It’s been a while since I last wrote. My thoughts and feelings have been all over the place and I was a bit (extremely) overwhelmed by – well, everything. Motivating myself to do anything – homework, eating healthy, working out – has been difficult the last two weeks, but I am trying my hardest to get back on track. I have let myself go and made some very bad decisions but it is time to get my act together again. It is time for my October goals.
In terms of goals, September went relatively well: I make my bed most days, tidy my room more often, watch a lot less series, watch the news and have a nice elaborate breakfast most Sundays. What I want to work on is using my time more wisely – those 15 minutes here and half an hour there that I now spend going through my Facebook and Instagram feeds. And on that note, I want to spend less time on my phone, especially in the evenings. Due to stress, I have been having trouble sleeping again and I am sure that having my eyes glued to the screen of my phone before bed does not benefit me in any way.
As I planned in August, I want to make October my month of mindfulness. Especially in stressful times I find it helps to be more aware of the world around me, stay present and to put things in perspective. I am starting a mindfulness course at the end of the month, but leading up to it I want to try and create a calmer mind. There are a few ways of achieving this: through yoga and meditation, through walks (to collect my thoughts) and through writing. I want to try and turn off my phone an hour before bed, do some relaxation yoga (I really like Yoga with Adriene’s YouTube videos) and read for a bit. I hope that by doing this, I can eliminate at least part of the whirlwind that is racing through my head. Going for walks is something that I did more often in August but have since let go – but it is time to get back into that habit. Getting some fresh air and appreciating what is around me is such a big help when my mind is, for lack of a better word, exploding. And lastly, writing. All the required creative writing for university as well as the self-imposed required writing in my free time has caused quite a few near panic attacks and occasions where my mind is completely and wholly blank. The dreaded Empty Page in front of me. However, I know that it is good to get things out of your system by writing about them, and that is one of the reasons for creating this blog – collecting my thoughts and writing more.
For university I had to write a poetic sequence and I decided to write about my time living in England. Although overall I loved the experience and would do it all over again, there were some moments that I still find very hard to think or talk about. It’s those moments that I wanted to write about – but as it turned out, even that was hard. The poetry I created was mostly forced – here and there some true and heartfelt sentences, but those lost their value as I surrounded them with filler sentences, just to complete the metre and rhyme scheme. My lecturer called me in and alerted me to this. Most of the time I am very bad with feedback and criticism, but I knew exactly what he was talking about. I was not happy with the poetry but handed it in because I had to – but it did not feel true. Because living in England was, in some ways, such a painful and tear-evoking experience for me, I find it easier to write about it in a detached, almost clinical way. On the verge of giving up on writing altogether, my lecturer helped me, gave me advice and motivated me not to give up. As a result, on Saturday evening I placed myself on a slightly uncomfortable chair in front of my computer for a few hours and wrote what I felt. All the while crying, of course. I have not had feedback on this poem yet (I admit I am dreading it) but getting part of the feelings and emotions out has been good – I have avoided writing about the experience for nearly 5 years and this was a good first step. Kudos to my teacher. When I feel as if I am not good enough to do something, or not as good at something as the people around me, I block. Where others feel the need to prove that they can, I have the tendency to quit. Abort the mission. Not in any way a good quality, but I am trying to work on it. I told my teacher about the pressure I felt, having to write all the time and hand it in for feedback, but his words motivated me to keep going. Not that I have any other choice – it is a compulsory course – but at least the will to write is returning. Slowly but surely, but returning nonetheless.
As for the rest of my October goals, I have a few in mind. I want to look up and see what is around me. I want to buy a disposable camara to capture moments (instead of taking twenty identical shots and spending 10 minutes to get the perfect picture). I want to gossip less – not that I do that exceedingly much, but as most people, I do it and that is something I want to change. In a way, this also goes for positive remarks – last week I found myself saying to one of my friends about a mutual friend “Oh hey, she looks nice!” and complimented her on her outfit. And then I thought, ‘why don’t I say this to her?’, so I did. I want to turn situations around – as Gretchen Rubin called it, make the positive argument. She explains, “People are very skillful at arguing a particular case … however – and this is the useful point – a person can often make the very opposite argument just as easily. If I tell myself, “I’m a shy person,” I marshal examples of my shyness; if I tell myself, “I’m an outgoing person,” I remember times when I was outgoing” (74). I tend to look at things in a more negative way, but throughout October I am going to try and make the positive argument. I also want to lower my expectations – having expectations that are (often too) high, for me only lead to disappointment. I want to just take things as they come. I want to take life as it comes.