August… I have failed the month.
I came to that realization last week. With only a few days left, it became clear that many of my plans for August/Summer were not going to be completed by their “deadlines”. Additionally, I was quite low on the energy level and down on my mood. I asked myself, how it could have happened, how I had allowed it to happen… I found no clear answer. Maybe, relatively “high” July resulted in counter-balancing “low” August.
I remembered how I returned back to Bremen after the trip to the United States in the middle of July. I was excited about living a remarkable life. I sensed that it could take quite some effort to integrate it into the routines of the daily life, but it seemed possible. I was going through the Take-a-Picture challenge and making new discoveries every day. Life seemed to be moving, I seemed to make progress. It was tough, but I enjoyed my time, my life and myself.
With the transition from July to August, I took on a new thirty-day challenge. Also, my closest friend left the city for a month. Seemingly small at first, each of the events substantially influenced the following days and weeks of my life.
I phrased the 30-day challenge for August as “every day, write some text that I can consider a story”. Many issues surfaced along the way from this free-formed definition. What do I consider a story? What type of stories would I like to write? What topics would I like to cover? And if I had some options for topics, then the questions were: Do I want to write on these topics? Can I write a story on that topic? Does this story mean anything to me? And ultimately, is writing these stories worth the time and effort I spend? With my mind occupied with all these questions, I had a lot of mental resources leaking out just because of the lack of clarity.
In the absence of my friend I found myself without in-person communication, while my online communication was also going through not-the-best times. Unable to deeply share my thoughts, to discuss my actions, my worries or confusion, to receive support and encouragement, I was losing motivation. The meaning behind the things I wanted to do was becoming clouded.
I was on a sinking ship. At some moment, I even found myself with a feeling that there was no future at all. I was living in the moment, but “sitting backwards” and seeing what was passing in front of my eyes, getting farther away from it, unable to see where I was heading and what was coming for me in the next moment. I did not feel myself able to make any plans for a project or any long-term committed effort. It was hard to believe in the existence of the next day.
I was waking up depressed, without any desire to get up and make something happen. I did not believe I could make anything important happen. I read somewhere a phrase “if you don’t wake up with a burning desire to do things, then you don’t have enough goals”. Well, I tried to shift the situation by looking into the future and setting “enough” goals, but it only made things worse. I had many goals, meaning that I had multiple things that could be acted upon at any moment, while my priorities weren’t clear. I was in an internal conflict all the time. I struggled to do everything, while I was not confident that I could accomplish anything.
Writing my accountability “report” one day, I realized how much struggle the storytelling challenge had been bringing to me. As I was expecting my resources to diminish even more with a friend of mine coming to visit me in the following days, I decided that it was not worth it to continue. I dropped the challenge a week before the end of thirty days.
The visiting friend gave me some of the communication that I had been missing. In expressing my situation, I noticed the unhealthy directions and patterns in my thinking. And in listening to an outside point of view on the subject matters and noticing the counter-arguments flowing through my head, I became aware of multiple limiting beliefs and thoughts that appeared to be hidden in me. They were perpetuating the negativity, pessimism, and the lack of confidence… I decided to let them go and adopt some better ones.
With this post, I am admitting my failure, and getting over it. Life has not ended, and I can have another chance for all these things I wanted to have accomplished by now. Continuing to stress out because of the missed “deadlines” won’t help in moving forward. Taking persistent action towards my vision, even if in tiny steps, will. I am going to do what I can, without overestimating or underestimating myself. I will simply be taking tasks that seem logical, reasonable at the time and do them to the best of my abilities. I will devote to the tasks the time they need, not setting unrealistic expectations of myself with too many deadlines. I will give the tasks my attention and focus during that time, not trying to rush through them in an attempt to get everything done at once. I will follow through on the things I start and do my best to complete them, and keep myself away from increasing the number of active projects, of incompletes.
Let’s see where this approach will lead me.