Rambling About Stress, Student Debt, and The New Year

Well, it’s the new year. Officially and completely. Both as I’m writing this and as it goes up. I am definitely not past writing the wrong year, yet. I rarely write the year on anything other than journal entries and I’ve been too busy to spend time sitting around journaling. Which isn’t technically true, I suppose, since I had time for other sitting around. I haven’t chosen to spend time journaling yet, is more accurate. And my blog schedule is a bit off kilter since I took a few days off for the holidays and this past work week is unusual, so I will be low on energy and might miss a few more days. In truth, I have no idea when this will go up, since I’m not sure how many blog posts I’ll get done and how I’ll sort them all out. Or what days I might decide to skip.

This is the first thing I’ve written other than my (almost) daily haiku this year, so forgive me if its a bit scattered and directionless, for I am scattered and currently directionless as I write this. All of my energy has gone toward seeing loved ones, visiting good friends, helping someone with their new house as much as my limited time allows, and trying to mentally prepare myself for a stressful and exhausting first work week of the new year. Once that is over, once I have the time and energy to look at the future again, I will get myself some direction, collect my scattered mind, and launch myself more firmly into 2022.

Right now, though, it still feels like last year. Since this work thing is something I’ve spent the last four weeks preparing for in one way or another, it feels almost like 2021 still has a hold on me. The work stuff starts on the 4th, a few days before this will go up and the day after this is being written, so it feels like the final traces of 2021 fading away. Like when a celebrity passes away at the start of the new year rather than the end of the old year (RIP Betty White), it feels like the past year has decided to hold on as long as it can. Throw in the continued pandemic, the never-ending political issues of my country of birth, and it really does feel like the years just keep repeating themselves.

I feel like this year has some kind of potential, but it’s hard to put a spin on it. Anticipation can be good or bad, depending on what you know ahead of time, and right now it just feels neutral. Like anything could happen. Because anything COULD happen. My expectations for what a new year might bring are gone and all that remains is a patient desire to see what may come. I would love some good stuff, because it feels like a while since anything good happened without something bad happening immediately after it (like how there was something stressful and unpleasant that happened at the same time I took every single vacation this past year). But good stuff doesn’t just happen, generally speaking. You need to create opportunities for it.

Which feels a bit pessismistic to say since it implies that bad stuff does just happen, but bad stuff does just happen and the good stuff people try to do to counter it (economically, politically, socially, etc) never seems to go far enough. Like the CDC recommending 5-day quarrantines now because the US needs people to keep working more than it wants to protect its populace. Or like the continuous extension of student loan deferrals just as the current deferrals are about to expire. Just cancel the fucking debt already, this nearly two-years of deferrals proves nothing bad would happen if that debt was just erased. Most of my debt is private loans instead of federal loans, so it won’t have a huge impact on me, but every little bit helps, you know? And there are tons of people whose lives will be drastically altered for the better by forgiving federal student debt, so there’s no loss here except by the companies who make their fortunes off adjudicating, “managing,” and collecting on those debts, but fuck those companies.

If I could ask for anything to happen this year, it would be that. Just the simple act of federal student debt forgiveness would be a wieght off my mind because I wouldn’t have to continuously wonder what I’m going to do when it comes back if I haven’t managed to get my financial stability back together by then. It’s a problem for later, of course, so I’m not actively thinking about it right now, but the thought is sitting there in my mind, waiting for attention, and I’d love for it to go away.

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