Creating the Problem

by Megan Reilly
@MReilly90
If you have been on social media or at work in the last week, you'll know that the NASPA 2015 annual conference just happened in New Orleans. Last week I wrote about my experience at NASPA and this week I want to write a little about how I'm feeling in the aftermath - but not how it relates to my job or my work or student affairs at all.
I want to talk about how I'm feeling after a conversation with a close friend and someone I consider a mentor. Having her there for my first NASPA was so helpful - a friendly face does so much to make a situation feel less overwhelming. And having someone to debrief with over coffee/tea was perfect.
NASPA (and the surrounding life discussions with various important people in my life) involved a lot of thinking and reflecting and sort of decision making for me. I just started a new job this month (which is going great) and I am about to finish my graduate program this summer (just under 3 months now!!!), so life feels very busy. Several of my friends participated in TPE last week and several more are job searching on their own. We talk about job searches a lot in my circle of friends. In all of this excitement and all of the talking about how quickly and dramatically things are changing, it hit me like a ton of bricks when this friend asked me a simple question over coffee on the last day of NASPA as I rattled off all the things stressing me out: do you think maybe at this point you are creating the problem?
Not many people could ask me that without me becoming immediately defensive and I can think of a few people whose saying that would downright offend me. But I respect this person and tough questions are kind of her thing... so I paused. I thought about it for a second. And I haven't really stopped thinking about it since then.
My life is about to change because graduate school will no longer be on my plate. But the job search is behind me, many of my friends have secured jobs in the area and won't be leaving after graduation (although a few will and that will be sad), I don't plan on moving anytime soon, I'm happy in my relationship, life in general is good, and things are kind of in a place where I don't want to change. But for the past two years, my life has constantly been full speed ahead and completely in flux. I got used to that feeling of struggling to get by, fighting with myself over every decision, second-guessing my path and my goals... I got so used to this that when my life finally got to exactly where I had been pushing it to be, I started looking for new things to fix. I didn't know how to just be happy with it. My friend was right... I started creating problems as soon as life wasn't offering me any new ones.
Don't get me wrong, there is stress in my life and nothing is perfect. But the things I want to fix are things I have no control over and the things I can control don't need to be fixed. So, much of my time this past week has been trying to just cool it. Give myself a breather. Take five. Relax (I even did yoga last night for the first time in weeks). And maybe just be comfortable for awhile with exactly how things are without the pressure of what needs to change.

Follow Megan on Twitter at @MReilly90!

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