A sigh of relief

Yesterday I heaved a massive sigh of relief.

I have had to admit that I can't carry on the way I am - work, family, study, writing, blogger extraordinaire, International Twitter Queen...  it's all very tiring, y'know.  But even I could recognise the signs of the cracks showing.  Nothing major but just that sense of feeling of always mulling stuff over, never stopping, knowing that there is no midnight oil left to burn.

So I rang the Open University and asked if I could step away from the course I am currently studying and pick up again in a year or so.  My heart was in my mouth and I felt like such a failure.  I set myself a challenge back in 2008 to complete the degree I never had the chance to do and I gave myself between five and six years to do it.  Well, five modules in and I'm at burn-out.

What do you do?  My job is secure (not a lot of people can say that at the moment - I know how lucky I am) and my blogging/writing is becoming more renowned and is something I've always wanted to concentrate on but never had the confidence.  I am also not naive enough to think that a writing career could replace my full-time job (plus my boss seems to think that my trip to London next month is very Dick Whittington-esque - she's panicking that I won't come back).  The beauty of the Open University is that you can study at your own pace (sort of) and not feel any pressure.

That's not how I've been feeling though.  

I had an extension for the latest assignment but once that happens, you're always playing catch-up.  I have always felt a bit 'out in the cold' because I don't attend tutorials (the only ones have been in Manchester or Liverpool on a Tuesday evening), I seemed to be lugging my books to work so that I had them handy if there was a quiet afternoon on the horizon and lone study is bloody difficult when the Facebook 'support' group is full of people pontificating to all and sundry about how they score 90+ in their assignments (I'm a 70 average).  I don't feel it is a productive atmosphere for me at the moment.

So I quit.

As soon as I put the phone down after speaking to a member of the Learner Support Team - who also told me that I wouldn't be liable for any fees and my financial support credits could be rolled over for at least three more years - I almost wept with the sense of relief.  I logged onto Facebook and removed myself from the group, I moved the OU website bookmark further down the list on my computer so that it isn't always staring me in the face when I am searching for something and, at home, I pilled all my books into a box and stored them under the bed in the spare room. 

I will return to it - after all, I only have 3 modules to complete and a short course to make up the (Hons) part of my degree - but now I need to find out where my writing and blogging is going.  It's all about finding the priorities in your life, isn't it?  Life isn't supposed to be a struggle and a calm and happy headspace is important to me.