2015 is coming to an end. There wasn’t anything horrible about this year. Some awesome things happened in my life (I promise I’ll write about them soon) but underneath the happiness and the good I’ve been lying to the world. I’m struggling. I need to put that out there. Recently a friend told me she admired all the things I was doing and it nearly brought me to tears because honestly I am not as well put together as people think. People can paint a picture of their lives any way they choose. I guess I painted a portrait of a girl who can do it all and never falter. I keep my real struggles private. I don’t share my problems and frustrations with more than a few trusted friends and family members. People don’t know this, but all of the things I am doing are a combination of the perfect storm, a personal crisis waiting to happen, and definite failure.
I went back to school in September 2014 because I felt in my heart that that was a choice I had to make. I felt like I wouldn’t find the happiness I craved any other way. I needed to follow my heart or I would continue living in regret and mourning over a missed opportunity and a chance at obtaining my dreams. Up until that point I wanted nothing more than to be back in school and up until that moment when I sent the application the world did everything imaginable to keep me out of school. When I clicked send that day in May 2014 things finally fell into place and I was finally on a path in the direction I wanted to go.
Now, over a year later I find myself struggling more than I was before I had what I wanted. How could that be??? It’s like this, you have a coffee cup that you can carry when it’s filled 3/4 of the way without spilling any coffee. You can move as freely and as quickly as you want. It’s perfect. You can climb a mountain and your cup won’t spill over. Occasionally you take a sip and it’s less full so you get a refill. One day you decide when you are refilling your cup that filling it to the top is a good idea. You’ll be careful not to spill the coffee. People warn you that you could spill that coffee on your hands and burn yourself but you say, “I’ll be careful and I won’t get burnt”. Now you have all of the coffee. A full cup. You could not be happier, but you can’t walk as fast as you did when it was only 3/4 full. You aren’t moving as freely. No one understands why you keep missing out on the things you used to do. People you know are having a get together but you aren’t there because carrying this full cup of coffee is challenging and as you walk faster to join them the coffee starts to drip down the side. Eventually, people start to stop caring where you are. They can’t wait up for you at your slow pace anymore. It’s not their fault your cup is too full and burning your hands even though you have reached out and held their cup for them when they had to open a door. They aren’t your friends. If they were they would offer to drink a sip of the coffee at the very least. You aren’t asking them to open a door for you or to even lend you a lid. You cut your losses. You stop enjoying coffee because it’s hurting you in more ways than you can count.
The. Coffee. Burns. You.
Last spring I failed a class. I should explain that in my graduate program below a B is failing and if you get below a B you have to retake the class. I did not get a B. I found out while I was on vacation in Colorado that I failed this particular class. After crying for 2 days straight I decided that if graduate school was this important to me that I would suck it up and try again. I know I failed the class because I don’t have adequate time to focus on my degree. Unfortunately, I didn’t change that.
Monday night I had a meltdown over my research proposal, how far behind I am, how I wont have it done and I’ll likely be delaying my actual research as a result, and how I feel like my work is subpar. This coupled with other life stressors set me over the edge. I had burned myself with the coffee and now it was blistering. This was not the kind of meltdown where you are upset and then get over it, this was the kind where you are hyperventilating and absolutely distressed. This was following the meltdown I had Saturday with my mom. So Monday night I admitted to Phil that I can’t do all of these things anymore. I cannot stay awake until 3am anymore doing work. I can’t work full time and be in school full time anymore. I can’t struggle to get through the day in a state of pure exhaustion, frustration, and stress anymore.
I. Cannot. Do. Everything. Anymore.
It’s amazing how saying it outload makes it seem okay for it to be true. When I said it something amazing happened. Phil took half of the coffee that was burning my hands and put it in his cup. I am lucky.
This week I burned myself for the last time. I have been taking entirely too many credits, working full time, coaching, running, and trying to withhold other daily responsibilities and obligations. I have no time to enjoy life. Some may say I chose this life and I deserve to suffer, yes people have said that I deserve to be stressed because I went back to school. These people are no longer in my life. I have been told I don’t have to run. These people are no longer in my life. I have been told that I can get a different job or a part time job that gives me more free time. This is true but let me explain something, getting a new job isn’t easy. If it were as simple as people make it sound I would have found a new job to accommodate my life after I started grad school and realized I shouldn’t work full time and be in school simultaneously.
Moving into 2016 I am going to make the very difficult and emotional decision to leave my full time job. This is a decision I have been struggling with for the past 6 months, if not longer. I’ll start doing my internships in the summer and working full time would become too overwhelming, if not impossible, at that point anyway. I’ll find something part time to make ends meet while I finish school although I have no actual leads on a part time job. I am trusting that by the grace of God I will find my way to the job I need at this time in my life. I am scared. From the moment I became an adult I have always worked. I worked all through college. I worked multiple jobs at times. I’ve worked 60+ hour work weeks. This is a very atypical thing for me to do. It’s not at all something I consider to be a safe choice, but it’s a necessary choice. Without a risk there is no reward. The journey I am on with graduate school is the riskiest journey I’ve ever been on, but it is also the thing in life that is making me feel the happiest and most fulfilled. 2016 will be a year of change and sacrifice but hopefully it will also be the year I find balance in my life and learn to enjoy the people and things in my life a little more than I’ve been able to in 2015.