So I’ve finally finished my PhD (yay!). It was a LONG haul, and pretty exhausting.

Problem is, I basically just buried myself in it for the better part of the past decade. No social life, minimal friend interaction... basically only a voice in the back of my head yelling “just get to the end, figure everything else out later.” And now that I’ve made here it’s like “...okay, now what?”

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Which led to a period of several months where I was basically in almost a “last year of college” mindset, in the sense of way too much free time on my hands. Like, I was pretending to do spending a few hours on my dissertation each day, and then the rest of it was pretty much up to me. Exercising, staying up late playing video games with online friends, pretending like you’re going to finally get around to things like “learning how to play guitar” and other stuff on your bucket list. Followed actually graduating and another 2 months of literally nothing to do at all.

And then within the past week, something just ‘clicked’ in my brain. I dunno how to really even explain it, except that I’m extremely close to the big 3-0, and maybe something about that made me finally feel my own mortality? Like, when you’re younger, even though you know that logically, some day you will die, life almost *feels* eternal. And now that I’m very close to this [admittedly arbitrary] age, that’s changed. And now I’m feeling the pressure to figure out these life milestones “before it’s too late” or whatever.

I guess it’s due to anticipating the upcoming time constraints of my first real 9-5 grind, combined with my social isolation during my actual thesis work leaving me completely and utterly inept in that regard. I’m no social butterfly, so I’m kinda worried that I’m going to get stuck in that cycle of “come home every night and collapse on the couch in front of the TV”. Which wouldn’t be a big deal with a significant other I love, and a couple of good friends to hang out with on the weekend - like I said, I’m not a big party person, and I think I’d be okay with being a bit of a homebody. But getting to that point is... daunting, confusing, and terrifying.

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I dunno... it’s just funny how like not even a week ago I was pretty laissez-faire about life (as much as one can be nowadays, anyway), in a mindset of “I have these outstanding issues, but I’ll figure them out eventually.” Now I’ve spent the past several days in a state of low-grade panic with this feeling of tightness in my chest, finally passing out at like 9 at night when I can finally get my mind off it, and sleeping for like 12 hours, too disheveled and scatterbrained to make any meaningful progress towards these goals.

It’s amazing how the brain has the ability to completely fuck itself over.