My life after my writing program has been…stressful.

I would venture to say life after homework and packets is more stressful than during grad school. It’s the feeling of freedom that does it. You realize that you’ve graduated and therefore are finally free. The entire world is at your feet. What do you want to do?

If you’re anything like me, you want to do EVERYTHING.

That’s when life gets overwhelming because you try to do everything and everything is important.

Do you remember when you went school clothes shopping when you were younger? Or even Christmas Day? There were so many choices, so many clothes or toys to play with. You wanted to wear every outfit the first week or play with every toy instantly after you unwrapped it. It’s that feeling. Too much good too soon. That feeling is perhaps the worst good feeling in the world.

And because every possibility (or maybe more than you’re use to dealing with) is at your finger tips, you try to do them all for fear that they will no longer be there or, worst yet, you forget them all together and seem ungrateful for the gift you’ve been given.

So how have I handled that? Not well. Friends, who have also graduated with their masters, have told me there is a long period of adjustment after graduation. One friend said it took her at least six months and another said he’s still adjusting (six months later). The only solution, I have reluctantly found, is this:

Cutting myself some slack.

Just because I have every opportunity in front of me doesn’t mean I have to take them all. In fact, I’m not suppose to take them all. I should distill. Think about what I’m doing, what I want to do, what my goal are, and react accordingly. I shouldn’t fear that the opportunities presented in front of me will go away, if they were meant to be taken they’ll still be there.

This is a lesson I’m still learning myself but that I think every writer needs to and has to learn. Don’t believe me? Here are some quotes:

Ernest Hemingway: I never had to choose a subject – my subject rather chose me. 

Franz Kafka: By imposing too great a responsibility, or rather, all responsibility, on yourself, you crush yourself. 

And finally, and simply, Voltaire: My life is a struggle.

What is this need we have to be all things at the same time. What is this “responsibility” that we’ll crush ourselves for? I don’t have an answer for that. 

All this to say that focus is the name of the game from now on. In this world of multitasking and pocket computers, it’s time to take it back to basics. One task at a time. Focus on quality. Focus on the work. Focus. Focus. Focus  Accomplishing this will take Superman strength and Mother Teresa understanding both of which I’m lacking at the present.