Nov 29, 2012

Freak-Out Thursdays...

The circumstances have varied over the years, but in an oddly-consistent fashion, I have maintained a nearly-weekly Thursday Freak-Out day. When I was teaching, by Thursday I was convinced that I would never catch up on grading papers, and all my kids were never going to get this math-stuff, and even the smartest ones would be forced to pursue nontechnical careers (not that there's anything wrong with that). In grad school it was my own homework that would never get finished in time, and while I could do differential equations like a crazy (nerdy) person, I probably wasn't actually cut out to be a real engineer. Then later at work (at my actual engineering job), I would not be able to figure out the test I was running, or the paper I was writing, or whatnot. And they were almost certainly preparing to fire me.

These days I am certain that early childhood is going to kill me. Afternoon kindergarten might do it singlehandedly, but if it doesn't succeed then there are myriad other small (non) catastrophes that will finish me off, and then the clutter monster will bury me at the base of Mount Laundry. Which in general will save expenses, so I guess there are bright spots in there.

These days I have the benefit of perspective, so I'm better at catching myself before I implode entirely. First off, I discovered during student teaching that treating myself to a little Jamba Juice (they trucked them in to the cafeteria--it was awesome) took the edge off just enough to get me thru to Friday, where I relaxed and wore jeans and magically checked 225 things off my to-do list, and all was reasonably well again.

And similarly the treat has varied over the years--these days it's a Coke--but if I find myself amid a classic freak-out Thursday, I try to work in a little treat and breathe deeply

Now, I really don't think there's anything magic about Coke or Jamba Juice, and I'm totally not advocating addiction or numbing as a way of coping with our problems. Easy to do; but not healthy. I do think, though, that what happens is I change things up just a little, and slow for a moment (even just in my mind), and talk to God a little bit, and it reminds me that Thursday is just a day, and it too shall pass, and hey maybe in the meantime I can just grade this one stack of papers, or work on this one problem, or look up that one specification, or mail the package so Baby Roots can wear her spiffy pink Chucks before she grows out of them.

Do you have Freak-Out Thursdays? Or an equivalent? How do you talk yourself down?

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

1. Sunday night was my freak-out time when teaching. Especially my first year, but also in subsequent years. There were lots of tears, and gnashing of teeth, and wringing of hands. And rolling of eyes. (That was Matt, not me)

2. A friend in DC found some journals she had written years before and made the observation that she hasn't changed even a little. Situations and circumstances, yes, but at her core she has reacted pretty much the same way throughout her entire life, but didn't realize it until that moment. I thought this was an extremely apt description, because while I am always carrying different things and responsibilities and calendars, my general pants-on-fire approach to fixing them (or gnashing teeth about them) has not generally changed in, oh, the last 30 years.

All this to say, I liked this post a lot : )