Stress and Procrastination

Sometime last week a friend poked her head into my little cubicle: “How’s it going?”

I looked at my desk with its various piles of urgent, semi-urgent, neglected, and soon-t0-be-forgotten papers. Over on the out-of-commission scanner sat two pieces of paper, out of reach but fairly radioactive in their import.

How was I? Those two sheets summed it up: “I’ve got a tenure application here and a summons to call for a follow-up mammogram. That’s what’s going on.”

So, yes, I’ve been a little stressed. But the drama is of my own making, of my own desiring. The mammogram last June wasn’t worrying: it was just a bad photograph and they want a new one. I should get tenure in May. I’m not genuinely worried about either potential bad outcome. In my heart I expect that sometime in the next few months, I’ll have good news for now on both fronts.

And yet.

I’ve indulged myself in the ritual of getting stressed. Of becoming neurotic. Of getting tension headaches at the least mention of promotion or someone else’s book or the job market.

I think, to be honest, that I needed the attention. Not really from anyone (except, perhaps my husband, who’s been remarkably patient through this whole thing) as from myself: I needed to be the star, the neediest one, the one who was a little fragile, a little rocky.


I’m done. It’s a dull role and I prefer others to it. The application is in and with matters out of my hands, much of my stress has lifted. I made the appointment. Back to work.