“I can’t win”

I’ve decided gamification has gone too far. Why? Because I find I’m constantly saying “I can’t win.” What can’t I win? Life. And really, how do you win at life? What is “winning”?

This semester (year?) has been super stressful. It feels like for all the progress I’ve made (and I have made a lot of progress), it doesn’t feel like enough. And I feel like I can’t figure out what to do next.

It’s been so stressful, that I just feel like I can’t succeed. Which is what I really mean when I say “I can’t win.” That things aren’t working out. That I don’t know what to do next. I don’t know what step I need to take to “win.”

But, I have to say, my own terminology is driving me nuts. And every time I hear that phrase leave my mouth or enter my thoughts it drives me nuts. Because it reminds me, that even though things are stressful, that I’m looking at the problems in the wrong way. That I’m not focusing on trying to find solutions. Or even just potential ideas or thoughts, that may or may not lead to solutions. That I’m too focused on the ‘end game’ and am losing sight of what’s important. Of why I started grad school in the first place.

And what is that? That research is fun. That grad school is about getting a chance to explore ideas and thoughts that others haven’t yet. That it’s about learning (and often failing along the way). That a large part of the degree is about the experience along the way. And that I need to be less focused on how things will finish, and just trust that if I continue as I have been, that they will.

I know, a lot of that reads as way easier written than done. Trust me. I’m needing to remind myself of this constantly. Because as stressed as I’ve been, I need to figure out a way to make this whole experience less stressful. And part of that is going to come from not fixating on the ‘end’ so much. And trying to get back to just enjoying the journey.

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