Eleven Days and Counting

There are still 111 days until the semester ends and already I feel defeated.

I’m scouring my mind for words to elaborate, but that line seems to say everything I can muster at the moment. I came in anxious, and the first week assuaged some of my stress; then things picked up a little in the second week, and though I can honestly say I’ve had a few great accomplishments and some greater experiences since the semester began only eleven days ago, I sit here with the sad realization I already feel defeated.

Where did I go wrong? When did my plans fall apart?

Keep a calendar, I said. Last semester I fell behind in almost everything–so a calendar will help. Now I’ve got a calendar. In fact, I’ve got two. And I’m using them. And it feels good. But even though everything is penciled in precisely, at the end of the day–and I do mean the end of the day–it doesn’t matter what’s still left to be done, I have no energy left to do it.

Relax for an hour a week, I said. But what does that look that? Sitting still, doing nothing is torture for me. My mind is most relaxed when active; idleness drives me insane. I need active relaxation. And where can I fit a whole hour in anyways? Maybe just ten minutes a day, I thought; that should work. So I download Kindle for my iPhone and read some Sherlock Holmes before class begins, but even Mary Morstan can’t keep me calm.

Write in my journal, I said. I have no morning classes Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; I can wake up early and write then. But then I’m so exhausted the night before I can’t wake up early, and when I do get up, if I’m not getting ready for class, I’m studying, working on homework, or trying to catch up in other things.

The worst is when I give myself a moment of time, a genuine moment to thrust myself into something creative, something rejuvenating, something just for me–and then someone interrupts me and all that calmness turns to calamity.

And when I plan to be social, I’m too distracted by all those things I should be doing instead that I can’t enjoy it as much as I should–or as much as I want to.

So I feel defeated.

I don’t think I’ve had restful sleep the past two nights–and the nights before, when it was restful, it still wasn’t enough. I spend the first half of my day in a daze, barely able to wake up enough to breathe. I have a brief period of activity in the afternoons, but when I get back to my room, when I’ve got time to commit to homework–and often homework that’s due the next day–I can’t focus to read, I can’t think to write proofs, I can’t even remember basic definitions or figure out where to begin.

I know, deep down, I am capable of doing this. I know I’m a gifted student with remarkable potential and capability. I know I’m a strong leader with passionate determination to make a difference and positively impact my community. And I know I’m a committed friend, and a loving and compassionate boyfriend, and I am perpetually surrounded by those who love me (even when I’d rather be alone).

But deeper down, far past my self-assuredness, I’m the timid little boy who lacks confidence and any self-esteem whatsoever. I’m afraid all these ideas and beliefs about myself are only ideas–hypotheses that cannot be tested, theories lacking logical proofs.

Somewhere deeper (if deeper I can go), there’s a quiet voice, barely audible, its soft vibrations a subtle tingling in the base of my spine, that tells me I’m okay–I can make mistakes, I can take risks, I can spread myself too thin and still come back again. And more, this little voice says, despite all these things–all my fears and doubts and trepidation–I will rise to the occasion, I will fight to succeed, and in the end, no matter how it turns out, I will have done the best I can–and sometimes that’s the most important part.

Then this voice whispers quietly, so near to silence perhaps I only imagine it, again and again, no matter what tomorrow brings, today is good. No matter what happens in ten minutes or even in five, in this instant, everything is wonderful–just the way it’s meant to be. There is love. There is life. There is light.

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