But in talking with a friend over the weekend, I discovered something that I don’t think I knew before: I get stressed about not being stressed.
That’s kind of a messed up way to live life, don’t you think?
I’ve been working on my undergrad since 1999. For people who hate math as much as I do, that means I’m starting my eleventh year of school. Which mean, officially, I’ve been in school for a grand total of 25 years. Non-stop. Well, okay, I took a break for one semester while I got married and there was a little dicking around when I took worthless classes at community college, but I’ve been learning stuff for 25 years. And what’s weird is that since I’ve never known my life without school, I’m not quite sure what to do with my life when I do take a break, forced or not.
Take the last six weeks. I had six weeks or 42 days or 504 hours to do, quite simply, nothing. So what did I do? I jammed that full of 11 holiday parties, one visit to the symphony, and baked nearly 600 cookies. I apparently don’t know how to slow down.
It’s almost like, in order for me to feel like I’m accomplishing something, I have to feel stressed out. It’s totally unnecessary and I’m fully aware of that. The problem is that I’m not sure how to fix it. Honestly, for the next 50 weeks, I have to live in a constant state of stress and I’m okay with that. It’s the “after that” that I’m worried about.
I told my friend that it’s as if I get stressed if I don’t have something to be stressed about. “There must be something that I’m forgetting to do!” I told her. But that’s not at all the case. I live my life in 15-minute increments — another folly, I know — but in doing so, it’s very rare that I forget something. I have four calendars that are actively used. It’s not like it’s really possible for me to forget something (I say, sheepishly).
However, I did make a bit of a pact to myself in an effort to alleviate some of the stress I put on myself, intentionally or otherwise. If I’m asked to do something and I decline said invitation, that’s the end of it. I won’t allow myself to feel guilty for missing an event or party. I won’t feel as if I’m letting someone down for not accepting an invitation out.
Because let’s be honest: When you combine Type A with People Pleaser with Constant Stress Box, the results could be disastrous. Unfortunately, I am all of those things.