So now what?

I'm done. With school.

::insert cheer here::

And I'm sitting here, after spending my Friday night alone (as I do most Friday nights), wondering now what?

I knew that nothing was going to change when I handed in my thesis to the library book bindery today. They guy said "congratulations" and I went to my last class and that was it. Which was anti-climactic to say the least. Now I can truthfully write "Carrie, MA, MPH" after my name and nothing else has changed. I have the same issues, the same pitfalls, the same bizarre fits of creativity.

So now what?

I have been waiting for my life to start, well, all my life. After high school. After college. After I get a job. After I get my Master's degree. After I recover. After after after. It's my ten year high school reunion sometime soon, which makes a decade of afters. And no, I'm not going. I've kept in contact with the two people I actually liked, and the rest don't stir any feelings of nostalgia and longing.
I want to say, "What are you waiting for, Carrie?" What am I waiting for? I feel like I've been muddling through for so long, trying to manage all of my mental illnesses/brain diseases, that I have to kind of prioritize my needs. Think Maslow's hierarchy. If I'm struggling to make it through the day, to feed myself, to sleep, to not anxiously tap my leg off my freaking body, then things like enjoyment and self-actualization are probably not going to make it in my to-do list. Yet I know that enjoying myself and finding something pleasurable are important and can lead to improvements in eating, sleeping, and anxiety.

I think I feel some odd sort of internal pressure now, knowing that I can't put everything off any longer. School is over. I know I didn't go to grad school deliberately to put things off. And I did learn a lot this year and it wasn't as hellish as my other school experiences have been. But now there's just me and my life, and I haven't the slightest clue what I'm going to do.

I had free time tonight, and after picking some things up around my apartment, I essentially sat and stared at the wall. I don't know how to deal with free time. It baffles me. So what am I going to do with an entire life?

I suppose I don't need to be in a huge hurry to answer that question. I will find out soon enough. Nor do I need to fill an entire life. I have a lifetime in which to fill it. I'm trying to ask myself what I would like to do right here, right now.

I don't know the answer to that.

I know getting some quality rest is (or should be) up there. Ditto for enriching the inventory for my Etsy shop, Frenchroast Designs. And scraping off the whatever-it-is that is crusted on the top of my stove.

Other than that? I guess I'll have to wait and see.

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marcella said...

Hope you have a good time while you're waiting. My father is going to be Prime Minister of Great Britain when he grows up, but meanwhile he enjoys himself pottering around making friends and watching cricket. Now I'm not saying that you should become patient enough to sit through a game as boring as cricket, but maybe we could all do with learning how to just "be" for a while. My dear old dad certainly looks far better for his age than Gordon Brown or Tony Blair.

Danielle said...

Hi again. I just wanted to say that you are not alone in feeling the way you do. I am so confused and it seems like i keep waiting for things to happen in my life too. I feel lost in a way. i feel a lot of times the eating disorder is the only thing around. you know, like nothing is going on and i have nothing to do, so the solution is to eat or focus on the disorder.
anyways, i am looking forward to your email and dont worry about it being perfect or coherent enough, lol. keep on pushing and don't lose hope!

Laura Collins said...

I think the fact that you didn't spend the days before you finished filling up the following week is the most beautiful, WELL thing ever. Not regretting the past, not fixing the future, taking the time to stare at a wall sounds deeply alive to me. I love it!

Jeanne said...

Congratulations, Carrie!!!!

As I tell my hubby whenever he starts itching to find a "real" job (as if substitute teaching every day isn't,) "we are young" (although we're both older than you are, carrie ;-)

I tell him that we both will have lots of jobs and maybe even several careers over the next 40 years before we can retire. There is no need to rush into anything. It's okay to just enjoy where we are - right here, right now.

thinking of you with lots of love,

mary said...

Hey Carrie, You could follow me and start writing longer responses to blog posts. That ought to eat up a few minutes.
Do plan on reaching out if you find yourself with too much time and going stir crazy. I really enjoy hearing from you. We can solve the world problems with a chat.
Did you know that you can sell antique/vintage items on etsy as well as hand crafted? It might be fun to if you like flea markets or fun vintage stuff.
Keep writing as it's your best weapon for keeping connected and well. /***********

Tracey said...

Congrats Carrie!


Sarah said...

Well done, Carrie. I for one can't wait to see what happens next. I know whatever it is, it's going to be amazing.

I hope to see you around DC this summer --


IrishUp said...

Congratulations on your milestone, Carrie!!!!

Have you heard the tale of the mystic? He lived alone at the top of a mountain in Tibet, where he sought enlightenment. Every day, he got up, got dressed, fetched water, made a fire, ate breakfast, and meditated in search of enlightenment. One day, he acheived it! Enlightenment was his!!! The next day he got up, got dressed, fetched the water...

Have fun waiting for your next big thing!

Anonymous said...

thank you SO MUCH for writing this post. Reading this meant so much to me- you perfectly stated my internal monologue. I am quitting my job and I am so happy and SO TERRIFIED. It was a job I didn't like, didn't want todo and wasn't doing well at, but I was too afraid - I don't know of what - to do it and take a chance on trying to do what I really wanted. i know that's not quite what you're writing about but the point is that I was always waiting for X to happen before I could do Y - and now I've realized that I can just do exactly what I want.

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I'm a science writer, a jewelry design artist, a bookworm, a complete geek, and mom to a wonderful kitty. I am also recovering from a decade-plus battle with anorexia nervosa. I believe that complete recovery is possible, and that the first step along that path is full nutrition.

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nour·ish: (v); to sustain with food or nutriment; supply with what is necessary for life, health, and growth; to cherish, foster, keep alive; to strengthen, build up, or promote


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