Friday, November 15, 2013

The Finish Line

“Follow your bliss.  If you do follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while waiting for you, and the life you ought to be living is the one you are living.  When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in the field of your bliss, and they open the doors to you.  I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.  If you follow your bliss, doors will open for you that wouldn't have opened for anyone else.” 
- Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth (Interview with Bill Moyers)

It is so close.

So very, very close.  

I've got one week to polish and finish my grant application.  Which, tonight, I finally am less freaked out about.
Then two weeks to complete two other big projects - and pesky discussion posts - for my last class and then I'm DONE.  

Done with school.  FOREVER.
I mean, aside from all those Microsoft Learning Academy classes I'm going to sign up for after I'm done here.  And all the Spanish I'll be re-learning.  And the robot building and programming I want to learn how to do so that I can teach kids how to do it too...

But I'll be done getting myself into debt in order to follow my passion, at least.  So that's a bonus.  

I wonder if Joseph Campbell ever had student loans...

(Sidenote:  I hate that the people holding my student loans started sending me "snapshots" of the statements in my email now.  I did the math on them the other night and promptly decided to drink another glass of wine and really commit to not giving a shit right now about how many years it will take me to pay them off.  Because you know what?  I'm hoping Elizabeth Warren becomes president and smacks the right people around until they reform some of these financial shenanigans that have helped make my education as expensive as... well a really expensive car.  Or a house in Michigan.)

But anyhow, I'm hoping that he was right because now is the time to officially panic about getting a job.  

I've got one interview lined up - by far my best prospect for employment without a HUGE commute - but the waiting for employment never seems to get less stressful.  Especially since I am, by nature, an over-planner and have to stop myself from thinking things out too far and completely melting down my brain with worry.

I'm pretty sure if it weren't for the YMCA I would have completely broken my brain completely by now.
Because completing my e-portfolio (aka: graduate thesis project) was grueling and taxing enough without two other classes and a 4-year-old thrown into the mix. It's been a bit like an Ironman - the portfolio was the hardest part (which for me, in this analogy, would be swimming), the grant application has become the second-hardest thing (running), and then my collection management course has been the bit at the end (cycling)* that I could do much better if I hadn't just done all of those other things.

But of course, an Ironman would leave me in better shape than before.  

But you know what?  I've been going to a total body workout class and really pushing myself at the gym at least four days a week lately, and every time I go there and lift a dumbbell or do any upper-body workout I am reminded that this stress is nothing compared to what my body was going through a year and a half ago.  Even though the disks in my neck are still bulging and a few activities can still cause a lot of pain, the inflammation has gone down, I'm no longer chronically in pain, and I'm much stronger now.   Most importantly, I'm not in pain all the time and I'm grateful for that absolutely every day.  I haven't had to take any crazy painkillers for over a year! That right there is huge and my liver is quite happy about that.

Appreciating little things - like typing without pain - help me remember that even though I'm stressed out now, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Everything changes, and things do improve when you work for them. But sometimes minimizing distractions and just putting your head down to do something important requires you to become a hermit and ignore social interactions for a while.

The finish line is in sight, and if I can land this job next week then I will officially be doing my dream job.

And hopefully then I will come back to the rest of the world to say hi, and finally get my brain to relax.

*I have no idea what order an Ironman race goes in.  This may or may not be obvious depending on your knowledge of races and general fitness-y stuff.

** This post was inspired by the book
How to Say It: Grantwriting by Deborah Koch.  She suggests writing a personal essay or writing really anything you can get a flow going with in order to get past writer's block... I'm not entirely convinced it was time well-spent since it is now 11:20pm and I'm freaking tired, but you know, it was worth a shot.  Maybe this ramble will help unplug the writing ducts for tomorrow.

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