My long wait is over. My thesis has been returned to me, after many weeks of long, leisurely days – a bit of proof-reading in the morning, some crafting in the afternoon, maybe a trip out somewhere. And boy, did my enforced break end with a bang! I managed to cram so much into the weekend: journeys; lunches with friends; dinners with friends; playtime; shopping; community stuff; seeing family; vegging in front of the athletics…
I suspect I deliberately rammed a lot into the previous 48 hours because I knew it was my final burst of freedom for a while. The reality is that for the next couple of months (maybe a bit longer), my energies will largely be focussed on work. As my bosses have both reminded me, this is the final push to the end. It would be madness to not give it my all; five years of my life have gone into this thesis & I want to know that it is the best that I could do.
As a result, the sense of freedom & roaming that I exploited on Friday night has now been replaced by a sense of constriction & restraint. I want to pull up the drawbridge & confine myself to my room for several weeks. This thrills & terrifies me in equal measures: the thrill of a challenge, the terror that I will fail it. What if I can’t make the alterations that they suggest? What if I cannot measure up to their efforts to push me further? Am I good enough?
I know that these are feelings that will pass. As I sit here now, looking at the piles of paper that form a literal mountain for me to climb, I feel somewhat paralysed. That familiar sense of doom – fear of being all subsumed by my work, losing myself, being obliterated (all very Freudian, I’m sure) – hangs over me. But it will pass. Once I get started, it will all seem more manageable. The large pile will become small chunks. The small chunks will pass from one pile to another as each gets tackled. Slowly but surely, the seemingly insurmountable to-do list will get ticked off. I will not let myself panic; I will not let myself cry.
I will start now. First task: do some stapling. However lost & paralysed I feel at the minute, I remain confident that I can manage this. It may only be a small start, but it’s a start. And it’s still only Monday morning (just about!). From Friday night to this moment, I feel very differently about life. And by this Friday night, I will feel different again. Now, where’s my stapler?