As of this moment, I am still stressing over my impending permanent translocation across the nation. There are many things I can be doing instead of writing this blog post, but I needed to take a break to write in this blog. Because it is a weekly ritual. Because it is cleansing. Because it is part of critical maintenance for my mental health.
I cannot put into words how much I appreciate those of you who have taken the time to read this blog, and comment, but the truth is I write these posts as much for me as for anyone else. To record my journey through life, through change. To remind myself of where I come from and how I got to today. To have a written history of my values and opinions, so that I can question myself if they change.
As I continue to pack and sell all my belongings, I feel overwhelmed – my head swirling incessantly of to-do items. My greatest fear of the moment is that I drop something critical in the midst of this chaos. The physical chaos of my apartment. The mental chaos in my mind. The emotional chaos from the inside out.
I realize that it is now, when I am stressed beyond belief, that it is more important than ever that I take steps to maintain my mental health – my sanity. Writing in this blog is one way to support this endeavour.
This post constitutes a written agreement to myself that I will not let the tiny details and logistical failings that are bound to happen in the next week set me back. At the end of this week, I will be sleeping in magnificent Montreal with wonderful new individuals waiting to be met, and I will know that I have made it all possible myself. I will remember how stressed I was this week, and I will laugh at the silliness.
For the first time in my life, I will be able to say that I stood on my own two feet. I moved all by myself (with a lot of support from everyone around me, but I was the driver and not the passenger). I chose McGill. I sold our cars. I arranged for the movers. I know what exactly was thrown away, what exactly is in each box, and which boxes are being shipped to China instead of Montreal.
For once in my life, I am the master of my own domain, and it is strange. I am living under my own roof, in control of my possessions. In short, I am on the road to independence. And that is the bigger picture.
Whatever we go through, I believe there is a lesson to be learned. Nothing is wasted experience or wasted time. We grow, we make mistakes, we try not to make them again – not necessarily in that order. What gets us through those impossible days is knowing that we will make it through them, and we will become better people for it.
When I was in the Science One program at UBC, it was the toughest year of my life. My average dropped 15% from my high school average, and mostly due to a self-fulfilling prophecy. There was a night when I just laid on my bed in the dark, staring at the ceiling, and I could not breathe. I could not breathe because a project due tomorrow was worth 5% of 27 UBC credits, and I had not started. I did not know what I could do, and I felt like the greatest failure in the world.
That year was hell for me, but it forced me to swallow a lot of hard lessons. Lessons about how my pride got in the way of asking for help. How the greatest obstacle to my success is always me. How I always try to do too much (this lesson still being learned and refined…). How I will always fail when I choose activities based on what sounds good rather than what feels right. And how nothing is a substitute for pure hard work.
That year was hell, but that year prepared me better for the rest of my undergraduate career (and possibly my life) than I think anything else could have.
So often, when we are going through torturous experiences, we wonder why in the world we could be so unlucky (or why we chose this for ourselves). It is interesting to note, though, that it seems to be these same experiences of adversity that create our world’s greatest leaders.
I think that we are only failures if we don’t learn from our mistakes, if we do not make something of our rough journeys, if we do not create better selves from our fragmented pieces, if we do not turn the threats into opportunities.
I suppose that the more intense the experience, the greater the potential reward. That belief is what will get me through the rest of this week…
The next station is Montreal. Montreal Station. Independence Drive =).