I’m either about to cash in on all those vouchers for good luck I’ve been anxiously awaiting, or I’ve just gone and bit off more than I can chew

by Janie Jones

It has been a crazy week.

The first week of a new semester can be pretty low key, or it can be quite stressful.  This week fell into the second category.  I have suddenly seen my Google calendar turn a rainbow of colors as chores, projects, appointments, classes, labs, study groups, and work schedules filled up all the slots between 7 am and 5pm.  I even discovered at the last minute that one class was an hour longer than I’d thought it was, which threw off all my meticulously scheduled plans.

Then sitting down with a young friend of mine, Pete, the other day, I happened to lament how my schedule is quickly spiraling out of control.  He politely acknowledged my woe as we applied ourselves to theoretically working on our Physics homework (I was actually working harder at not throwing my arms up in disgust, marching down to the admin office and dropping all my classes and then jumping off the nearest bridge).  Then after an hour and a half of physics pain and misery, we started packing up, I had to go to my next class, and somehow the conversation brings out that the doctor he works for is looking for another undergrad student to help with a new project.

Fast forward 24 hours.

I now have another job.  I will be working for the doctor on a project studying Lyme Disease.  I won’t get paid, but I will get course credit toward my degree, and it will look super awesome on my transcript.  I’m also hoping it will give me some inside contacts in the medical research wing of the college and lead to bigger and better things.  I’m very excited- when I’m not panicking about how I’ll manage to make everything fit into my already crazy schedule.

Pete laughed at me “Ha!  And you had just been saying you were too busy to even think straight!”

I really want to do this, I think I would totally regret passing up the opportunity and it is exactly the kind of research I want to do when I grow up.  I think the Universe as finally thrown me a bone.  But, I just hope I can juggle everything and not loose my tenuous grip on sanity.

I’m trying to hold on to my enthusiasm, but that full calendar is an ugly specter of doom threatening to steal my joy.  I suppose deep down I know I can do it, I have had to suffer through worse times and survived, and at least this is a positive thing and something I really want.  But I’ve been struggling for so long, it makes it hard to believe in the good stuff turning out good.  I’ve become afraid.

So I’m asking a favor.  My dear readers, my bloggy friends, please send me a prayer of support and a few words of comfort.  I know I’m not really alone, but sometimes I feel like it.  A few people I care about reminding me how important this is and how you know I am good enough and strong enough would mean a lot.  It also helps to know someone is proud of me.  Many days lately I don’t feel as confident as I used to be.  School has had a not so bolstering effect on my self esteem, and all the bad things I’ve had to endure lately are really knocking the crap out of me.

But, I’m down to 16 months.  And I really hope that this new job will be the door behind which the pot of gold awaits.

Thanks for your understanding and for reading on.

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8 Comments to “I’m either about to cash in on all those vouchers for good luck I’ve been anxiously awaiting, or I’ve just gone and bit off more than I can chew”

  1. Janie, you are an inspiration. You are putting yourself through hell and high water every day, when many would have given up a long, long time ago. You juggle jobs and classes and real life traumas in a way that makes my mind boggle. You can do anything.
    You know what you want to do, and for the first time in forever, the universe is conspiring to help you. Hurrah!!! Nurture that job like one of your delicate plants, and let it help you on your way.
    You can do this. You ARE DOING this.

  2. You’re a great gal, Janie! You don’t need to hear it from us.
    I have no doubt you will sail through it all. Part of the fun is feeling as though there’s too much to do and not enough hours. I was drawn to your blog by your science jokes and now am very fond of all the other bits!
    You can do it! Just take a break now and then.

  3. You are always in my prayers, Janie.

    I think this is a wonderful opportunity and you are right to do it, but I understand the panic. When I was in a similar situation to you, juggling a million things, a friend gave me some wonderful advice: ask yourself, ‘What’s the smallest thing I can do?’ Imagine you plan a big trip and you’ve never done that before; the smallest thing you can do is think about where you want to go. The next small thing is to visit the travel agent’s to pick up some brochures; the next small thing is to read them; and so on.

    The point is not to look at the big picture but at the tiny picture. Focus only on what you can do or need to do NOW. For a great example of this, watch the wedding episode of Friends, where Monica and Chandler get married. Chandler panics and runs away and Ross takes him step by step through the day.

    In my own situation, I had to look at the things I most wanted to accomplish; one was to get all of my poems typed up. When I began thinking about it, I panicked and felt paralysed – there were around 500. No way could I manage the time or energy to accomplish such a massive task.

    The smallest thing I could do was gather together my notebooks. That was easy. Then I could take out all of those that had been typed up: not a massive job. Then I decided I would type one poem a day – I’d have 365 done in a year – very doable. And so it goes on.

    It’s important to be flexible, though. My system has changed over the year; I decided I could spare an hour a day, Monday to Friday, for the task. I take weekends off and don’t feel guilty about it. I average 5-7 poems a day, depending on the amount of necessary re-writing, and I’m down to about 150-200 poems left. I find it astonishing that the job I had put off for so long because of its enormity is now two-thirds complete. The journey of a thousand miles really does begin with a single step.

    I apply the smallest thing question to any area of my life in which I feel panicked, and it helps tremendously. I hope it helps you.

    • Tilly, you are so right. I know this, but sometimes I forget. Baby steps. Just get through one day at a time. Thanks for reminding me of this very important advice.

      Mostly I feel good about this. But I also can feel the panic hovering, so it’s an ongoing process of adjusting. Thankfully I have you all here at the blog and several wonderful new friends and mentors in my life now. I will get through this, probably better than I now imagine, but still it helps to have a bit of a pick me up now and then when it’s hard to hear my own rational thoughts over the buzz of all the drama.

      I think the hard part is losing Leif in my every day life. We are still together, but we no longer live together, and I’m finding it quite hard to not have someone to share little moments with. It used to be that I could come home tired to a big hug and he’d offer me a hot cup of tea. There was someone to share meals with and snuggle with during a TV show. It’s harder than I thought to be living alone. I really miss that extra level of human contact beyond just polite chat among friends. But, on the other hand, it is wonderful to not have to drive an hour or more each way to school in bad weather! It’s no use in thinking this way, but I still wish I didn’t have to make quite so many sacrifices all at once.

      Any how, must off to work! Thanks for being there.

      And kudos to you on your typing project. You’ll be an awesome typist too, buy the time it’s through, so bonus!

  4. Well, poop, late by a day and short by six inches (I don’t have a dollar but I do have a tape measure), and I missed saying this when I shoulda but here you are….. wait, where was I going with this?
    Oh yeah. Lady, you are the most kickass go-get-’em inspirational person I know. You work and work and study and study and mommy and mommy and you still find time to be everso kind to others and to drop a little sunshine wherever you are.
    If I weren’t me and my brain, I’d absolutely offer to do your homework for you, and if the distance weren’t so much I’d offer to do your housework. I kinda doubt you want to mail your dirty dishes and undone laundry all this way, so let me do what I can, which is 1. to shut up this longass comment and 2. offer that any any ANY time you want to vent, whine, rave, or just let it out, I am an excellent reader. (And I said that last little bit in my Rainman “excellent driver” voice.)
    You are going to rule the world someday, you wait and see.

    • Thanks LeeAnn. And even though you posted your comment on Saturday, it was still good timing ’cause I was very sad yesterday and missing Leif, so I’m just gonna assume that you waited on purpose knowing I’d need a second dose of pick me up.

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