The Anxiety of Stagnation

I’m sitting in my newspaper class and two articles have come across my desk. Edited. Done. Posted and ready to be read. And I’m ready to get them working on the next set of articles.

But it’s February in a small rural county in between seasons be it sports or meteorological. We’re all in this stage of waiting, this hesitation as we strain toward a beginning. An ending.

58 schools days until graduation.

63 school days until summer break.

I feel my body pacing as I sit motionless on this stool, listening to the idle chit-chat of my students. At least three are on deadline for this week and I want to unleash on them. Shout about how they need to be writing. Editing. Interviewing. THEY NEED TO BE DOING SOMETHING!

But the fatigue is a worse epidemic than Covid. We’re worn. Exhausted. As I parked my car this morning, NPR was beginning an article about the impact of Covid on adolescents’ mental health. I can definitely testify to the impact of Covid on teenagers and how their social development is behind. They have stagnated. Gotten trapped in a spiraled ennui from two years ago.

I am within my own stagnated sense of anxiety. The need to do something countered by the fatigue to do nothing. Write. What is there to write about? Cook/bake? Too damn tired. Or unable to put together recipes in my head and I want to try something new but trying something new means pulling myself out of my exhaustion and summoning the energy to go through my extensive spice cabinets (yes….plural) to sift together a new meal that will tantalize the taste buds and awaken the family.

My husband and I want to hike. Comma but…we’re tired. We have to work on the house. We have to finish various and sundry projects.

We’re stuck. Stagnating in these moments when we want to do something, have to do something, have too much to do.

It’s easy as an adult and teacher to minimize what my students feel. To see their stressors and anxieties as petty and insignificant. I have a staffer who has finished an article. Time to write the next one. And he’s fighting me. He’s worn. He’s working on another project for newspaper but that project is also sort of on hold as he waits for information to be sent to him by someone else. So, in the intervening time…why don’t you write your article. A 300 word news piece about the destination for a teacher’s charitable run? A 500 word piece on the importance and merit of philanthropy? Just give me something.

A couple of months ago, I found my original blog. And I noticed that I kept coming back to the same theme: exhaustion. Fatigue. The desire to do something but the uncertainty as to what I’m supposed to do.

But now, I feel a sense of purpose. Like the waiting pattern God settled me into for years is ending. And, as opposed to landing….I feel like the horizon is there. Summoning me.

But until I have that moment of clarity, I still steep a little in my anxiety. What to do? How to accomplish this? And do I have the energy?

Fortunately, my collaborative teaching partner is getting me a large coffee with cream and sugar.

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