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The morning after cutting the sink hole, I had a full Saturday of class to attend. Between hunting down the countertop, getting through a tough midterm exam (this DIY week was actually sandwiched between two test-heavy weeks in my grad program), and realizing that my final mid-mester course was starting a week early, I was a little… stressed.

Oh yeah: I also hadn’t been home so much in the last few weeks prior, I’d forgotten about the mail in my mailbox to the point that the U.S. postal service marked my house as vacant. Yes, apparently that kind of cherry on a shit sundae is possible. I spent a couple of days during my staycation to call them and straighten things out, but blog income sometimes comes through the mail, so I was frantically trying to track down some very important checks that I assumed were lost (or returned to sender).

When I’m stressed, at least to this level, I tend to have a hard time sleeping. I am overtaxing myself, and have basically been doing that for the last two years, trying to find balance and still do the things I absolutely love (I’m pretty sure that without the blog, I wouldn’t have enough of an outlet to keep this up). Usually, I can handle things pretty well, as long as I stay flexible, hibernate for a good twelve hours every six to eight weeks, and get a regular amount of exercise (which helps with sleeping and those feel-good endorphins to keep me thinking positively).

But some weeks, like this particular week, just have everything falling around me in such a way that I can’t take one more thing. Not a one. I hadn’t been exercising like I should (despite its benefits, running is one of the first things I cut when I know I’m pressed for time & deadlines). And then not sleeping well from worry. And then, and then, and then.

So when a classmate mentioned how “completely exhausted” I looked in class that morning, I agreed with her. And then I felt the tears welling up in my eyes.

Like many other women I know (and I’m sure even a few guys willing to admit it), every once in a while, there’s really nothing like a good cry. While it may have been poorly timed and beyond my control, until I found myself sobbing in the campus bathroom, I really hadn’t let myself just empty out all of the emotions swirling through my brain. I was tired. I was spent. The week had thrown me upside down on more than one occasion.

If I’m trying not to be my own worst critic, I was actually doing a damn good job of keeping things together. There are a lot of people who consistently remind me that they don’t think what I do on a regular basis each week is even possible, and they always mean it in the nicest way (fyi, being called Superwoman always makes me want to find a sparkly belt). But I know a lot of it has to do with knowing there is a finish line. That sacrifices are made temporarily (like my sanity and sleep) for big payoffs at the end (like a masters degree and working my dream job). When I start to put things into perspective like that, it’s not so hard to believe that I manage not to eat my own fingernails and still make it to my hair appointments (maybe after a cancellation or two, but still…).

Looking at the calendar, I have about 45 more days of this chaos to concern myself with. In the last two years, I’ve learned to be a lot more forgiving and deliberate with where I place my priorities. Pick my battles a little better. Be happy with the B that I got from a day of studying versus the A that would have required a week. Choose not to finish up the project tonight and wait another day to get to the details.


Could I handle another year of this? Probably not. But then again, my expectations would put me in a different frame of mind if that were the case. Point is, I think it’s completely possible for me, for you, for anyone, to put themselves to task and become the badasses we know we can be. Even if that means a good cry every once in a while.

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  1. Grad school is HARD. Add in a full time job AND house renovations AND writing a blog, and it is clear to me why people call you superwoman (you are going as that for Halloween, right?) I can’t imagine how you fit it all in, but good for you for keeping your sanity through the majority of it. It has taken a lot less than what you’ve gone through lately to make me have a good cry in the bathroom (or other places)- it’s definitely a good stress reliever!! Cheers to the finish line!!

  2. About two weeks ago I had a breakdown over the fact that a) the Chinese restaurant wasn’t open and b) I didn’t have anything else planned for dinner. Come to find out that the breakdown had nothing to do with that, but with something that had happened about two months prior. A good cry always helps! Take care of yourself!!!! xoxo

  3. Just remember, even Superwoman cried and needed help sometimes. I think you are doing an amazing job! So what if you didn’t get to everything on your list today/this week / this month? It is YOUR list to prioritize.

    So bask in the B, smile at the sink, and knock back a few when it’s time for hibernation. You done good, girl.

  4. How you do home renovations and blog is beyond me. I was in grad school full time while working full time and GOOD GOD, the number of breakdowns I had was countless. But I graduated in April (YAY!) and can say that it WILL get better. Life after grad school is fabulous. I got a big promotion at work and have a new boss that I love. I get to spend time on my weekends doing whatever I want. And life in general is just better.

    Hang in there lady! You’ll be done before you know it!

  5. I graduated with my MBA last December and can COMPLETELY relate. Well, I guess not really because I wasn’t blogging or renovating a house while going to b-school (seriously, you rock), just working full time and driving back and forth between Gainesville (work) and Jacksonville (school). I did have my share of breakdowns, though! Just keep picturing yourself walking across that stage and becoming an (official) Master BA. Soon you’ll have all the time to run, DIY and do whatever the heck YOU want to do (until you decide a PhD sounds nice…ha!). I’m rooting for you!!

  6. Hang in there; only 45 more days. I completed an MBA program as a single Mom with a second grader and a third grader, so I sympathize and understand a bit of what you’re going through. Have a good cry, get some sleep, and realize that things will take as long as they take, but you’ll get to your goal anyway. I’m so impressed with your progress!

  7. 45 more days! so so close! I worked full time and completed my master’s in a year- I can’t imagine adding being a homeowner to that too. It is NO JOKE. the internet will throw you a party when you graduate :)

  8. Sarah,
    You cracked me up with your sundae comment, had me sad for your breakdown, and so hoping you can make it 45 more days. However, 45 days is a pretty long time. PLEASE try to find some time for a run, LONG sleep, and maybe even another cry. I’m going to get worried about you like I’m your mom! And I smiled when I read your Superwoman comment–you deserve the cape AND the sparkly belt :) Please take care of yourself. The cry was a good sign you are at your wits end. Take a break somehow…PLEASE????? And can I please suggest (again) that you set up an address for graduation gifts to be sent to! Just be sure to check the mail!!

  9. I’ve been known to take on too much. Once a friend told me that life is like a bunch of cubby holes. When they are all filled up, if you want to do something else, you need to empty one. My incredulous retort was , “why not just get another cubby hole and add it to the others?” It was good advice though. Even in the midst of having a house built, which is enough to drive anyone looney, I try to schedule some down time. Sort of like a project. You have to have time to breath and recharge. And drink wine…

  10. You need a day where the four main scheduled items (in this order) are: Run. Nap. Wine. Nap some more. Don’t think of these things as rewards for after everything gets done. Think of them as necessary coping strategies for along the way!