Stressed for no reason

The end of the month has become a very stressful time for me this past year. At work I’m usually experiencing the effects of “crunch time,” where I’ve got less and less time to do more and more work, and unfortunately I tend to bring that stress home with me. Additionally, I’ve added new pieces to this stress: my monthly article for Prime Magazine, the possibility of learning a new trade in the newspaper business — these things are supposed to be hobbies, or at least as close to hobbies as I can get. But I’m still anxious about them. I want everything to be perfect. That breeds an uncomfortable feeling inside of me.

I’ve never been an incredibly stressed person, though, so this is all rather new to me. It makes me feel older than I am – there’s a standard of responsibility in what I do that I lived pleasantly without for years – and it makes me feel tired and cranky, two feelings that I never showed in such abundance before taking on a salaried job.

I don’t like this stress, but I know I need to live with it. I’ve stressed myself out lately even more by thinking that I haven’t done enough with my life – that I haven’t become some ultra successful writer – and that I’m going to be stuck in middle management for the rest of my life.

Why do I do this? I don’t know. It’s a fault. I know I’ll move on from this stage of life. I’ve lived a rather privileged life. I’ve never gone hungry, I’ve been able to go to college, and I’ve been promoted to a job that many wouldn’t dream of having at 26. There is a responsibility that’s a natural part of growing up. I’ll have this forever – if I’m not stressed about work, it’ll be a child, or it’ll be a story I’m writing close to deadline, or it’ll be a sick pet, or it’ll be a dying relative. Stress is a part of life. I’ve got to learn to deal with it better.

Instead, I just shut myself up and try to force my way through it. Sometimes this works; I’ve over-worried my way through the last week of the past six months, but I’ve gotten everything done every time – with time to spare, even. Sometimes it doesn’t; I’ve been concerned about certain things in life that I have no control over, and every time I do this I realize that I’m helpless to do anything. That doesn’t help the stress.

Kerrie helps me as much as she can. She tells me not to worry about things I can’t control. She is constantly showing me the positive side of almost every negative thing I say. I thank her for this. I thank her for living with such a pessimist.

Someday, I’ll be living without stress.

Hopefully, it won’t be when I’m 55 and retired.

This was lovingly handwritten on October 26th, 2005