Life after the MFA (5 months after graduation)

MFA ring

It has been 4 months since I graduated from San Francisco State University. The student life for me has ended but the student within me lives on in what is commonly known as the “real world.” The “real world” classrooms are not as comfortable to me as the ones I lived in for 8 years of my college/university life. But, I believe that this is a good thing. I’ve craved a challenge that I could tackle and the biggest challenge I am facing right now is one I have been hiding from within the comfort of the classroom:

The Balancing Act.

What is the Balancing Act? Well, we learn about it early on in school, when we first encounter time management. I’ve always applied time management to academics, eating, sleeping, hygiene, family and friends. It was very linear and set. The key word there was SET. Little changed once the semester started and the books were bought. Nowadays, everything and anything can change with very little if any warning.

Workplace schedules change daily, health care changes, meetings change, settings change. In the past 4 months, I’ve been to San Diego, Germany, East Bay, North Bay, South Bay and if there was a West Bay I would probably been there too but I’m up against the Ocean where I live. The constant uncertainty can be exhausting and very time consuming.

Thankfully, I believe I am starting to get the hang of it (knock on wood). I understand now what my professors at State were trying to warn me and my fellow writers. Once outside the MFA, writing feels like a luxury that one cannot afford.

Yet, as a writer I cannot afford to stop writing.

I must then return to a sense of balance; the balance between self-care, work, and writing.
Self-care is everything that one has to do to stay functional in the world. Doctors visits, health insurance, rent payments, phone payments, car payments, cleaning your room, buying new clothes, washing clothes, washing dishes, buying groceries, cooking food, talking with loved ones, taking your medications on time, watching a funny show, reading, playing videogames, etc.

Work is what you do to pay the bills. From the time you leave the house to go to work until the time you step out of your work office that time spent working. Applying for work is also work, as all us underemployed or unemployed graduates know.

Writing is what I am doing now while listening to Netflix play in the background. Writing is also reading. So reading books on writing or science or math or dragons, etc go into this category. Notice that reading is also a part of self-care. Reading for your writing life and for your life is a good practice, in my book. It lets you have room for really High literature and really low literature. The kale and the cheeseburger books, respectively.

I hope to get better at the Balancing Act. I’m in the process of learning through trial by error. With any luck, I can reach my center of balance and feel the flow of my writing increase in the next month.

Thanks for reading!

Peace, love, and pancakes!

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