July — Aug 2016, and on entering College.
July and August flew by really quickly. While I crushed some of my goals in July such as obtaining my Google Analytics cert (!) and running 8km (!!), August was pretty unstructured and it left me feeling a tinge of helplessness, wondering where to go from here. Here are some thoughts that happened to cross my mind these few days.
1. Learning how to take a break
Even before school started, I was really busy taking part in all the freshmen activities such as school camps. I told myself that it would be like a break from the gym. But the truth was, I simply didn’t work out for about 2–3 days, and it wasn’t enough for my body to completely recover. I think the same concept applies for the mind and spirit as well. Even when I wasn’t doing work or studying, I was busy interacting with other people or volunteering for events. I didn’t give ample time to spend with the most important person — MYSELF. I’m still figuring out what’s the best way to go about having a break (both a gym and work break) and planning for one ASAP at the start of September, to recollect my thoughts. But at least now I recognise that having proper breaks are good. Proper breaks are human. Proper breaks help one to recover. Proper breaks allow you to come back stronger and fight on.
2. The importance of writing
I used to have a daily habit of writing. But I stopped because I felt stressed. Not only was I keeping up with my personal writing (aka venting, reflection and thoughts about life), but I was also writing web content and writing for other people / publications. You start focusing a lot on metrics like SEO scores, virality of content and if anyone even bothers reading your articles — because that’s your success metric.
Now that I entered college, I believe personal writing is more valuable than ever. It gives me an avenue to express my thoughts and feelings, in a way better and more concise that I verbally communicate.
Sometimes, I don’t want any opinions or any advice. I simply want a place to lay my thoughts to rest and get on with the day. And 10 minutes of free writing is all I need.
3. You are your own best friend
I’ve been Snapchatting a lot recently. And I noticed that sometimes, my friends post a dark empty background, with text on it. The text usually goes along the lines of, “It gets better”. Or some message to encourage themselves. Usually, when I see these messages, I’ll send a hug and heart emoji stating, “I’M HERE FOR YOU”. It feels nice to know that someone cares, even when you don’t necessarily want to share your problems with them.
Lately I’ve sunk myself into that habit of writing self-encouraging messages on Snapchat too because let’s face it — life isn’t rainbows and unicorns all the time. I needed somewhere to vent and Snapchat happened to be there.
But I realised that I’m doing so mainly because I want someone to care. I want someone to read my Snaps and notice that I’m feeling down. In that aspect, it’s a lot like posting Facebook statuses with a sad face: you want someone to ask what’s wrong, you want someone to listen, acknowledge it and tell it to your face that having these feelings isn’t the end of the world, that it’s normal and again, all part of being human.
But the saddest part of Snapchat is its Stories feature that I recently discovered a few days ago — it allows you to see who viewed your snaps. Because I could see many friends viewing my sad, dark snaps, but no one replied. It’s so ironic that a technological tool made to bring friends closer together and build interpersonal relationships even when you’re far apart can make you feel more alone than ever.
And that’s why I’m starting to write again, everyday. Somehow, when I write on Medium, I don’t have the expectations that someone has to acknowledge that they’ve read what I wrote. And because I’m simply writing for myself and only myself, I don’t measure my writing by any sort of pre-existing ‘success metric’. Nor do I actually proof-read my work and shizz like that.
To wrap up, it all goes back to the point about regular breaks and keeping healthy being important, because only you can support yourself all the way. Hopefully September will be better :)