A few weeks ago, I was on vacation... thinking about what makes a vacation a vacation.
I don't know what it's like for you, but lately I've been running into a bunch of articles that say something along the lines of: "The secret to a happy life is to treat your weekends not just as 'days you don't work' but more like a 'vacation'!" which got me thinking a bit.
I haven't had a really nice vacation in a while.
Not too long ago, I've been on vacation where my phone would not stop buzzing (unfortunately my work didn't have a work phone vs. personal phone distinction so all the work texts came to my personal cellphone. And this was during my 5th year anniversary trip with my partner). It was frightening to even imagine the number of work message notifications on my phone. More recently, I've been on vacation where the fear of missing out kicked in and I was frightened for almost the entire time - despite the fact that there was not a ton of work accumulating while I was gone.
So when I think of "vacation" my mind defaults to: "Oh, you mean that dread?"
What made me look forward to the holidays before I started dreading them?
I decided to jot down a list of things that bring me joy (and this will continue to grow as I remember more things and discover things that I like):
Did your vacation turn into something to dread before? What brings you joy?
I have been on a journey of healing since late 2018. Six months later, I think I can say that I have made progress (yay!). There is one thing that I improved over the first six months of 2019 - forgiving myself and others.
Believe it or not, I was a professional grudge holder in my childhood. Every time I felt wronged by my parents or friends or even strangers, I would hold onto that resentment for years. And every time I felt I wronged myself - by failing to be perfect - I would also hold onto that as well. That was my habit for the past 20 years or so, and I am starting to break out of it. I am starting to genuinely believe the following statement:
I am doing what I can with the information I have at the time.
I understand that the information I have is usually incomplete. It can be completely wrong. As a result, I can make mistakes not necessarily due to bad judgement but because the premises I believed in were simply not true. In the past six months, I realized that I have beaten myself up enough (isn't 20 years enough?) and that I have better things to do now - to be kind to others (most notably, the 400 students I advise as part of my current job).
My message to current students: for many, university is often the place where you discover your interests that you've never even thought about before, and totally different from what you initially thought you would do. (Once upon a time, I was a biology major. I thought I was going into biochemistry. Instead I discovered the Cognitive Systems Program at UBC and ended up transferring into UBC to major in COGS.) You may find yourself thinking, "I should have known I wanted to do X instead of Y - then I could have taken courses that count towards getting a degree in X instead of Y". It is easy and tempting to beat yourself up, but be kind. You were using your best judgement. You still are.
You are doing what you can with the information you have at the time.
I'm Candice and I doodle with the intensity of the doomguy.