Friday, September 5, 2014

Set your life on fire

I've survived my second week as a graduate student! It's been intense, but in a good way. This week, somewhere in the midst of mountains of reading, not to mention lesson planning and responding to student emails, I had an epiphany.

This is how I roll.

Although I was eating lunch at my desk and I hadn't seen the sun in many days, I felt focused and clear. Every minute of every day was essential and could not be wasted. I was ON. I managed to get all of my schoolwork done and my classes planned, and I even had time to tinker around with a new creative piece. All of a sudden, everything else seemed less important. And I realized that I've been worried for nothing. This is what I'm here for.

In my previous life, I put all my energy into my social life. I made that my priority, and I aced it. I was good at being busy, flitting around from work to dance class to a dinner date. Oftentimes I double-booked myself and made it happen. 

What I'm beginning to realize is that, even if I don't have that crazy schedule anymore, I still have energy. It's up to me to decide how to use it. 

These days, I wake up around 8 and make something delicious for breakfast. This is a good time to banter with my roommate about something cute that the cats did or what we thought of the reading for class later. I pack a lunch, load my book bag into my bike basket, and head over to campus. This is where I'll stay for the rest of the day, usually oscillating between my office and the library. This might sound lame, but classes are like mini study breaks, a place to see friends and catch up. Of course, there's also learning to be done. Obviously. In the late afternoon, I catch a dance class at the gym or take a walk in the woods near campus. Then it's home for dinner and back to the library for a few more hours. Bedtime is usually around 1 in the morning and it starts all over again.

Exciting life, right?

But it is! My creative writing teacher asked us a simple question on the first day: What are you on fire about? And I'm happy to report that this - this! - is what I'm on fire about. I'm forced to spend most of my time in the service of words! And that makes me happy.

We'll see how I'm feeling once the semester really kicks into gear, when I have 50 papers to grade and my own 50 pages to write. But for now, all I can do is lay the foundation for a solid work/life situation which will hopefully help me weather the storms when they pass through... 

Let's just hope I don't turn into this guy. I can see the headline now: From social butterfly to reclusive hermit. That could be a great name for my memoir!