Life since October has been a potpourri of different kinds of intense stress. I thought that the uncertainty of finding a new supervisor over the summer was intense, but it turns out the stakes of a PhD (succeed or fail) are pretty low and the risks involved are mostly ego- and finance-related.
By contrast, uncertainty about having a stable place to live permeates all elements of life, like static hiss behind music. It’s worse when accompanied by feelings of powerlessness.
Worse by far is stress from friends in serious trouble. The feeling of responsibility has a different tone from efforts to resolve large-scale economic and political problems: the feeling is that critical outcomes can turn in the span of hours to weeks depending on what you do or do not do. Furthermore, decision-making is undertaken under overlapping types of uncertainty, from not knowing what’s really going on from day to day and hour to hour to never being sure if any action will have a helpful or a deleterious effect.
I have certainly been earning my new proliferation of grey hairs.