I need to be awesome right now and I’m just not. Lots of days I don’t even want to get out of bed even though I’m getting way more sleep on a regular basis than I have in ages.
This semester has been a trying one so far and I’m not even in nursing school. Getting into the groove of the school/kids/work/life balance after a comparatively relaxing summer always takes a minute but this time it’s something else. I’m not sure what exactly. I just can’t seem to get my Academic Overacheiver groove back.
Maybe it’s because a couple of the classes I have this semester are the hardest I’ve had in a while. I can honestly say it’s been years, like lots of them, since I’ve been more than a little challenged by the content of a class and not just the demands & responsibilities of my life in general. It took me by surprise and in doing so has undermined my confidence. I always feel a little unsure of myself; it’s there constantly lurking just below the surface but the challenge and changes in my life the past few years have helped me master the art of faking it until I make it. Lately though I’m less & less good at said faking it and feel less and less like I’m making it. My self assurance is hiding in its shell somewhere. Suddenly I don’t feel like the smart person that I know I am.
Everything is hard. I’m not sure I want to do it anymore. Heck, I’m not even sure what it is anymore.
I have a whole hypothesis about the role of struggle in human happiness. This set of ideas that have tumbled around in my head for a while now. See, I think to actually be happy a person has to struggle. I’m not just saying you have to have bad times to appreciate or be able to recognize the good, though that is part of it. No,it’s not the contrast of good times and bad that makes struggling and having a challenge crucial to happiness. I’m saying the struggle and the challenge in life are what makes us happy. Maybe it’s the fact that having something to get through or to work against gives us purpose and that creates a sense of well being, a happiness if you will. Our lives now are made easier and easier by advances in technology (among other things). Human beings no longer have to fight the elements just to survive to the ripe old age of thirty-nine. It’s almost a given that we’ll live a relatively comfortable, long life. And yet depression and anxiety are the plagues of our modern society. Life has gotten easier but people have not become happier. We have it all but we’re just not happy. Maybe it’s because having it all, life being easy, leaves us under-challenged. It makes us restless and angsty so we create problems to struggle against. The fact that running Ultra-marathons is a popular thing speaks to this. A certain amount of challenge in life is a good thing, a necessary thing; it makes a person feel more content, more purposeful. There is happiness in the struggle.
Some people are adrenaline junkies, over the past couple years I’ve realized that I am a bit of a challenge junkie. It’s why I run long distances and am constantly looking for the next goal, another way to push myself to the next level. It’s what makes my co-blogger accuse me of thriving of the chaos of my life instead of trying to change it. You’d think I’d be thrilled with the challenges & difficulty of my life right now. Usually I am at least a little thrilled when I’m pushing myself through a tough time. I feel pretty awesome when I prove that I can do it all and not too terribly either. But lately all the challenges in my life are most certainly not thrilling me. They’re crushing me a little bit & I’m not sure why.
My co-blogger and I have had a lot of complaining sessions conversations about this semester and why it sucks so badly for both of us. We’ve talked about just enduring, doing what you have to do to get to the light at the end of the semester even if that means barely scraping by, all that stuff. Really, though, that’s not enough. Me not doing well in some areas of my overwhelming life such as school and parenting, will have some long term consequences. Not positive ones.
Typically I am pretty awesome.
When my kids were little I was a (mostly) stay at home mom. I chose to be one because it was important to me to be there during the years my children were developing the fastest and I was really good at it. When I was going through separation and then a divorce that got really messy (and still is) I got a job, worked full time to financially support my household, bought a house, and still did all the parenting things. Not only did I do them but I did them well. I held it all together (for the most part) and kept things as stable as possible for my five kids when they were going through the worst time of their lives. Then when the dust settled I went back to school full time. I’ve managed classes, trained for, and ran a half marathon. Twice. Heck, this past summer I even fixed my dryer when the belt broke. Without any help (other than YouTube & Google).
My point here is that I am capable; I know I can (usually) be as awesome as I need to be at any given moment. History shows that. Now is no exception even if it feels like it is. Yes, everything is a struggle right now. But I’m usually good at that shit.
I need to make a change; to look at the situations in my life, remind myself that I am a badass who doesn’t hide under the covers.I get up and do stuff even when it’s difficult and I don’t want to, even though I’m doing it on my own and it’s tiring and frustrating. It’s time for me to embrace the struggle. To reach out and give it a big bear hug…despite the fact that hugging makes me wicked uncomfortable. Even metaphorical hugging.