Life Be Lifin’
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Life Be Lifin’

I Don’t Solve Problems, I Just Worry About New Ones

Social media’s been buzzing with talk on how unusually long January feels. I can relate. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been dealing with one new problem after another. It’s like a never-ending game of whack-a-mole and my arms are too exhausted to lift the hammer.

Here’s a list of things I’ve been doing since the end of November 2017: I got a new job, started school, looked for a new apartment, and researched a new car I’m buying for my birthday. I want to tell you that I maneuvered through those problems with the grace of a gazelle, but that would be a lie.

The new job opportunity came right before Thanksgiving break. I was in the midst of prepping to leave town to for family time, which doubled as a way for me to finish my short film for a school project. I was also working full-time at a nearby middle school as a substitute teacher…which is stressful in its own right.

An interviewer contacted me about a job they thought I was qualified for. I phrased it that way, because it was a job in which I had zero prior knowledge or experience. The interviewer believed I had a transferable skill set. So, they asked me to do a writing test. I was instructed to try my best.

To say I was worried would be an understatement. The position was exciting and I was looking forward to the challenge, but my anxiety was heightened because I was unhappy with my current position and desperately looking for a way out.

Job interviews aren’t something I often come across. Also, I was fresh off two rejections for a position I applied to, twice. One might understand there was a lot riding on this opportunity. The writing test was my first obstacle…and I was freaking out.

I spent a week in preparation, researching what I could to ensure I had a fighting chance. After I took the test, I checked in a couple of times over the subsequent weeks with hopes I would receive good news. The interviewer sounded happy to hear from me and didn’t mind my calls, but they were still going through the interview process.

They encouraged me to be patient.

Patience, is not my virtue.

So I hemmed…and hawed…and worried…and lost sleep…And about a month later, they offered me the job via telephone. I didn’t, and couldn’t, breathe a sigh of relief until I saw the official offer letter in my email inbox.

That same week, I discovered an issue with my financial aid. Christmas break, was the next week. There was time to solve the issue, albeit with one small problem. The man who could correct the hiccup was on vacation until the following Friday…which was the last day I could turn in my paperwork before the break started.

He came back from his vacation early and I was able to get everything signed on that final Friday. Unfortunately, I was working full-time so the mishap couldn’t be solved until I had a chance to drive down to campus after work.

I checked with the financial aid office to ask if they were working their regular business hours. They assured me someone would be there when I arrived. Once I got there, however, they were closed.

With the office close, I couldn’t turn the paperwork in until January 2nd.

I was apoplectic.

When January 2nd rolled around, I submitted the documents. Much to my chagrin, the administrative assistant informed me there was no guarantee my financial aid would be approved before the end of drop/add week. If my aid wasn’t approved I would have to pay my tuition out of pocket. That, obviously, wasn’t going to happen.

So, I spent that first week, which was the same week I started my new job, calling everyone at my university to sort the situation. I even had to email my professors to inform them of my status in the event I was dropped from their classes.

One day before drop/add was finished, I got approved for my financial aid.

And still, no rest for the weary.

Not soon after the great financial aid debacle, I took my car in for service. I was expecting to pay a decent amount because being broke means car maintenance is a luxury. It’s hard to justify paying anything to fix a car when you’re barely getting by with meager paychecks from the school board.

In any event, I got a phone call from the mechanic not too long after I left his shop. In so many words, he said fixing the car was a waste of money. I wasn’t expecting to hear that. And so, the search for a new car began.

Everything I’ve listed so far is part of being adult. I had things to do, obstacles arose, and I was forced to handle my business. I did notice though, every time I solved a problem I wouldn’t relish in handling it. Mainly, because I was worried about something else.

The rhythm worked like this: worry about something, solve the thing, find something new to lose sleep over. At various points, the loop left me tired like I worked a 9 to 5 and a 5 to 9. I was overwhelmed by problems popping up like zits before prom night.

To that point, there’s no happy ending here.

I recognize there’s a problem. I’m doing a rather poor job of handling my emotions whenever life gets to lifin’. And while my first instinct is to stop caring and let things “be what they may,” I’ve never been good at that.

So, until I find a way to do this and be content…I’ll just keep finding new things to worry about.

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Garfield Hylton

Garfield Hylton

Medium Creator Fellow. Award-winning TV news journalist. Freelance writer. Mad question asker.