The waiting is what’s awful. Waiting for someone else to make a decision that could potentially drastically change the course of my life. And I have no control. I’m just sitting here waiting, pretending like it’s not on my mind.
I’m expecting and hoping to receive a decision from the University of Amsterdam in March. Judging by how quickly January has gone by, the time may pass in a painless way. But it feels so far away. So freakin’ far. Far enough for me to imagine I may crumble into an anxiety dust ball (whatever that may be) before March arrives. No, I’m overstating it. But it is a crappy feeling. For so long the application was within my control. I may have procrastinated and wasted tons of time. But that was my choice. Now, I have no idea how long it’s going to take or what’s happening over there during this waiting period.
Once I dumped all of it into the mailbox, I turned over my fate. Nothing I do now can have any impact on the decision. There’s no interview, no follow-up questions. It’s similar to the feelings in high school when waiting for the letter in response to my early decision application (I also fell in love with one school in that case) and college when waiting for decisions from law schools. But there are two big differences this time around: first, I’m not going from school to more school. It felt like I was entitled to more school the first two times. But now I’m the old lady in the mix, walking away from a job and trying to re-enter an entirely different world. Way more anxious this time. And second, I’m not surrounded by other people in the same situation. It’s not the only thing being discussed in the cafeteria or by the campus mailboxes. I’m going to an office with a bunch of grown folks who aren’t considering anything related to school, at least not publicly. There aren’t very many people to commiserate with. And there’s something comforting about commiseration, I think.
Fortunately, I was already a nail-biter. So I haven’t had to acquire any new bad habits as a result of this. And honestly, my nails should only begin to pray for a respite once I’m on the plane headed to the Netherlands.
So whether it’s functional, relaxing, or simply a distraction, I’ve been doing regular creative visualizations. I visualize myself opening my mailbox to find an envelope from the University (surprisingly, it’s not a large envelope). I feel my heart in my stomach and I’m unable to open it until I get to my apartment. I take off my coat (I imagine it’s still pretty chilly) and shoes, pour a glass of juice, and sit on the couch with my glass and envelope. Only a sudden urgency gets me to finally open the envelope. The letter greets me with a “Dear” and goes right into a “Congratulations.” I dance around, spill my juice, and call my mom.