I’m noticing a weird trend. Every year, in late October, I start to feel anxious. I get sort of panicky, overwhelmed, and dissatisfied. I begin to feel inadequate and question all the busy-ness in my life. I call it Midterm Syndrome, and although the Syndrome has come upon me almost every year for more than a decade, I am still (somehow) always caught by surprise. I reach that point in the semester when I realize that time is slipping by too quickly. The workload is increasing , but the time until finals is disappearing all too fast. I find myself in the closest that I ever get to “depression,” and I finally ask, “Hey! What’s happening here?” And only then do I realize that Midterm Syndrome has struck. If you look through my previous journals, you would see a very obvious pattern, but oddly I never anticipate the onset.
In the past, I have cured the mucky symptoms by weeding out some of my “extra” activities. Each fall, I seem to drop out of things or delegate responsibilities to others. But over the last year, I have been making a conscious effort to simplify (Some of you who know me well are probably chuckling at that!), so I feel like I’m already down to the minimum. There are no more activities to zap from the schedule. The things that I do now require very limited time. So when Sunday evening and Monday morning left no doubt that the Syndrome had arrived, I felt lower and more overwhelmed than ever before. What can I do if there is nothing to drop out of? So I moped a bit. I had a quiet, lay-low kind of Monday. I cleaned. And finally, I made a decision to look forward. I already had plans to have my older son’s friends and their moms (my friends!) over to our house on Tuesday, so I happily wrapped myself in their company. I relished the sound of seven happy little kids in my home. I enjoyed the smell of the oddly shaped and wonderfully messy homemade pizzas that they created. I had a cute cupcake and some homemade chai. I laughed with other moms and marveled at my husband’s ease in the kitchen and in conversation with my mommy friends. Then this evening, my family enjoyed Bible study and fellowship with some other friends. It felt good to be with them after a few weeks of missing our bi-monthly time together. So what was the cure of Midterm Syndrome 2009? Friends. I realized during this bout with my annual slump that the answer is the decision to be thankful, to understand that God has blessed me with friends and family and opportunities to laugh and to love. Maybe that sounds terribly cliché, but next October, I’m going to keep away the irksome blues with a big ol’ bash at my house. Wanna come?