Ahh, that most formidable of foes, that most predictable of predicaments.

It seems every spring my life becomes plagued by stress; the responsibilities and requirements and tests and to-do-lists become so massive, so undeniably unconquerable, that my very being is taken over by the desire to crawl into a tiny hole and die.

You can relate to my situation, no?

Spring semester is heinous.  It really is.  Each year we’re fooled by the allure of Spring Break and warm weather, and somehow we forget that actually, this semester is the worst semester of all the semesters that there ever were.

And this spring semester, for many of us at least, is the worst of the worst.

Because in addition to finals and research papers, we have looming over our frazzled little brains the threat of our upcoming graduation and subsequent joblessness.

Man, is it a great day to be alive!

But in all fairness, it is a great day to be alive.  The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, we’ve almost survived another year of school, and the days of jet skis and tan lines are just over the horizon.

So why are we all freaking out?

Compared to other cultures, the number of tasks we Americans take on seems utterly foolish and self-destructive.  In places like Italy, precious time is allotted each day to things like naps and family camaraderie.  Shops open later, restaurants close earlier, and the concept of multitasking is viewed as a hassle instead of a talent.

But alas, we’re here…in the Land of Opportunity, where the “self made man” is the greatest kind of man there is.  And that’s why every night for the past month I’ve woken up at 3 AM with a throbbing headache, with thoughts like, “Oh my GAW I have no job and no place to live and three papers to write and seven loads of laundry to do and I need to call him and email her and check on that application and OH CRAP where did I leave that library book” running through my mind.

Because somewhere along the path of my childhood socialization process, before story time and after PE, I was told that the most important thing in life is SUCCESS.

Winners succeed.  Heroes succeed.  Pulitzer Prize recipients and Astrophysicists and Lion Tamers succeed.  And I want to be and do all of those things, right?  I want to be a success, don’t I?  So I’d better keep checking my email 93 times per hour and making contacts and self-promoting and smiling and shaking hands and being ambitious and being harder and faster and better and stronger than everybody else and—


It doesn’t have to be this way.

No, I don’t have the solution to the puny job market.  Obviously.  No, I can’t help you find a way to wash dishes while reading Dante and answering emails.

But I can tell you that the opposite of success is failure, and that’s not what we are.

You’re not going to get it right every time.  I’m not going to get it right every time.  You will take tests and make obvious mistakes.  You will learn of a great job opportunity after the position is filled.  And you will ignore your laundry pile for so long that when you finally get around to doing it, your dirty clothes will have started to grow fungus and mold and even some eyes and a few legs.

But that doesn’t make you a failure.  That just makes you a human.

So go out there, try your hardest, fall on your face, and be human.  Go a whole day without checking your email.  Have lunch with your mom instead of studying for finals.  And know that, just because you’re enjoying yourself a little more and stressing a little less, you’re no less of a success.

Success is socially relative, after all.  And if cutting yourself some slack every now and then makes you a far happier person, then I’d say you’re pretty darn successful.

Much love.

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