last week my husband said “you’ll be done your phd before you’re thirty five” and it stopped me in my tracks for a minute. because i started down the slippery slope of ‘that’s only four years from now and what if i am not done’ and then i stopped myself. because what if i am not done? okay. so what? it’s my timeline. my deadline. my progress. my journey. my hurdles. my undertaking. no one is holding a clock or a loaded gun to my head. except maybe sometimes i load the pressure on. because deep down the truth is; taking on a full doctoral program while teaching a full load while commuting an hour and trying to be all the things i want to be and well i don’t have to tell you that i bit more than i could chew. so here we are. but the pressure; nah. that’s not real. there isn’t pressure. at least not from other people. it’s all in our heads. it’s superficial. it’s us comparing ourselves to the world around us. stacking ourselves next to strangers. listening for the ticks of a clock that is not even moving. because the thing about pressure is that we weigh ourselves down. we pull ourselves underwater, we consume ourselves with being the best, the first, the queens, the kings, the richest, the most successful, the fastest. and not a damn person is actually looking. no one is timing you. no one cares if it takes you one year or eight. well no one, except you. and the reason you care is because you think someone else is judging you or pressuring you. and it’s all in our heads. it’s not about being fast. or rich. or the best. it’s about you. whatever it is you’re doing, you’re doing it for yourself {or at least i hope you are because if you’re not, please be selfish and do what you wanna do}. but yes, you’re doing it for yourself, not other people; so it doesn’t matter if you finish first or last or best or worst or least or greatest. the only person in it is you. so when my husband said “before thirty five”, it didn’t make me mad or make me feel inferior. it made me stop. and say out loud to whoever the hell wants to listen- that this is mine. right now, it’s a perfect hell and that’s on me. sometimes it’s calm and refreshing. sometimes it’s suffocating and demeaning. but it’s mine. this path or journey or whatever you wanna call it.

and one day, it’ll be over. and i will have my walk of fame and my red carpet moment and then, i will have to unblock karen’s phone number at the student loan office and i won’t have any papers to write or an office consumed by literature reviews. and maybe i will be more aware by then. aware of the fact that anytime i feel pressured, it’s okay to take a step back and side eye the hell out of it because it’s not there. it’s not real. the weight isn’t yours to be burdened with. you are unstoppable. you are killing it. whether it’s day one, day twelve, day forty. day one hundred. day five thousand. year fifteen. decade two. century five. don’t care. killing it. whatever you’re doing. finding a man. going to school. re-enrolling in school. dumping a man. moving to a new city. starting over. quitting your job. starting a new job. trying to have a baby. having a baby. having another baby. not having a baby. getting an apartment. or a house. or moving back in with your folks. or reevaluating a decision or a mistake. whatever it is. it’s yours. not the world’s. any pressure you feel to move faster or finish sooner or do it now or wait til later or say yes; that’s you. you control your fate. you control your journey. you say when and why and how and for how long. you get to decide when to start or stop or take a break or not fucking do it at all. so maybe you won’t be done by the time you are thirty five. and that’s okay. because one day, you’ll be done. and that’s the show stopper you’ll be waiting for.

the pressure is off baby. so whatcha gonna do now? xo.

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