We’re a bit more than halfway through the spring term, and this is a typical time for those of us on the quarter system to start despairing. Every other academic (it seems) is finishing final grades or celebrating graduation or has already started summer, but finals are another month away for us. (And thank you to my Australasian friends for being the exception to this). Deadlines also leave me feeling like I’m juggling imminent disaster. I’ve tried over and over to find a sustainable pace for the winter and spring quarters, and pretty much every year I fail.
This year though I think I’ve found an insight that may lead to an eventual solution. Normally at this time I’m so stressed that I start putting things off. The cat needs to get blood tests at the vet? That can wait until after finals. My dresser has fallen apart, and I need to get a new one? That can wait until after finals. Our bed has given up after more than a decade? That can wait until after finals. While this is less stressful in the immediate term, it also eats away at my peace for the summer break since spend the first month catching up on all the things I put off. About three weeks ago I made the decision that I wasn’t going to postpone things. I would just schedule the vet appointment now. I would buy that dresser and make the time to pare down my clothes to fit into the new one. (Ok, I haven’t made the time for bed shopping, but two out of three isn’t bad). I resolved that there simply was no pause button on my life.
It has made life a bit more hectic. But oddly it’s also made me feel less stressed. Not having to wait for the things I want or need in my personal life makes me happier, and a happier me deals with the stressful spring quarter better. I never expected that having (slightly) more things to do would make me feel less stressed, but it’s a nice discovery.