Probably pretentiousness

It’s November and so many things have happened every since the last post (July?) I got to write for The Shizzle, which was really great. With that, I finally got around to creating a Medium account and seeing two articles published there is so satisfying. Well, I was supposed to get around to pushing out more pieces but…

Yes, school. I’m going to call it a roller coaster. Not always a pleasant ride, but I would say now that the unpleasantness was necessary for personal growth. At some point in time,  the outside world became a confusing blur that grew incredibly hard to connect with and manage. A little strange, considering that these problems didn’t exist in the first few months. There was this internal turmoil which I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Every day seemed to be a struggle. I seemed to get annoyed over little things people said and did and…the entire environment in general.

However, I had my breakthrough after reading this section from Marie Kondo’s The life-changing magic of tidying (am seriously quite excited to clear my clutter in December) titled “If you’re mad at the family, your room may be the cause”, in which she says, ” If you feel annoyed with your family for being untidy, I urge you to check your own space, especially your storage. You are bound to find things that need to be thrown away. The urge to point out someone else’s failure to tidy is usually a sign that you are neglecting to take care of your own space. That is why you should begin by only discarding your own things.” Other than its practical application in tidying in real life, I realised that hey, it might apply directly to the situation I’m facing. It was perhaps never about the external environment and overly-high expectations of the outside world/academic expectations. Perhaps all the dissatisfaction and criticism which I directed outwards simply pointed to my own turbulent insides and inner frustration.

So I decided to “embark on a journey of self-discovery” (ok, standard) and explore my own emotions, baggage, dreams and whatever (Marie said storage too, not just the room right?) I was mildly surprised by what I found. I realised that I had a long history of running away. I realised that I was great at dealing with uncertainty in some areas, not so much in others. I realised that I was a sensitive and rather emotional, sometimes needy and whiny person in general. (but that’s okay, it’s supposed to be)

And after reading Heather Havrilesky’s latest eye-opening column (she does have some really good ones) I realised that growing up and “being an adult” (if there is such a thing) means intensive emotional management and doing things you don’t necessarily want to do. Having a specific goal in mind that is hard to attain only makes the journey harder because it involves a LOT of expectation management, perseverance and a resilient trudging towards your goal/vision which has to be clarified/refined. I was incredibly idealistic before and didn’t think about how the goal would be difficult to attain. (Seriously, just having a meaningful job can be difficult. Why did you keep telling yourself it would be straightforward?)

Also, people face frustration. People face ennui and listlessness for 3-4 YEARS. People struggle. And it will be like this until retirement or something. For me, it isn’t about lowering my expectations of others/the world. I think I have to lower my expectations of having a stable and ideal emotional state 24/7. Firstly, by purposely self-questioning, I was practically INVITING AND WAITING for a tidal wave of underlying emotions to hit. Secondly, for someone who’s reflective and contemplative (and self absorbed) volatile emotions are to be expected, practically. There’s no reason why I should be entitled to naturally feel otherwise. People put in effort to learn how to manage themselves and grow and develop and cope with lyfe and all these things. I will have to learn how to do the same.

Life is not all or nothing. It is a fluctuation. The key is to neither give in to your frustrations, nor ignore them and live in denial. I will work on feeling my feelings and acceptance and practising honesty in all aspects of my life (ugh the number of times I’ve repeated this like a parrot to so many people…) and there is no “end of story” because I won’t ever get to a point where improvement is completed or any end point where I will feel done. Life is always “in progress” and after all the occasionally pretentious ramblings, I think I’m finally grasping that for real:)

“Cleaning quietly on one’s own generates another interesting change- the ability to tolerate a certain level of untidiness among your family members. Once I was satisfied with my own room, I no longer felt the urge to dispose of things belonging to my siblings and parents. When I noticed that communal spaces such as the living room or bathroom were messy, I cleaned them without a second thought and never bothered to mention it.” Marie Kondo has set my immediate goal.