I have a really hard problem relaxing and focusing on myself. My brain is constantly firing in 12 different directions at once. It tells me that I need to be productive at all times, need to be taking advantage of new opportunities at all times, I need to be stressing out AT ALL TIMES.
The best example of how much this can affect me is when I was in my final year of my undergraduate. It was a Sunday, the day before my Shakespeare exam. You would have thought I would spend the day studying, wouldn’t you? But you would be wrong! Instead, I was tutoring high school students. Three of them, for an hour each. And that’s not including travel time. Or the time I spent preparing the material. And familiarising myself with their set texts.
I would describe me on this day as ‘being in a tizzy’. My boyfriend would describe me as ‘self-destructive’. I was in tears, because I knew I had to study. But I was so concerned about these high school students and their exams, and how I couldn’t let them down. And I had decided to start tutoring just before my end-of-university exams because…well, I’m not sure why. I felt like I wasn’t doing enough with my time. (Because being a final-year university student and having a blog, and volunteering….weren’t enough.)
I think I’m like this because of experiences when I was a teenager. I did the International Baccalaureate in my last two years of high school. (This is like A levels/AP TO THE MAX.) For two years, I basically didn’t have any time to myself. I was studying 6 subjects, had 150 hours of sports, community service, and creative hobbies to complete, and was applying to universities/scholarships. Oh, and dealing with pretty bad depression and insomnia. And trying to have a social life, and… well. You get the picture.
I just got used to a high level of stress, and that hasn’t really changed. But the thing now is that I see so many brilliant opportunities (especially for writing) on the Internet that I want to take on. And I know that I can’t do them all, but I apply to them anyway, only to find that I don’t have the time or the energy to do them properly. I’m trying to work on it. I was trying to do a lot of freelance writing at the end of last year, when I was also working, and I just found myself too stressed, and completing things either at the last minute, or weeks after my proposed deadline.
And so I’ve decided to try to limit myself to what I take on. I’m helping with Mookychick, and I’ve seen an essay prompt about fanfiction and experiences as a queer teenager that I’d like to take on. And I maybe want to contribute to On A Case Bi Case Basis…. oh, damn. There I go again.