for the purposes of telling stories online, spent two hours with me working on his science fair project and learning statistics. We talked about correlations and distributions, and how to compare the distribution of his sample to a normal distribution, and why that was important. We managed to get through the entire data analysis, and he’s got some questions to consider when it comes to his discussion for his project. He managed to come up with the changes and implications on his own, and he’s enthused about the project even after working on it for two hours. Having the time and energy and patience to work with him on that… that tells me that I made the right decision to set aside exams to refocus.
I did start typing up my notes that I’d handwritten while studying over my winter break. Typing them up forces me to reread and reorganize, which is something that I need to do often. Most of my study schedule is going to involve doing that; at the same time, the last thing that I need to do is fill all of my time with other new activities. I will still have academic work to do, and I will need to be disciplined to make this happen throughout the spring and summmer terms. As a writer, discipline isn’t an issue… but I’ll have to contain the urge to constantly be busy.
I already *am* busy. This year’s all about maintenance, remember? It would be detrimental to try and cram even more into the crazy box that is my life. I will likely have to tell people “no” and “wait” so that I can get my head on straight; I will have to explain my priorities to others. Those who don’t get it… well, they won’t. My health and my family are more important than any additional projects.
It’s all about the ups and downs. Things will settle down in the next few weeks, and I’ll manage to get back into a routine with writing up my notes and studying for comprehensive exams. SWC takes priority in writing, and I’ve got a list of recording projects to tackle one at a time. My goal is to make more time for myself, and to not feel guilty for doing so. I shouldn’t feel bad for saying “no, I can’t do that now” or “no, this will have to wait a few months” to others. If people are disappointed because I need to stay healthy, both physically and mentally… well, that’s how it will go. It won’t make me a lesser person because I’m acknowledging my limits.
At least, I don’t think so. This is one of those hard lessons to learn.