As I’ve mentioned before, I had 12 years straight perfect attendance, grades 1-12 (I did stay home several times in kindergarten. Then I realized that given the choice between going to school, sick, or staying home with The Dad, I’d rather go to school). While I certainly did my share of going to school with bad colds, I managed to save the worse stuff, like the flu, for weekends and vacations.

In college, law school, and grad school, I can honestly say I never took a sick day. I certainly cut class, but they were all mental health days, as opposed to physical health days. Even then, my body saved the bad stuff for a more convenient time.

I have a point here. Kinda. I’m getting there…I think…

I kinda take the same approach to dealing with stress, at last on a physical level. I deal with stress just fine. Then there’s a significant build-up in a very short period of time  just before all the stressful stuff is over. Then just after, I completely break down. Specifically, I recall the end of my 1L year in law school. I was trying to finish my final appellate brief for research & writing. I was having a horrible time with it, for many reasons, and then I started coming down with something and gave myself a canker sore. I remember getting back to school/my apartment (oh, my motherboard had also fried and it was Easter, so the law library had been closed, so I’d been forced to go to my parents’ to use their computer) and turning in my brief, going back to my apartment after class, taking a shower, lying down on my bed in my robe and not waking up until 5 hours later (I’m not a napper). Or the end of my 2L year, after turning in my final projects and absolutely sobbing on the walk back to my apartment.

Where am I going with this…okay. I think I’m coming down with something and I have no idea why or how.  I’ve been exhausted, I think I have a slight fever, and my shoulders/upper back are so tense/painful that I actually broke down last night and used my huge-ass body pillow (for feng shui reasons, I don’t usually have it in bed). And I most probably will call tomorrow and make a massage appointment (W-2 came on Friday, taxes have already been filed; refunds were much greater than I was expecting – while the majority will be going to bills/savings, I am using a little bit for a few tiny splurges).

Now if I am getting sick…I don’t really see how or why. I’m not exactly out amongst the masses enough to catch any germs. And considering that my shoulder/upper back pain is not the type I’d associate with the flu but it is a typical stress reaction for me, I’m thinking physical manifestation of stress.

(Yes, I did go to yoga both Friday night and yesterday evening, for the first time since Halloween. But yoga doesn’t usually leave me feeling like this.)

Now this is what I’m trying to figure out…in the past, my worst stress reactions always happened right around the time the stress was ending. But in all of those scenarios, I was also consciously aware that there really was an ending coming (if it hadn’t happened already), a specific deadline.

I have no projects with deadlines. No classes, no papers to write, no evil professors. But needless to say, this broke/unemployed/turning 33/single/lonely/apparently unwanted in every way stuff is pretty damn stressful. And it’s also open-ended (well, except for the ‘turning 33’ part. But you get the point).

Am I subconsciously aware of a tide turning in my favor? Or is it just that my stress level is reaching critical mass and I’ll continue going through life like the Flying Dutchman (Dutchwoman? Dutchperson?).

(Yes, a throwaway reference in Kitchen Confidential led me to research the Flying Dutchman. Which then led me to reading plot summaries for the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Which pissed me off because PotC: Dead Man’s Chest was $8.50 and three and a half hours of my life that I’m never getting back, and I’m pretty sure it was the source of my fear of the Kraken/anything tentacled.)