I’m glad I didn’t completely abandon my Facebook account, although I’ve lessened my time dilly-dallying on social media in hopes of strengthening my focus muscle. Among many reasons, I found this post by The Artidote on a humid morning while having another firsthand experience of a “man versus self” conflict. Remember this topic on English literature in high school?
“But here’s a little secret for you: no one is ever the same thing again after anything. You are never the same twice, and much of your unhappiness comes from trying to pretend that you are. Accept that you are different each day, and do so joyfully, recognizing it for the gift it is. Work within the desires and goals of the person you are currently, until you aren’t that person anymore, and everything changes once again.”
Since last week, these feelings of inadequacy and a sense of plateauing have become regular visitors. Around 80 percent of daily stories to my parents revolve around narrations of these feelings that make sense in my head yet become incoherent when spoken on the spot.
“Will these efforts pay off in the long run although I’m still in step one out of 100? Then again, how would I know if I quit at the slightest hint of struggle?”
“Am I losing sight of the present as I’m pursuing a goal which my 15-year old self considered but dropped, out of fear she’s taking it solely because people think ‘following your parents’ careers’ is a good idea?” “Then again, I have a compelling purpose and I can choose to cherish the journey instead of whining incessantly.”
“Why should I bid goodbye to a zone that epitomizes relaxation and complacency?” “Then again, how would I grow as a person if I have no drive to outdo my efforts and if I remain in a path that guarantees comfort 24/7?”
I’m unsure why these bothering thoughts brewed in the first place. Compared to my past years as a student, I currently have a highly flexible and unstructured schedule. Does that mean I can choose to include ‘deal with young adult inner conflict and post-grad blues’ in my to-do list? I have self-imposed tasks to accomplish and errands to run because doing nothing is worse than having a full to-do list, and is as terrible as being “busy” without any direction.
I miss the healthy pressure that comes from external factors like deadlines and group meetings; I rely mostly on internal motivation because everything is a choice but it wanes like most feelings. I miss balancing a relatively active social life — which my older self will definitely reminisce with hints of embarrassment and tons of rhetoric questions and laughter — with academic performance that neither qualifies for a scholarship nor invites dismay and disgust. Plus, I miss meeting a non-biological family and polishing my hard skills and soft skills in an extra-curricular organization like The Crusader.
I miss many friends with whom I have shared memories. We can catch up as long as we make time for each other, but having different priorities with schedules that barely match is inevitable. I miss my parents’ perpetual trust and treatment of us like actual adults — right before I almost died in a vehicular accident.
I miss the sense of accomplishment after working well under pressure or after collaborating with people who display talent and brilliance in many ways.
Perhaps people are normally resistant to change, especially when it requires shelving nostalgia-inducing events in the past and when an uncertain future awaits. A part of me wishes to relive those moments and return to a comfortably familiar era, another part insists that moving forward means letting go of a certain stage and working toward the next one. Trepidation is the name of the game. As my favorite high school motto goes, “If you can’t change it, change your perspective.”
My father, who seems to value brevity by offering one-line advice that initially sound cheesy but turn out senseful, says: Missing a past stage is normal but don’t dwell on it. Focus on the present and on working toward goals. Immerse in harmless activities that veer you away from boredom. He dispensed such “words of wisdom” either when we were waiting for our order in the mall or arranging groceries in the refrigerator.
True. Hard-hitting realizations could be found in unexpected times and places.
In relation to the “man vs self” conflict, I suppose it’s normal as it helps a person see things from a different perspective. It could heighten self-awareness as s/he analyzes the why and how instead of taking everything at face value then possibly succumbing to self-destructing behavior. The said conflict is much welcomed; the challenge lies in dealing with it. And in understanding clashing ideas because you’re in charge of a) expressing your thoughts and b) synthesizing ideas of different parties so your sanity remains intact.
Months from now, I’ll probably want to jump in a time machine and stay for awhile in February 15, 2016: writing as a form of catharsis, staying up until 5 a.m. without heart-pounding academics-related pressure, looking forward to a productive yet relaxed Monday. Diferent stages have different stories.