SO, for the last 2.5 years I spent almost all my time trying to establish my career. Then I found I was really trying to establish myself… but through my career. I didn’t realize it, but I had based all my self worth on my accomplishments in school or work throughout my life.
It must have started with me just wanting to get that an A on all my tests in school. Until an A wasn’t good enough, and I needed the A+. As I got older, of course the work got harder and the challenge to maintain these grades grew more difficult but so did my dedication. That dedication however became more obsessive than just a healthy competitive attitude to do well.
With this ridiculous push to be super-nerd, I never took the time to relish in my successes or, to develop any other hobbies or skills because I had to be the best at anything I put my hands on. If not, why do it. I was so consumed with being the best in my school work and GPA that I didn’t allow myself to try new things and school became this enormous weight on my shoulders. That pressure slowly drifted into any type of accomplishment, friendships, extracurriculars,…anything.
My parents always laugh about my two years in Piano lessons. They bought me the keyboard, they payed for the lessons, they drove me to the lessons and still have yet to ever hear me play a single scale. I even wrote a couple exams with the Royal School of Music for piano but still I never allowed them to hear me play. No matter how much they begged. Why? Because I didn’t feel I was the best. I remember going to bed and waking up in the middle of the night to practice, in the room farthest away from parents room, just so they wouldn’t hear how dreadful I thought I sounded. Which in hindsight, was not that bad.
Don’t get me wrong I used to love school, cause, I was good at it. As a kid I turned to school for comfort, as ridiculous as that sounds. I was an awkward kid. lol. I was a little more mature in my thought process or the things I liked to do, like playing scrabble for fun at seven years old. I hated running, dirt, grass, any sport or game that involved a ball, lol. So I wasn’t exactly the crowd favourite at the playground. I kinda loved school cause, it wasn’t like tag, or catch or any of those other games where I was never picked to be on a team or anything like that. I didn’t need anyone else. Math in particular became my best friend. I am so weird, I would just do math problems to pass time and I actually really liked it. It was thrilling to get a new problem or conquer a problem ahead of my grade level, teach myself something new, catch a mistake my teacher made in her notes or whatever. I just really liked studying, and reading, and doing math problems, or learning something new about the way things worked. Until the love for this stuff became my only outlet and I couldn’t keep getting perfect grades or being the best student. I began to equate even the smallest failure in school with my ability to accomplish real world things even though I was still a really good student just not a straight A+ student. Crazy, I know.
I managed to get through my initial part of my post-graduate education with an B+/A- average but I am unable to even feel good about it. Last week I got these results for this huge exam I did after studying for it EXCLUSIVELY for the last 6/7 months. When I say exclusively, I am not exaggerating lol. No gym. No dating (not that there was ever much of that to begin with). No hobbies. Rarely eating proper meals cause who had time to cook. Little if any family interaction. No shopping. No nothing. Just studying 8am to 11pm everyday, seven days a week for 6months. I used breaks between studying to do laundry and grocery shop lol. I was so engrossed in trying to know as much as I could as possible to make sure I could do my best on this stupid test. I was afraid to allow myself to enjoy the process. It was pure insanity how much I drowned myself in this stuff. So now, the results are out and guess what, I passed, but barely and, I should be grateful, but I am not. For a while I was so focused on what I should have done more of, maybe studying longer, maybe I needed to take fewer breaks, maybe I needed to ask for more advice about what method of study I should have used, etc. When I realized that was not humanly possible because I had done all those things, I decided maybe I just wasn’t cut out to do this anymore. Maybe It wasn’t for me. All because I didn’t get a great score on one test. Granted, it was a pretty big one, but just one.
Now I’m trying to accept what has happened and find positives in this situation. Also to learn that this one simple setback, although it could have been much worse, doesn’t define my whole future. It doesn’t mean I won’t have a good successful career or that I can’t be great at what I do just because I’m not THE BEST in this instance. I’m finding that being the best at something can be relative. It’s based on your perspective or what you think is the most important. As human beings the beauty in us is that we are made flawed. So to be the best for me right now, means knowing and accepting my short comings and not allowing them to cripple my strengths. I also have to have confidence that these short comings aren’t insurmountable and room for improvement just highlights room for growth. Not a bad thing at all I think.