Honestly, I think I’m still in recovery. Last year was so stressful – you know, you were there. And I’ve been working so much since I finished the PhD that it’s been difficult to find the time simply to be still, to recover from all the stress and work.
It’s only recently that I’ve started to feel free again, to feel as though the future exists, rather than seeing simply a road through dark forest. To see, in the distance, the possibility of sunlight.
A friend of mine sent me a song that’s become my new anthem: Tom Petty’s “Wildflowers.” It seems to express so perfectly where I am now in my life.
I’ve started planning for this summer, which will include some wonderful things: writing and travel and spending time with friends. I can’t wait. Right now, there’s still a lot of hard work to do. I’m going to be doing a lot of it this week, so I can go to ICFA and not have to worry about it. It would be nice if I could spend spring break doing something other than catching up, but that’s all right. (When I say catching up: I sorted through and deleted about 600 emails from my inbox this morning. And yes, those accumulated within the last two months, since the last time I deleted that number. And yes, I delete most of my emails daily. So that gives you an idea of the volume I get.)
Another friend of mine sent me a smart, interesting talk by Susan Cain about being an introvert:
Cain is right to talk about introversion as a way of describing response to stimuli. Introverts respond to stimuli differently. She doesn’t, at least in this talk, discuss what it feels like when you’re overwhelmed by stimuli, both internal and external. That’s when you’re overwhelmed, and that leads to breakdown. I went there at several points in the dissertation process: to the point of breakdown. It’s not a place I want to be again. Recovery is slow, and I am often tired. I still need what I don’t have on a daily basis: time without stress. But you know, I’m getting there.
And I hope that I can get back to writing soon. I hope the stress will get better, and I will feel the sense of freedom and power I need to create something. As I said, I’m starting to see light among the trees.
I worry sometimes that it will be like that scene in The Hobbit where it’s not sunlight, just some tricksy elvish light that will disappear again. But it looks brighter than that.
I’m looking forward to wildflowers . . .