Friday Afternoon Confessional: Surplus-anxiety
In recent years, The Girlfriend and I have been elaborating and experimenting with a concept we call “surplus-anxiety.” The basic idea is that a given person gets used to having a certain level of anxiety, so that when one of their problems is solved, they must find something new to attach that anxiety to. The Girlfriend went through a stage of this when she found a job after being semi-unemployed for a few months, and I confess that I am experiencing it now.
I confess that it hit its peak on Monday night, when I could barely get to sleep from worry about such crucial issues as “what will I have for breakfast tomorrow?” or “what shall I wear tomorrow?” The next day, I had lunch with my advisor and told him of this phenomenon. He suggested that the root of my surplus-anxiety was the lack of a major project over and above my day-to-day duties. The Girlfriend and I both found that explanation plausible as well.
I confess that I have not settled on what my major project should be. One possibility is learning to read biblical Hebrew, but The Girlfriend doesn’t think that will be as engaging as a writing project. I do have relatively clear plans for a book that would serve as a follow-up to my dissertation, but I don’t think I can start that in any serious way before the end of the semester.
So I guess I have to settle for the satisfaction of doing the laundry and grading papers for now.
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