In this dimly lit study I drink my coffee and peer creepily at the cars rolling down the street, essentially ignoring all forms of actual study. To my left are two papal encyclicals (that I’ve finished reading, thank goodness); to my right is another that is as of yet unread, but needs to be by Thursday… In front of me a book of Plato’s Dialogues, Greek Tragedies, and Boethius’ The Consolation of Philosophy, along with my notebooks and my folders for Driver’s Ed.
My elbow rests on my orchestra paperwork, reminding me that I still have four études, a scale, and half a solo (it should be the whole solo, but I’m hopeless) to practice on my cello, who waits patiently upstairs completely surrounded with sheet music.
Amid all this, I write a blog post and blink sullenly with the Beatles blaring in the background. It seems that when I have only a little bit of work to do, I view it as less important and so I put it off. But then when it piles up I stress to the point where I am just drowning in it so I banish it from my mind and don’t do it either.
It’s kind of a lose-lose situation.
[Enter many hours later.]
Oh. Also. I procrastinate on my methods of procrastination. For instance, this blog post! Yeah, I’m basically the worst. I also can’t remember what my original purpose in writing was.
Right. I’m stressed. My mom also does this uncanny thing where she walks in and starts scolding me for not working on something that I’ve actually been working on and freaking out about already. The thing is, I’m very self-regulated, and chances are that by the time you have to nag me to do something, I’ve been guilt-tripping myself over it for hours. I seem to live my life in constant panic mode.
This is something I’ve noticed recently, specifically with cello: I am a hugely tense person. I got a new cello teacher and he frequently does this thing where he looks over and goes, “Just relax your arms! No – no! Relax!” or “You remind me of how I used to be, you keep all your tension right in your jaw… Let it go.” “But I have to tense somewhere!” “No. You don’t.”
*insert feeble excuse here*
Physically, I am tense. I wake up every morning with an aching back because I clench my muscles while I sleep. I can’t just sit still; I’m jittery. I fiddle with everything – I was on a Skype call with my friend Sarah and I realized that within the space of ten minutes I’d pressed all the buttons on my calculator, turned my phone on and off six times, played with my watch, flipped through a book, spun all the buttons on my shirt around both clockwise and counterclockwise, pulled my purity ring off my finger and put it back on more times than I could count… I am physically incapable of relaxing.
I’m the same way emotionally, too. I worry incessantly – about me, what I’m doing, my life, my decisions, my failures, the amount of work I have to do… worry worry worry. I worry about other people – I have a friend who every single time he goes to a party or out at all, really, I spend the entire time wringing my hands and thinking he’s going to end up dead in a ditch or something. I’m serious! It’s constant. If I can worry about it, I will worry about it. It eats me up, my heart basically gets completely wrung out every time someone takes longer than usual to respond to a text message or I have to say something awkward to them or I think they’re upset. I’m basically a mother hen who kind of just herds all her chicks and has a complete aneurysm every time one of them is even vaguely sort of possibly out of sorts. (At art camp they called me Dorm Mom because I immediately fell into the mother position and started snapping at everyone and keeping them in line. I’m “Mumsy” to a number of my friends because I’m such a Mom about EVERYTHING.)
Overall in my life, I am happy. I stress about the work I’m doing, but ultimately I’m doing the work because I love it. Greek philosophy and drama? I’m in love with it. Cello? Same. I worry about myself and my life because I want to make sure I’m doing things that are good and true and beautiful. I worry about my friends because I love them more than life – and surely that’s a good thing?
And my restless leg syndrome is probably due to the excessive amounts of coffee I consume daily and my failure to have a normal sleep schedule. 😉 No one to blame but myself.
Even though sometimes I feel like I’m flailing and falling headfirst down the stairs, ultimately I am having one of the best summers I have ever had, with the best friends I could possibly ask for, doing everything I love, and crossing off item after item on my summer bucket list.
I realized basically two seconds ago while kind of aimlessly staring at my dresser at my favorite photo of me and Essie that failing does not make me a failure; that just because I don’t accomplish every impossible task I set down for myself, I am doing everything I can to the best of my ability, having fun, seeking wisdom, and hopefully growing a bit in the process.
After all, isn’t that what being young is all about? I may be an old biddy at heart, with my affinity for cats and sweaters and completely ancient music, and my tendency to fret endlessly about the people I care about most, and my everpresent grumpiness, but I am me and I am young and because of that I am learning and laughing and loving… and that desire to always seek wisdom, to always be able to laugh at myself and enjoy my life, and my unbridled and unabashed love for my friends and family… that is what’s going to keep me as the most youthful, hip hop & happenin’ old biddy there is for every day of my life.
Thanks for reading & best wishes!