I'm puzzled by my current circumstances. I thought finishing my degree and freeing up my time would give me a new lease on life. Instead, I feel like I'm floundering around because I don't have semesters and coursework and deadlines to ground me.
It's ridiculous! It took me a couple weeks to notice exactly what the problem was. I went back to work full-time mid-July, so I am still dealing with a good bit of fatigue from the long days, but I figured I'd be able to do things I enjoy. What happens is I come home from work, make some food (the time involved and degree of difficulty are wholly dependent on my level of fatigue on any given day), and find something to do.
The "find something to do" part is when I choke. For example: feeling like I ought to relax, I try to stay away from my computer. I'll take a book and sit on my porch, read a few pages, and then I get this creeping feeling that there's something "bigger" I should be doing. For the past two and a half years, yeah, there's been something bigger—grad school. Before that, it was college. Before that, it was high school.. and so on.
Perhaps this nagging feeling I have is a side-effect of having been in school for the last 18 years. The only other time in my life that I haven't been a student was the seven month stint immediately following my undergraduate career. (This excludes the time before kindergarten.) I hope to be a student again next fall, in a Ph.D. program to my liking. Right now I'm trying to decide where to apply. Next I'll fill out applications and try to secure a teaching assistantship. But until next fall, I have a problem... I'm not a student.
I have hobbies: writing, knitting, reading, biking, yoga, walking and training my dog. But how do "normal" people just do hobbies? Don't they feel like there's something more important they should be doing? (I mean that in the nicest way possible.) I don't think hobbies are a waste of time; I just wish I felt more comfortable doing them. That sounds horrible, but it's true. I think I'm wound too tight right now...
Currently I'm a cog in the workforce who comes home exhausted. (For now.) I have no scheduled activities or due dates (outside of bills to pay). I plan to stay at my job for the next year (unless, inconceivably, it gets more unbearable) so I seem to have found a sort of stasis. I'm making new friends (though I'd like more) and I'm trying to become more active (because I turned practically sedentary since my surgery... it still hurts sometimes). I feel less relaxed now, though, than I did when I was a full-time student and worked full-time. How is this possible?!
Maybe I just need to develop a schedule for myself. I don't know if that'll work, but I should at least give it a try. After all, it can't make me any crazier than I feel right now without one. I've even considered working through a reading list just so I feel like I have something academic on my plate. (Lord knows I'm terrified about mental attrition because I've worked so hard and paid so much to learn what I know!)
If anything, this experience has proven to me the old cliché about asking a busy person to do something because they'll find a way to fit it in. I am a little terrified, though, to know that I'm somehow happier when my activity level is maxed out.