Hi blog! This week went by so fast. Today I am going to try out another new format: life lessons! Here are some unexpected things I learned since my last entry:
Lesson #1: Ugly things can still be cute
As a perfectionist, I lead a life of frequent disappointment. It is nearly impossible for me to reach my own standards. When I decided I wanted to sew some sock animals earlier this week, I hoped I’d be amazing at it right away. I was not. It took me like four hours to sew one sub-par sock bunny. But guess what? It’s totally adorable. It’s almost more adorable because it’s so ugly and amateur. It’s not flawless, but you can see how much work I put into it (and, to be fair, I have very little sewing experience and ventured away from the DIY).
People really seem to like my sock bunnies, and I am having a lot of fun making them. They get better every time! They may be ugly and imperfect, but they probably wouldn’t be so darn cute if they were 100% gorgeous. They’re quirky just like me, and I like them even with their glaring mistakes and inconsistencies. Take that, brain.
Lesson #2: Proper planning cannot prevent all unfortunate situations, but it can make them suck less
I am a planner. It’s in my blood and it is part of my soul. I like lists, calendars, and agenda books, and I believe that being prepared is always always always worthwhile. My obsessive planning roots from fear, however. I plan and plan and plan so I can avoid unfortunate events like being hungry with no snacks, or having a dead phone while out in public. I plan my life in advance in an attempt to make endeavors as smooth and efficient as they can be, because god forbid my time is wasted (haha).
It is hard for me to accept that there are some things that I cannot predict or control (as Aaron Burr sings in Hamilton, “I am the one thing in life I can control”). Some things are unexpected and unfair and random. Sometimes people bang on your front door and yell and scare the life out of you while you’re home alone. Sometimes your mom’s mini-van breaks down on the side of the highway and you’re stuck on the shoulder for 90 minutes and have to pee in the grass. So, no, planning cannot rule out all possible misfortunes. However, I can take comfort in the fact that my forward thinking makes me more comfortable in unprecedented times of distress. The snacks and water and entertainment I packed for the road trip kept me sane while waiting for the tow truck. Others were hungry. I was not. My giant cupcake squishable (given to me by my father as a consolation gift for Friday’s scare) kept me company, providing not only comfort but a soft surface for napping.
I probably spend too much of my life planning out the future. I plan to feel secure. And went random horrible things happen, I believe that my planning helps me rebound faster than others. My preparedness is useful regardless of whether things go exactly as planned. I am the person who always has band-aids and tide to go and I am okay with that. The world needs people like me. And I need giant cupcake squishables.
Lesson #3: There is always going to be something to worry about
I am not only a planner. I am also a worrywart. And I know that worrying is unattractive and causes heart attacks but that’s not important right now. What’s important is that my anxious tendencies lead me to obsessively dread a large stress-inducing event and idealize the time after it is over. For example, I found prom planning to be extraordinarily exhausting. Prom was this big, scary, stressful thing, and I worried about it every day for weeks (maybe even months, not totally sure). I could not wait for it to be over. I told myself that once I got through prom, I could finally ~relax~. Of course, as soon as prom was in the past, I found something new to worry and obsess about. I am never free. There will always be more things to panic about. Right now, I can’t wait until I’m done with college orientation. But after that, I get to worry about my birthday and birthday party, about college planning, about therapy. Then I get to worry about that unfortunate camping trip, Service Day, roommate problems, marathon training, and more and more and more.
Obviously this a problem that cannot be resolved in a blog post. What I can do is make it a personal goal to stop idealizing the future. The future is no better than now, it is probably exactly the same, but in a dorm. I can’t keep putting relaxation off until ____________ is over. Something else will come up. I need to learn to balance my anxiety with relaxation now. If anxiety is a part of who I am as a person, than I am going to be the best damn balanced and self-aware anxious person you’ve ever met.
Lesson #4: There is nothing wrong with finding comfort in television shows or movies
I like to fall asleep to Friends and The Office. I like that they distract me from my own scary late-night thoughts. They make me feel like I am not alone in my room, but chillin with a bunch of my friends.
When I’m driving, I like to listen to the same radio station all the time because I feel like they are my friends.
I buy stuffed animals of my favorite characters because they remind me of the wonderful, comforting movies and television shows they come from.
A lot of people don’t have the same relationship with radio shows or TV shows or films that I do, and that’s okay. I am not going to stop liking the things that I like just because others fail to understand their appeal. Who cares if I like to watch Peppa Pig when I’m sad? I am going to do whatever the hell I want if it makes me feel better.
Also, I get points for knowing how to self-soothe. A lot of people my age just go out and get hammered and expect the difficult emotions to magically disappear (spoiler: those feelings are always there when they wake up in the morning). Not me. I can make myself feel better in a more PG-rated way, and then I actually deal with the problem at hand instead of ignoring it and expecting it to go away.
(p.s. speaking of Pixar, I saw Finding Dory this week! And it was AWESOME (not as good as Zootopia, but still really enjoyable!) Thank you for all the years and years of happiness, Pixar.)
Let me know if you like the new format!
See you next week