You want to know now if you got that job or got accepted into graduate school. But you can’t, of course, so you wait anxiously until you find out, postponing the good times until everything’s just right.
But that mentality won’t let you live. You need to take a step back and realize that there will always be something you’re waiting for. “I’ll be happy/relaxed/satisfied/ready when (fill in the blank) happens.”
I’m sure you’ve said something like that to yourself, and it’s something I was forced to think about during my MFA application process—which I’m done with, thankfully. It got to me sometimes, between crafting the right range of stories to reflect who I am and what I want to accomplish, finding faculty I align with, getting all my scores and transcripts in order, revising each story to death, and getting everything in on different deadlines. I’d be watching TV with Fernanda or having dinner with my mom, and I was elsewhere, worrying about my application, tinkering with my stories in my head, imagining the twisted faces of faculty as they picked apart my writing. I couldn’t relax because I made my happiness depend on whether I would be accepted or not.
At some point, I realized I was ruining perfectly good moments, that if I focused on what I was doing right then, I’d have a great time. It’s a skill, learning to let things happen on their own time. It’s a habit.
Application season taught me that I need to handle stress better and find ways to slow down. For me, working out, reading, writing, and hanging with people helps immensely. Oh, and drinking less coffee. That one’s helping too.