I was about to sign us up for a cycling sportive on the day before my birthday in August. I thought 'hooray!' at the opportunity to spend the last day of my 25th year cycling gleefully around Yorkshire, followed by a meal in our favourite restaurant with one of their awesomely huge servings of STP and ice cream in lieu of a birthday cake. Then I remembered the other commitments that I've got going on between now and October. Two marathons (I signed up for the Yorkshire Marathon at 7am on the morning it opened, oops), a potential month spent doing research in Stockholm, a whole month away at conferences, putting on a conference at the department in York, taking workshops for the Strange Bedfellows programme, confirmation onto my PhD programme and the viva voce that will follow, doing a PhD, and organising my very own wedding.
I tried to rationalise all of this, the one step at a time sort of pep talk, but anyone who has planned a wedding or done a PhD or trained for a marathon will know that it doesn't work like that; it is all-consuming, almost an obsession (in my case, definitely an obsession), and it requires 100% of yourself to see it through. Forgetting the travelling, the conference, the workshops and the confirmation, that only leaves 33% of me to focus on each of these tasks; I got stuck on how I could possibly be wholehearted in my attempts at these things with only my one heart, and then I started to feel sick and overwhelmed and utterly stressed out, which is never a productive state to be in.