something like summer

Summer never feels like summer if I’m at home. At home I feel trapped, stagnant, and unable to grow. I get stuck in the same complacent mindset of idly going through life that doesn’t lead me to growth or development. In my mind, my summers should be full of  long plane rides, traveling, speaking another language, and returning home a better person than when I left.

These delicious tasty morsels are called maamoul (transliterating Arabic is hard). I can’t think of any sort of comparable American treat that is like maamoul, but it’s date paste or walnuts wrapped in a flaky, crumbly dough. Since Eid is family time, last night we made a lot of maamoul. Our host mother (bless her heart, she’s amazing) made all of the date paste and the dough, and let us put all the decorations for the maamoul. Usually, you stick to one design for the ones filled with dates and another for the ones filled with nuts, but our host mother lovingly called the diverse designs we made for all of them “American Jordanian” maamoul.

This time last summer I was back in Jordan. At this time I was celebrating Ramadan with my host family, stammering through sentences in Classical Arabic. Everyday was so fresh and exciting. But not every summer can be traveling and fun and pleasant. Sometimes the summer is for work and being challenged and not having a rest for not even a second. The thought of all the things I need to do almost makes me seize with anxiety. So much of the VERY IMPORTANT THINGS I have to do are connected directly with my goals for my life.

This summer is for thinking about my future and I’m tired. Well, I’m always tired, summer really has nothing to do with it. I’m tired of school and homework and actual work and having things to do and nothing to do. It’s a kind of tired that sits in your bones. The kind of tired where you can get a full night sleep and still say “Man I am tired.” And because I’m a glutton for punishment and there is no rest for the weary, I’m gonna keep being tired this summer.
I have to work on my thesis so I can prove to grad schools that I’m a good candidate for a PhD and then I need to start studying for the GRE so I can get into grad school, and I need to start working on my applications for grad school and I need to get fit so I feel more confident for when I’m in grad school and I needtoineedtoineedto.

There are so many things that I want to do…have to do to be the person that I want to be and have the success that I’ve imagined since I was a teenager. While this mindset has been beneficial in that I’ve achieved a lot of successes, it’s also really challenging. I deal with a lot of self-doubt, any sort of setback feels monumental, and comparing myself to other people.

Since I began college, I’ve been on a journey to maintain my high standards, but also chill out on the self-hate that comes with being a perfectionist/having anxiety/not willing to compromise on my goals.

It’s okay not to be perfect

It took my a long time to realize that it’s okay not to be perfect. It’s okay for my plans to go off of my planned path. It’s all okay. Getting a grade that I’m not happy or is lower than I anticipated in a class is not going to destroy my future.
In the moment, it can honestly feel like one setback is all encompassing and is setting a downward trend for your life (especially if your me), but in the long run, these moments are insignificant and only determine as much as you let them.

Change how you define success

Like last year, the way I defined success was perfection. Progress wasn’t good enough, like if I did something it needed to be perfect. This way of thinking tbh will make you hate yourself in a second. Instead try to focus on the things you learned in the process or find joy in something you learned along the way.

Literally chill

Chilling out is great. For my own mental health, being in a gottagofast gottadoallthethings mindset is not conducive to my overall physical, mental, and social health. If I’m putting all my energy into one thing, it means I can’t put energy in all the other things that are important to my health.

I’m still working on it though. Especially this summer when so much of what I’m doing is laying the foundation for my future and I really to be more balanced in all aspects of my health.

How has your summer been? Let me know in the comments or on twitter @noireandco