Sunday 24 April 2016

You are stronger than you think

I feel like I just emerged from a long, dark tunnel, blinking in the sudden brightness. 
The last ten days were - well, it's hard to put into words. Busy, sad, overwhelming, emotional, stressful, surprising, with good bits and love and heartbreak. It was a lot.

There was a reunion with a loved one I had lost touch with - and a death of another beloved family member just a few hours later.

There was work drama, but also beautiful heart-to-hearts and the feeling that "omg, this person gets me! - is this the beginning of a beautiful friendship?". (Best.feeling.EVER.)

There was a little collaboration that made me proud.

There was breathtakingly gorgeous weather that made everybody feel like we live in the south of France. 

There were lots of dishes, and splatters on the stove (my pet peeve, and I didn't make them, but had to clean them up anyway, grrr). 

There was an exam that scared the shit out of me, because despite what some people believe (Richard), studying isn't my thing. I can't retain book wisdom, I have a terrible short- and long-term memory (in short, a bad memory), and I'm always convinced that I will do badly. I don't just say it to get the "you will do fine!"s and "you're smart, you got this!"s - I seriously think I will fail. Maybe I have a rare form of examophobia?
To make it more interesting, I also worked every day leading up to it, with some added difficulty at work to keep me on my toes.

I had prepared myself for the possibility of failing this exam. I have done this many times before (examophobia, remember?), but back then I always envisioned the worst: doom and gloom, irreversible failure, the end of life as I knew it. 

This time, it was different.
I knew that I wasn't as well prepared as I would have liked. But I also knew one thing for damn sure: I wouldn't go down without a fight.
Life is complicated, full of twists and turns and unexpected surprises, but in the end, it's very simple:
You fight, or you don't. 

I chose to fight.
Every day, I got up two hours early to cram some study time in. Every day, I fully intended to do a few more hours after work. 

That didn't always happen. 

Life gets in the way, and there were days were I simply couldn't. I had no concentration left, and I simply couldn't force myself to do it. So I would drink a couple of glasses of wine instead, or watch a few episodes of The Big Bang Theory with my husband, or go to bed at 8:30pm. 

And the next day I would get up three hours early to study.

I'm on this journey of getting the hang of life by doing something I never did before: Listen to my body/mind/soul. Not forcing things, but going with the flow and letting life happen.

It works. It really works, you guys!

In the old days, I would have forced myself to stare at the books at night no matter what, becoming increasingly more frustrated in the process and invariably bursting into tears at some point.
I wouldn't retain anything, and feel panicky and stressed on top of it.

This time around I listened to my limits, and gave my body and mind the break they needed. By doing that, I was refreshed again the next morning to tackle the beast with renewed energy.

Yesterday morning I wrote the damn thing, and you know what? I gave it my all. I won't know the results for three weeks, but I feel good about it.

Once you decide to fight for what you want, you are more in control of your life. You may not always get the outcome you want (or think you want), but knowing that you did your best is an empowering feeling.
It makes you realize that you are much stronger than you think.

Because you know what?
We are all much stronger than we think.  


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