There is a balance between being patient with yourself, and encouraging yourself to actually get things done.
Oftentimes we have to treat ourselves like small children. We have to reward ourselves with snacks, set time apart for naps, make sure our schedule is in line. Things become messy when we realize the person who will reward us is usually us. It’s easy to be our child-self, far more difficult to convince ourselves to be adults.
Being an adult seems like its own world when you’re a child. It is a set of concepts we associate with responsibility and personal power: opening accounts, setting a budget, going grocery shopping, going to work, etc. It seems foreign to those who haven’t done it, terrifying, really.
But it’s a challenge like every other we face. We learn things one by one. We walk to a place, we fill out a form, and we ask questions when we aren’t sure.
Being “adult” is more or less scary to different individuals, but the same idea holds for a lot of things. Fundamentally, we build things up in our head. We make mole hills into mountains and that makes the prospect of climbing them far more difficult. No matter how complicated a task, we break it down into simpler steps. No matter how important a decision is, the moments leading up help give us the necessary information.
So be patient with yourself on the little things, but get those little things done. All of the huge weights we create are an accumulation of little bits we can handle.
Our work should be prioritized. But so should our relationships, our mental and physical health, and our values. There are so many things that matter to us in different ways, but it’s difficult to put them into a hierarchy, because it depends on circumstance. We care about so much, and that makes it difficult sometimes for us to know what the “right thing” to prioritize in each situation is.
Frankly, sometimes we will never know if we did the right thing. Sometimes we find ourselves in circumstances where each option has a uncontrollable downside. We look at our situation and know that there is probably a better way to go about solving it, but we can’t see it. In the original Star Trek, Kirk is almost always placed in a pick A or B choice where both are horrendous options. But he finds a C, and things turn out okay, even if it’s a huge risk.
We should strive for our option C, for being able to do as much as we can for all of our values. There are few situations in which C will not exist. However, just because it often exists doesn’t mean we see it easily. We see nothing easily but that which we want to see, and nothing is easier to see than a bad end when we’re under pressure. We don’t know what we want, what the most desirable ending is, and even when we do, we don’t know how to get there. There are so many unknowns we must constantly juggle. But practice makes perfect. Even if we don’t know how to balance things right now, doing our best will eventually teach us what to not do. There is a time for everything, if we make it.
October is here, even if the weather disagrees with the idea and decides to be summer-warm, but it is here and it is lovely! People love October for different reasons. The turning leaves, the cooler temperatures, the color themes, the flavors, Halloween! It’s not one piece of it per se, but the whole vibe made up from those pieces.
In a similar way, we aren’t so simple to condense down. Autumn is who we are, but our traits are harder to pin down specifically. Like fall changes from year to year and place to place, we may become different sorts of people throughout the span of our life. That’s okay! You are still you, even at the times you’re not sure of what defines you. Furthermore, it’s okay if you don’t like parts of yourself. Fall also means a lot of work, and darker weather can make people feel depressed. It doesn’t mean that everything is horrible, it just means those particular parts of it aren’t what you want them to be.
There is always a good side and a bad side to things. Even something as amazing as pumpkin pie can become disgusting in excess, and even something as horrible at the cold can be relaxing in moderation. Whatever our traits are, whoever we are, we are always in a balance to express them in the best way possible. Life is hard, and we’re all learning. That’s okay! Have a wonderful October.
Every day is a gift, but since you get a gift every day, how valuable is it really? That is what’s tempting to think. Some people claim every day needs to be amazing and full! But most likely, it’s not. Most of the time, days are just days. They can be good or bad, but usually they just “are”.
However, the difference in people who live their lives and people who simply let life pass them by, is the difference in how they address the problem of ordinary days. Anyone can hype themselves up the day they graduate or give an important speech. How will you motivate yourself when it’s just another day following your same routine, and not an Indiana Jones adventure? You find a reason to wake up. You find a reason to go to the gym. You find a reason to work through the projects you don’t want to do. If you don’t know where you’re going, it’s going to be hard to get somewhere!
So as hackneyed as it may seem, write down your goals physically. Paste it on a wall, on multiple walls! Sure, the gift of the regular day isn’t unusual. However, the point is that you don’t know what it will bring. Maybe it’s not an amazing gift, but you get the chance to make it into something more. Not every day has to be stunning or amazing or marvelous! But making the choice to follow a higher goal makes a day more likely to be something special.
We live in a society where oftentimes our worth is associated with our productivity. Yet in the broad spectrum of life, productivity for each individual means something different. If someone has to work extra hard to do task A, and another barely has to lift a finger to do both A and B, who is more productive? Externally, we’d day the second person, who did two tasks. However, the first person is more productive in that they’ve put in more effort. The question becomes, what kind of focus should we have, praising those who put in the effort, or praising those who get things done?
Theoretically, those we admire the most are those who work hard and get a lot done. However, psychologically, if we focus too much on the ends, we can end up with some very unhealthy situations. If someone doesn’t need to work hard, they won’t know how to work when the true obstacles come. If someone does things only to get them done, quality can go down. Yet, if only effort matters, what’s the motivation to actually bring things to a conclusion? Besides, wasteful effort isn’t helpful for anyone. The answer is that both effort and accomplishment are important parts of productivity, which makes judgement that only reflects accomplishment lopsided in perspective.
Yet, should we even be comparing worth to productivity in the first place? It’s certainly effective for businesses and schools. Still, is this the whole of life, what our education and career says of us? No! Productivity is a single measure of success, meaning there are other measurements and factors to it. Working hard is important for our well being! But let’s remember that productivity is one part of ourselves, and that even that isn’t so clear cut. Putting in effort counts for something.
Knitting can be difficult in that to get the right stitch, you need to keep the same amount of pull on your yarn. Otherwise, the size of each knot differs and messes up the pattern. But the fact is, most people could care less about knitting or the details of it. Why should you care? At the end, the skill is irrelevant in our factory manufactured society that makes our clothes through mass production. It’s a skill that’s transformed from a necessity to a hobby for most. It’s incredible, really.
So much has changed. If you compare this era to any before it, surely we see parallels, but technology has been a driving force for cultural and sociological shifts. Our very way of life is molded by the tools we use and rely upon. But knitting can still give us lessons: consistency is a strength. In fact, it is one of our most potent abilities. Water wears down the rock over time, as the saying goes.
Knitted things have errors in the fabric because the pull is too tight or too loose. When we approach life, we need to be careful of how much we pull. We need to be assertive but respectful. We need to question assumptions, but be open to the possibility that we’re wrong. We need to be compassionate and kind but maintain our own identity and self-respect. Things change, times change, but we are always growing by learning how to keep things balanced. So be grateful for technology, but critique it too. At the end of the day, consistency is so important because practice is what makes us able to learn how to do this whole “balance” thing in the first place. Keep going. Every day, it matters.
If you’ve ever read a book that has too many details, you know it’s overwhelming. If you need an index to keep all the characters straight, maybe there are too many characters. Knowing the setup and tiny features of every single room doesn’t really matter unless it’s important to the plot. Sometimes we focus on all the insignificant details of our own life, and lose sight of the big picture.
Don’t get me wrong, details matter. Paying attention to our small actions can reveal some important things about our beliefs. However, those details shouldn’t be like walking through a swamp. We need to get an accurate picture, not a cluttered one.
So make a list of what you need to get done, but remember why you want to get it done. Write clearly and legibly so you can read it later, but know it’s okay if it’s not the professional caligraphy you want. It’s hard to find a balance between caring about the little moments and getting lost in them, but it is important. It’s different for every person, but try to zoom out or zoom in as you need, focusing on what matters.