I thought I was going to pass it. I thought, this time, I was going to beat it.
I haven’t felt like I am overwhelmed or had too much. I’ve had good control and organization in my life, and I have done a nice job setting aside time for self-care (if you want to watch my awkward but fun Periscope video for a scholarship competition, my topic was Work/Life Balance Doesn’t Exist: Self-Care as an #SAGrad).
But sometimes life starts kicking your butt, and you can’t control it, and now that’s when I start getting frustrated. I recognize that I’m not feeling lost or trapped or like I’m sinking… life is just HARD and sometimes you just CAN’T.
That’s where I am right now.
It’s mid semester. I thought I was going to avoid the mid-semester crisis. Well, mine is here… Sort of.
If you follow my blog or follow me on Twitter, you have probably noticed that I not only haven’t blogged in a month, but I’m really not engaging as much on Twitter since school really kicked in. I knew that this school year would have a lot of responsibilities, with a harder course load and more work, and I was prepared for that. I had a great grip on my life and my responsibilities and my schedule, but I forgot one factor: I can’t control when life just “happens”.
This week was sure to remind me that life kicks in, and not only did I forget to factor that in, but it’s not something I can control or predict. Monday night I got a call regarding a family emergency. Although I want to share what happened because I think it expresses the spontaneity of my frustration, it’s not my story to share or my vulnerability to open, so I’ll have to remain vague. I will share that it definitely shook me up, made me want to hold my loved ones a little tighter, and kept me up until 2:30am crying and realizing that life did a good job of making me appreciate when I started getting bratty and forgetting how lucky I am.
When life starts getting extra heavy, it is a good excuse to refocus on yourself.
For me, I finally picked up a few things I have pushed to the back burner just a *few* too many times. Like tonight: I poured myself a glass of wine, lit a candle, and sat in bed and worked on projects I’ve wanted to do but have been distracted (by school work) to do. I’ve been wanting to blog recently, but felt like I haven’t had much to say or share. This hesitancy was pouring over into another blog I was supposed to write– and the longer I put it off, the more discouraged I became. Monday I was highly reconsidering my fit and whether I should be blogging for them, but then I got the call and my whole week got flipped. During the week I kept going back and forth between “just get it done” and “don’t do it if you don’t want to.” Then I realized what the real battle was: is writing in their way truly not my style, or was I just uncomfortable and therefore scared of failure? I stepped out of my comfort zone and finished the blog. I was already feeling better and began processing better, which encouraged me to write out my thoughts here.
I’m feeling better with every word I type.
Another way I like to refocus on myself during these times is looking forward to the weekends. Especially with extra challenging courses this semester *cough LAW cough* and always staying busy in the office since we are short a staff member (although I find this more exciting and encouraging than draining), sometimes I find myself using the weekend as my reward to getting through the week successfully.
I’m not wishing away my weeks, though.
Living weekend to weekend isn’t bad. It’s okay to have short term goals and deadlines. You can look forward to the weekend… but need to get worried when you stop enjoying the week as well.
I enjoy my week, but I enjoy using my weekends as a gift to myself for kicking butt during the week. I use my weekends to relax, recharge, refocus, and prepare for another bursting week. Whether I go out of town to see my family, stay in town for a football game, or am lucky to have my boyfriend drive into town to visit, my weekends are what keep me energized throughout the week. I know that each weekend has a new adventure. My week reminds me of how important my weekends are, and my weekends remind me why I love what I do during the week. Think of it as the circle of life, but within seven days.
I am going to share a pet peeve with you, which is also a fear of mine: I have a hard time sharing with Student Affairs colleagues that I feel myself breaking. Sometimes, despite our emphasis on care, we can often be judgmental and unconcerned for our own colleagues. While that’s a different can of worms, it is still a personal issue that I am trying to work through. An example of this fear is from a conversation I recently had: Someone looked at my schedule (which is full of meetings and one-on-ones) and said “that just seems unnecessary…”
Uhm, no. It’s not.
When you’re in programming and you advise a 17-member executive board that works with almost 100 other students to plan events in a building with 126,000 new square feet and 90,000 renovated square feet for 52,000 students with programming at least 5 days a week… meetings with those students are necessary. Yes, they’re weekly. And yes, trust me, they’re all needed.
I’m not overworked. I’m not overcommitted. I don’t have too much on my plate. Please don’t tell me to do less or say I need to focus on my job or my school work more. My work load is fine. It’s the fact that life is unpredictable and sometimes life just happens, and sometimes it kicks you in the butt. But you know what? It’s not about when life kicks you in the butt– it’s about what happens when it does. And this is where I’m noticing such a big difference in myself, and that makes me proud.
I was listening to one of my favorite songs tonight (that I’ve shared on here before): 7 Years by Lukas Graham. There is one line of the lyrics that I used as my quote of the day, which stated, “I only see my goals, I don’t believe in failure.”Mmm… still good.
I usually immediately tune out for a moment while I fangirl over my one line, but tonight, the next line really caught my attention.
“…‘Cause I know the smallest voices, they can make it major.”
And that’s when it hit me: life may kick me down and kick my butt, and sometimes bad things happen and you get scared and you just need to cry. BUT– your perspective of how you handle the situations and how you talk yourself through it is up to you. When I feel life starting to really pull me down, in the past I would have thought:
I can’t do this anymore.
Why am I even here?
I don’t even know what to do.
Why did I think I would be able to do this all?
Oh look Amanda, another breakdown, guess you weren’t as great as you thought.
And. That’s. All. Crap.
This week, when I felt life starting to really pull me down, I realized that these were my thoughts:
It’s taking me a long time to process this.
This really scared me.
What can I do to make this easier/better for myself?
What do I need to do for me?
Folks, if that isn’t proof of growth and development (and some Student Affairs), then I’m not sure what is.
Life is going to pull you down or throw you for a loop sometimes. It doesn’t matter if you have a lot on your plate or not– sometimes life is just hard. You don’t need to know what you could have done to prevent it, because usually you couldn’t have done anything. Instead, you need to know how you handle it.
I don’t always know how I’m going to handle life, but I’m getting better. I’m still learning. I’m still growing. But mainly: I’m still trying.
Tonight’s blog was more of a reflective tool for myself. So if you read through it all, thank you. I try to pride on being real and raw, and sometimes life isn’t glamorous. This week was one of those weeks.
quote of the day: “Remember, you can’t reach what’s in front of you until you let go of what’s behind you.”