Merry Stress-mas (and Blue Year?)

Merry Stress-mas

Christmas is in a week and I feel like I’ve failed to do most of my Christmas-ly tasks, save shopping for gifts.

*Cue Michael Buble Christmas album playlist to bring me up to speed.

I just haven’t had much time to invest in it.

Even with the holidays around the corner, the nature of my job means that even when the rest of the country is on break, I still have to generate the same amount of “product” I would in a normal week (holiday vacation wha–?).

**DISCLAIMER All opinions here are my own, not a reflection of the publication I write for**

Even now, I should be working on a couple different articles I’ve been assigned, but my head feels like it’s going to explode if I try to pick it up again right now.

Let me preface by saying I like what I do most of the time. I love seeing the spark that lights up in some people’s eyes when I say “I write for news”—it’s a cool thing to be able to say, especially with my limited experience.

What I tend to downplay is the trade-off that comes with the prestige of the job title. And lately, it’s been taking a huge toll on my physical, emotional and mental health.

As I look back on 2015, there’s so much that’s happened, for much of which I can be grateful. There’s graduation (in case you missed the last 70 times I’ve brought it up in these blogs), not feeling shame at the fact that I’m too poor to NOT live at home with my folks, procuring a couple internships and an actual job this year, and slowly re-acclimating into a new social scene.

But if I’m being real, this year has largely been a lonely one too. I’m not without friends or anything like that—but I’m alone in that I feel I can never accurately convey the feelings I’ve felt for most of this year to anyone else. How can they understand? Likewise I would never be so ignorant as to think I could fully understand anyone else’s personal challenges.

The 20s are supposed to be the best years of our lives, right?

Yet I can count more times that I’ve cancelled engagements than kept due to how much I struggle just to keep up with the work pace.

I’m jealous of friends who have full freedom after finals, or who have time to invest in their new love interests instead of tending to existential crises, wondering if what I’m doing is actually doing more harm than good.

I can’t help but feel a little injustice when I see my dad and sister (both teachers) come home with fudge, Starbucks gift cards and cookie-scented candles from their students while I get…angry phone calls about something I’ve written or should have written.

I’m learning how much I still have to learn, the hard way.

My self-esteem is shot pretty much every day to the point where I realize I’ve probably cried more times than laughed this past month.

The solace I take from it all though—aside from the bi-weekly paycheck—is that I’m engaged in self-defense classes for my mind. Give me another six or so months (if I make it that far), and I’m convinced few things will be able to kick me to the ground that I can’t handle.

Now that I’ve whined sufficiently, let me say thank you—and that I’m surprised yet touched you’ve made it this far.

What I really want for Christmas (and the new year too) is a sense of normalcy. It can’t be normal to find “happiness” from being minimally satisfied with simply surviving each day in a quiet existence, because I’ve managed to disappoint only a few (instead of a lot of) people?

I thought as I would get older, my Christmas wish-lists would get less complicated. They’ve certainly become less materialistic, but the bike or whatever I thought was so great as a kid was far easier to obtain than the feeling of being safe, or “at home” I’d rather have now.

Although each breath of life is a gift (that’s why they call it “the present,” so they say), a sigh of relief would also be a truly wonderful gift.

I hope by this time next year, I’ll hear the cheery notes of silver bells instead of the wake-up alarm on my cell phone; the first sound-off of another day to “get through.”

Maybe a silent, restful night too, Santa?





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