I got a lot of positive feedback regarding my The Demons of Doubt post from yesterday (which I really, really appreciate; thank you). It also brought up an idea inspired by my own musing and discussions that I–having that writer’s soul–decided to craft a blog post around: mentality. But not just that, but pointing out the obvious–yet still difficult to wield and control consistently–power you have over shaping that mentality.
Today was a good day for me. I slept in (despite having weird dreams), took a shower and shaved (Lord, that was overdue; also, you’re welcome for that slipped in TMI moment), picked up the house, did some laundry and started replaying the Trespasser DLC from my favorite game, Dragon Age: Inquisition, because I just want to understand those twists a bit more (and get killed by Qunari again, apparently). All of this I did before work, which I’m currently at. While at work, I managed to reply to some emails, learned a new aspect of my job I didn’t realize I needed to know, completed my To-Do List for work, did some critiquing for a new writer I’ve connected with and now am writing this blog. It’s been a solid, productive day.
Oh, I’ve also been stuck in a limbo of putting off reading the last 200 pages of the book I’m currently devouring and finding the perfect moment to sit down and read those last 200 pages. Because I know once I open that book again, I’m not closing it until it’s done (I won’t have that much self-control). Yet I’m also not ready for it to be over, since the next book doesn’t come up until November. But that’s a blog post/review that I’ll be hitting you with this weekend, so stay tuned.
Throughout the day, my situation–and the fears and stresses paired with it–came up in my thoughts over and over. Sometimes, I shut it out. Yet commuting, I failed to shut them out, so I contemplated. I mused. And instead of focusing on what was stressing me out, I thought about some of the goals I want to work towards. Writing wise, I not only want to write more consistently, but I have a work-in-progress to complete, a finished trilogy to trim and polish and another series (perhaps two or even three!) to draft. In other aspects of my life, I want to find another job. I want to start working out again. Eventually, I’d like to find an apartment or tiny house that I can nerd out in by decorating with gaming posters and LOTR décor.
These goals, and more, I want to accomplish. And my mindset this weekend would have set me on a path of impossible thinking; a path believing that I couldn’t accomplish all of those goals (some of which are needs) because of all the Catch-22’s punching me in the throat. Repeatedly. Yet today, instead, I thought about how I could make things work. My monologue went something like this as I drove down the back roads that had become so familiar:
So, there is this job as an international student advisor I’m stoked about and really wanna apply for. Need to do that. If I get that, commuting is going to be hell. So will eating. How am I going to work out? Well, the Rec is open until midnight, so if I bring my gym clothes and go run for 30 minutes and shower at the Rec, I could drive home afterwards and get roughly 5-6 hours of sleep. Yeah, that’s not happening until I move to Lawrence. I’ll walk Shadow until then. I really need to start doing that again. Oh, sleep. I miss you so much already. Better sleep as much as possible while I can. Meals…geez, that’s not going to be fun, but if I cook four meals between Saturday and Sunday, I could pack leftovers for dinner most of the week. Portable lunches are easy and cereal? Easy. Writing time? Part-time job. Bam, done. Weekends, too. Gotta keep that high on the priority–ohmygosh, look, a beaver!
One: I know, it’s scary inside my head while I’m thinking. Two: I really did see a beaver on my way to work tonight and yes, I was really, really excited about it.
I’ll sum up what those thoughts actually mean, in the grand scheme of things. I do have a job in mind for a second job that I’d love to apply for that works 8-5, which would make my work day 8-5 and 6-10. So yeah, commuting would suck, sleep would disappear, long hours loom and trying to eat healthy might become even more challenging that it already is. But it is obviously doable (as my ramblings above eventually got to). And it’d be easier to manage once I moved and financially would help, a lot. And, if I got that job, I’d be working two jobs where I would be happy, which is a big deal to me. Plus, I am really lucky to have a part-time job currently that, once I complete the To-Do list left for me and after I make sure the students are on-task, allows me to do whatever else I please while I’m there, as long as I’m present and available. So blogging and writing time can easily be squeezed in there. If that is suddenly taken away, that’s what my weekends are for. If NaNoWriMo has taught me anything, it is how much time you really have for anything, if you give it priority during your time. And I’m not afraid to give writing that priority, any more.
So what does all of this have to do with powering your own mentality? This weekend, I focused on how difficult life is and will continue to be for me. Tears ensued, my mood was glum and I wasn’t very productive, to be honest. Today, I faced the same facts–life is difficult and some aspects about my situation are hard–but instead of focusing on how hard they are going to be, I focused on my goals and tried to plan around the difficulties. I tried to find solutions, even hypothetically while I drove and got excited about spotting tiny animals. And that is a switch in perspective from my weekend and it shows, not only in my mood today (which was great!) but also in my productively levels and the hope and excitement–and yes, of course, still fear–I now feel towards the future after making these tentative plans and potential schedules.
Does this mean that I’m going to be Miss Positive Thinking throughout this entire process? Nope, not at all. Are tears still in my future? Definitely. Will I still get stressed out, feel shitty and believe everything is impossible? Yep, occasionally. Yet I also got a solid reminder, reflecting and juxtaposing my two experiences and mentalities regarding my current situation, that I do have some control on my mentality. I can actively work to have a better mindset, even when things get hard. And when I fail to do so, that’s okay. It’s important to remember that, because those emotions–that stress and fear–are just as valid and important to feel as elation and joy and courage and hope. It’s a mixture of all those emotions that will help me be successful, especially if I believe that I will be, despite whatever wants to get in my way (if this concept is completely missing you, watch Inside Out. Go. Right now).
So that’s what I’m going to refocus and do: believe in myself and actively work to keep my mentality positive, open and flexible.