Believe me or not, there are some things that I have to be grateful for that came from these past couple months. Some really good things--not cheesy 'well on the bright side' things. No, some genuinely good things have happened. And I want to share some. This is a long post, but I guess that means there is a lot to be happy about :).
First, I took a break from school. Okay, so that's kind of a bad thing. I'm obsessed with succeeding in my education, heck, I'm on first name terms with some of my professors, and leaving school a week before finals devastated me. I cried and cried and cried. But something good happened too. Because getting straight A's, over and over, at a ridiculously difficult school, wears at you. In a bad way. Especially when you're crazy, like myself, and need your A's to be 'real As', which apparently only count above 95%. What was it my boyfriend once said? "I can't believe that you're upset over a 93% Ash. Something is wrong with you."
Yes, something was wrong. I was a perfectionist, and I attached any failure or subpar performance in school to my sense of self-worth. I believed I got the grades I earned--and if I couldn't earn perfect A's, then something was wrong with me. I studied ALL the time, slept little, socialized little, just kept study-study-studying! And yes that gives me As, but what does it cost? Especially with my individual learning disabilities, I should have been more patient and proud of what I could do. But this theme of never good enough, never done enough ran in a lot of things I did, despite how caustic it was. And yet I couldn't stop pushing myself--getting sick forced me to stop and look at what was happening.
The cool thing about being forced to take a break like this, when I've been ordered by doctors to NOT worry about school, no worries about work or independent study--I've started looking at the way I motivate myself. It's taking a while, but I'm learning how to stop this constant slave-driving tactic and am being nicer to myself. It's hard to motivate myself with these 'pure reward' tactics--I'm not a girl of moderation. I've most often gotten things done because I either bullied myself or it made me too anxious to leave it undone.
But now, I am becoming patient. I don't do things because I should, out of guilt or because I'm unworthy if I don't. I do them because they make me feel good, help me, help others, or can make good things happen. I'm learning how to be patient with myself, my shortcomings, and appreciate the things I do well.
Perhaps this sounds silly or like something most people learned long before they were 22. But learning this now is much better than never, and the difference it's making in my life is incredible. I'm overcoming bad habits, working on art and writing again, and am happier. Even with all this bizarre nonsense happening, I'm happier about this. Because I had the time to take a break from my busy life and make some decisions on whether I was happy about how I was running it. I recommend anyone to take a moment and really look at how you drive yourself. Are you using the right kind of self-motivation? If not, can you change it? I'm not sure if I would have been strong enough to change this while I still needed to accomplish things (i.e. lived in the real world). But I'm confident with this break, when I head back into the heat of things, I'm going to be much healthier about my tactics.
I've gotten closer with my parents. This good thing is not entirely mine to share because it involves people besides myself, but I will say that this experience (at least on my side of things) has improved my relationship with both of my parents. Today, I'm kind of a stubborn and independent sort of person. And when I was younger, my parents were often busy with my other siblings. I've tried not to depend on their help for too many things.
Needing my parents' help so much these past couple months has forced us into close quarters and into frequent conversation about serious topics. You don't get that opportunity much as a 22 year old. It's been nice to bond with them and despite us all going crazy at times from me living at home again, I think we like each others company.
Little things don't bother me as much. Before I came home sick, I had made a goal to stop whining so much. I had used a personal system to track and reward/punish my whining levels and it made me a lot more aware of my whining. It was good timing, because it helped me be (on most days) much less whiny about my situation. This ordeal has put many things of my life into perspective and I feel like, from now on, I'm going to be more laid back in life's daily mishaps. I know a lot of things I used to think were a big deal just make me laugh now. There are still little things that get to me more than they should--I'm only human. But I've gotten much better about it overall, and I'm happy to have this new advantage.
I appreciate my mobility to new extents. I have not been able to drive for almost three months now. I can handle about one walk and one outing a day, sports or exercise are out of the question… I am almost entirely confined to indoors, to my bed. So when I get my surgery and heal up, it will be a long long time before I take for granted my freedom and mobility. The whole idea of skipping a work out because I'm 'tired'? No chance--I'll be happy like a crazy person to be moving. I know this sounds like a pretty pathetic 'good thing' but it really is. This isn't something I lost, but I have lost it temporarily, and I will cherish it to new extents when I heal up. People will be cranky and groggy to be awake or at work and I'll just be happy to be on my feet!
...I have now fallen asleep 3 times at my laptop, so I think it is time for a nap. This is the end of my post for the day :)