I didn’t make resolutions for myself this year and it feels incredibly freeing. Instead I’m focusing my time on one big goal – earning my space in the PhD program of my dreams. Unfortunately it feels like my brain is trying to betray me. The closer I get to the deadlines I’ve placed on myself, the more I find myself procrastinating, making excuses, falling into a hate spiral of insufficiency. Because they’ll never tell me I’m not good enough if I just don’t apply, right? Right.
Most every issue in my life can be boiled down into one thought: not feeling like I am enough. Good enough, smart enough, lovable enough. You name it and even though I logically understand that isn’t correct, my brain makes me feel something completely different. But that’s the funny thing about emotions and feelings – they just aren’t logical. Unfortunately every time I fall into this pit of not feeling good enough for a PhD program, it bleeds into all aspects of my life. I start worrying about things I would never worry about, things I’m not even sure I actually care about. In every interaction I can’t help but think “Did I upset them? Did I say the wrong thing? Did I do the wrong thing?” It’s terribly frustrating and painfully time consuming. I came across this post and I’m trying to take it to heart whenever I feel this way:
“People are usually tired and scared; not mean…How kind we would be if we could look beneath the surface behavior—the unpleasantness, viciousness and desperate grumpiness—and see that what could really be going on is just confusion, fear and exhaustion.”
Doubt is just a thing. Confidence is too.
And I’m trying to just let it all go. To not make large plans for myself this year (minus the PhD) or put too much pressure on myself. To make peace with the unknown – those messy, unstable, grey areas of my life. To embrace the chaos and arrive at contentment.
If I had to wish something for myself this year it would be to take the leap. To make more mistakes. Neil Gaiman said something remarkably beautiful that I keep focusing on:
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you’re making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and for all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
Cheers to a year of making mistakes, letting go, and attempting to quit worrying.