So what now?



In tarot, the Hanged Man represents being stuck between two points. This is taken as being at a physical or mental crossroads and with this being the season of graduations and hopefulness, I find that many people are at this state.

I’ve been living in this state for a while. Recently, I successfully passed my preliminary examination, which will allow me to proceed with my PhD and reach my dissertation. In graduate school, you are trained and primed to teach the preliminary exam. This is all that you work on, your course work is what preps you for this. Your outside reading preps you for this. Your advisor preps you for this.

And only this.

I passed.

Now what?

As I transition to this new state of my academic career, I wonder what to do now because for the first time? I don’t have a plan. For reasons I won’t get into right now, I’ve been wanting to leave the PhD program. I’ve been wanting to be a PhDropout for a while, but I stayed with it. Whether that was a good decision or not has yet to be seen, but for the time being I want to put a bandage over this wounded feeling.

So these are the self-care techniques I’ve been using.

  1. Give yourself a break. You’ve worked hard for this. You’ve worked hard to reach this milestone, whether it be a graduation, a promotion, a finished marathon, or even finishing a semester. Give yourself a little time to yourself and do what you want. Have a video game that you wanted to play? Pop it in. Netflix marathon? Run it until it asks if you’re still alive. Love wine? Pop the cork! Love sex? Well…you get the picture.
  2. Head outside. Chances are you’ve been indoors for quite some time trying to get shit on track. Go back outside and explore where you live. If you moved to your current city for grad school/work, give it a shot. See where the locals go. See where the locals don’t go. I recently started hitting up bars and restaurants in the city that were always recommended to me, but were a bit of a drive away. Going for a long walk helped. Walking down to the corner store and talking to the shopkeep helped. It helped to know that I wasn’t alone anymore.
  3. Re-evaluate and Re-invest in relationships. Do you have friends you haven’t seen in a while? Family? Give them a call. I talked to my mom and sister for about half an hour every other day since passing my preliminary exam. I missed out on a lot. It made me see that they do support me (by not guilting me) but also made me see that I have my own life now. This also gave me the time to look at the friends and people around me. I started to defriend people off of social media and stopped spending time with people who were toxic, but I didn’t have the strength, time nor capability to deal with them before. It’s as simple as clicking a button in some cases.
  4. Get back to it. The celebration is over. Time to get back to what you want to do.


This is just a short entry on what I’ve done. I’m trying not to look too far into the future and the job market (it will depress and freak me out), but I am trying to get back to a normal resemblance of life. What about you? What self-care and recharge methods do you use?



One thought on “So what now?

  1. Great post.

    I myself feel that when anxiety, stresses, and fear rolls in on my mind I tend to panic at times. Usually the best method for reducing this or eliminating it entirely is meditation. In meditating I can actually release the anxiety I am holding on to… whether that be about the future, the past, or the present. Meditation calms my mind, and in doing so, it brings back to the Here & Now.

    I find that as long as my mind is caught up in worries or stresses over the past or the future I cannot find my inner-peace. Not to mention the hard fact that if a person continually stresses and plans out the future in hopes of having a better one… they will always act on this habit and will never actually be in the Here & Now, therefore never actually taking part in the future they had planned out when it actually arrives.

    Anxiety always stems from fear, as do the majority of negative emotions that take place in the human mind. Something I meditate on at times, is the the exact anxiety I am panicking about, in order to find the root cause of its reign over my mind. I do the following exercise in all occurrences:

    Let the example be :

    “Why does money stress me out?” –Because I do not have enough/ won’t be able to procure enough.

    “Why does not having enough money cause me stress?” –Because without enough money I will not be able to do the things I want to do.

    “Why does not doing the things I want to do fill me such anxiety?” –Because if I cannot do the things I want to do I will not be happy.

    “Why does my happiness rely on do the things I want to do?” –Because if I cannot do the things I want to do, I will not be in control of my own life.

    “Why does loss of control over my own life stress me in such ways?” –Because without complete control over my life I get worried about what will happen in my future, near and far.

    “Why do the events of a future that is not even here worry me so?” –Because their reality is unknown to me and this causes me anxiety.

    “Why does the unknown cause me anxiety?” –Because that which is not known, in accordance to my own life, is worrying.

    “Why does the unknown worry me so?” –Because I am afraid of what might happen, because I do not know for sure what will happen.

    “Why am I afraid of the possibilities of the future, AKA, the unknown?” –Because I am afraid that my life will not go the way I want it to.

    “Why am afraid of my life turning out in a different way than how I want it to?” –Because change makes me stress out.

    “Why is change a stressor to me?” –Because with it comes the unknown, and with the unknown comes loss of control. And I am afraid of losing control over my own life, because I am afraid of what the unknown possibilities of my own life might turn out to be.

    “So why does money really stress me out?” –Fear of the unknown. Fear of change. Fear of loss in control/power.

    Fear is the root cause to all anxiety.

    If we can find out what we are afraid of that is causing our anxieties, we can begin to move forward and face this fear at last.

    In this case the unknown consists of everything in the Universe that exists outside of ourselves… we must face it or be doomed to a life of a recluse.

    Change is a constant; one of the only constants in the World. It never ceases and will never cease to be. It is a part of everything, for everything is constantly changing. To fear change is to fear all… even ourselves. If we do not face this fear of change, we will find ourselves in an endless struggle that we will never have any hope of winning.

    And lastly, control and power are petty things to stress over. We may feel safe and secure when we feel in power or in control, but this is always an illusion. No one person is ever in control of anything besides his own actions. To be in control of anything more is blasphemous.

    Realization of the hard fact that nothing lasts helps greatly in reducing fear. For in this fact we realize that everything comes to an end. And nothingness is the truth that lasts. When we become aware that we living out our lives and where they will go they will go no matter. What the outcome of any situation is will be as it will be. We have no purpose other than the purpose of our own compassionate being. Once we stop attempting to manipulate life to work for us, and begin to work for the life that the Universe provides us we will begin to feel true happiness. For as long as we live the life we were meant to live, which will always happen, there is nothing to fear or hope for. Our own being simply is. The Universe’s great being simply is. Change simply is. The only real thing we can control is the choices we make in our being. These things will decide how our living turns out. But it is not for us to know. Surrender is the key to accepting the Isness that is ingrained in all Life. Let the Universe guide you. For if you live for the Universe and all it contains, the Universe will provide for you.

    I apologize for the long comment, but when I get to writing I find it difficult to stop without reaching an end of sorts. I think I will post about this now; thank you for the inspiration.


    Tyler Jaworski

    P.S.– You can find this post and other writings like it on my main blog if you or anyone else is interested. The link is below:

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