I’ve been procrastinating writing this entry. Partly because I’ve been busy with my assignments; mostly because it means doing a little digging within me and that’s always a little scary.
I’ve been doing quite a bit of reflecting lately as the year comes to a close. I can’t remember much of what happened in the year, but I remember feeling overwhelmed on more than one occasion, and now I think to myself, maybe I need to learn to slow down. It’s weird, in retrospect, how in my 2015 year-end entry, I talked about being lonely and not fitting into anywhere and learning to seek out opportunities and to say yes to new experiences. I’ve always seen that as a positive change, to experience and to learn and to meet new people. But now, at this stage, I’m starting to feel worn out. Right now, at this present moment as I’m writing this, with assignments and an exam coming up, I’m starting to feel my decisions to compromise my studies for society meetings and managing other out-of-class duties catching up to me. I admit, I’m not the most hardworking English student there is (though I do work hard for my creative writing classes). This semester especially, I’ve only been doing the bare minimum required for each class, sometimes even attending classes without any preparation and hoping I wouldn’t be asked any questions. Usually I would’ve done a bit more, especially concerning assignments, consulting lecturers and stuff. But I simply wasn’t able to because I had so many things piled up that I was responsible for. When I did have spare time, all I wanted to do was rest. But maybe it was also due to falling ill and not being well enough to study. I guess it was a few things grouped into one big monster and now I’m feeling the consequences.
Since helping out with my university’s tri-campus theatre production, I feel like things have been going on full-speed. It was my first time being involved in a big production, I also interned for the first time, managed a society magazine as Editor-in-Chief for the first time, and on top of that, continued my duties in two different positions as I did the year before. I realised I wasn’t good at time management and I didn’t like the pretentious nature of business and networking and that writing isn’t just writing; there are many different kinds and not all forms of writing is fulfilling. I’ve also learnt that I wouldn’t have known these things if I hadn’t given them a shot in the first place. I was overwhelmed at the beginning, but nearing the end of the semester, I’ve gotten hang of the flow and learnt to handle different duties and different people and situations a bit better. Even so, I don’t know if I want to continue being involved in so many things at once. I’m still figuring out the time management part, and I think that’s the one thing that will grow into another monster the end of next semester if I don’t keep it in check.
But through it all, I realised I focused too much on trying to mentally adjust into the different new situations and stressing out over things that, at their core, are trivial. And I wished I had taken a step back and be more grateful for the things I’ve learnt. I believe you should always do things that make you happy, but at the same time, you won’t really know what you like if you didn’t try. I tried these things, and now looking back, I am grateful for having tried them. Now I know what I like and what I don’t. The one most important to me is that writing is a very personal thing for me. I’m only passionate about it if it comes from the heart. I’ve always had this idea that as long as I’m able to write and to do any kind of writing as a career, I’d be happy. But now I know I was wrong. There is journalistic writing, academic writing, copy writing, etc. None of those have the same fulfilling effect as storytelling. There was a point in time where I was baffled by this epiphany. I didn’t realise that I write because I like telling stories and I like words and that combination is what drives me to write. Looking back, I’m glad I tried different forms of writing without having full commitment to them, and I’m grateful to have realised this soon enough. So grateful.
I don’t know what 2017 has in store for me. I literally don’t have a plan after graduation. But I hope I remember 2016 not for all the stress and anxiety it gave me, but for all the experiences and skills I’ve acquired along the way, and things I’ve learnt that I wouldn’t have otherwise, had I not joined the things I did. I hope I remind myself to take things one step at a time, and – opposite of what I’ve said before – learn to say no sometimes. I’ve always had this attitude that I could do things if I put my mind to it, but now I see how it can also negatively affect me. I hope to look back on 2016 as a reminder to take things slow and to remember to have balance in life, because no matter how much I want to do, how many new things I want to try, my own well being and mental health has to be prioritised first. Yeah, I think balance is the biggest thing I’ve learnt, and still learning.
I also hope to always remember to be grateful to Allah no matter what happens, even if it’s hard sometimes.
And I hope you – the amazing person reading this entry right now – will find your way and figure out life as it comes. We don’t have everything figured out, and that’s okay. We make mistakes and we forget and we make more mistakes, but that just makes us human.
Writing Instagram account: @suzannewritesstories
Featured image credit goes to Sean Yeh