“It didn’t work out” and Other Unacceptable Truths

I was drowning in an ocean of assignments and I saw myself sink in even when I had a perfectly fine schedule made for myself, but I guess I made it through because this was not the first time I saw myself rolling in the deep.

If you’re someone who has read my previous blog, you already know that March was not necessarily a pleasurable experience for me. It was also not the first time I tried something, to realize it was all in vain. My journals are filled with schedules, to-do lists, books to read, hobbies to perfect. The first time I tried perfecting my life, with an “organized schedule,” I did it impeccably… for the first 3 days (that was when I got tired of listening to the same motivational playlist on Spotify and could not find another one for myself). Although my quest for the best planner did not stop even after I failed miserably at keeping up every day with the tasks.

As someone who has only ever watched people stress over the importance of sticking to a schedule. I always made sure that I’d blame myself for not doing all of the tasks I assigned myself to do. I knew I wanted to be organized, disciplined too, but- how?

If you’re looking for a “glow-up” story in this blog, let me burst that bubble right here, there isn’t one. I do not “grow” in this story (visibly), thanks to Shivani Manohar, I know that, “Progress that isn’t linear or regular or visible is still valid”.

It took me years to realize a relatively simple truth- start slow and small. Bombarding myself with 8 tasks in a day right at the beginning, was really counterproductive and sure it’s funny NOW that I even tried doing that, but who is going to tell that to my past self who thought I was the child of Amy Santiago, the superhuman? (I am, okay?) But that epiphany came and along with it, several roads “under construction”, which eventually (I hope) lead to my much-awaited destination. If I am being honest with you, I am still on that road. 

I found out that, I could not start by committing 100% to a plan I just made with mentally taxing tasks and almost no breaks. I tried lowering it down to 50% only to figure out that if I am studying 3 hours a day, I cannot even if I wanted to leap to 6 hours in a day. I had to find something doable though, I had to make myself “do” tasks, not doing was never an option for me. So, I decided to increase the time I associated with study hours by 10%. 10%, this number did not seem scary, it did not seem to burden me, it seemed like something I could do. Just 10%? Yeah, sure.

I started by studying for 3 hours and 30 minutes for the first three days, I increased this time by 10% every three days. Soon (if you are good at math, you would have written this particular paragraph better than I did), I found myself studying 6 hours a day (Pomodoro of course). This growth was tangible, it made me happy. It also made me break free from the unrealistic standards I had set for myself.

That is not to say that I tick off every task on my to-do list, every day. Somedays, I still feel bad that I am trying something out and it is not working out the way I want it to, but hey! This crossroad where I am right now is much better than where I was last year around this time. It might not look like I am the winner, but this failure still allows me to feel a little proud of myself, knowing that it took a lot to even reach here. Somedays, I do indeed check all the boxes on my lists and I treat myself with a book on such days or ice cream, or even just smiling at myself knowing I made it. The days I don’t check all the boxes, I promise myself to come back stronger (while maintaining my mental health) and try it out again.

Some of this strength really comes from that one time one of my friends, Rohan told me, “Starting over is sometimes awesome”. It has always stuck around since then and helped me dislike myself a little less every time my essays would not turn out to be the way I wanted. 

If you’re someone who has been struggling lately with the same issues, just know you are not alone. Sometimes, things do not work out as the blueprint we made and it makes us feel defeated when we really are not. Growth, if not tangible is never acknowledged and that- that was my folly.