The other side

There will always be another side to everything.

2020, for many, and in general, has been anything but good. For the sake of your and my well-being, I would take the liberty of not listing them down. As the year is approaching its end, I can’t help but look back and I could definitely say that as bad as this “perfect vision” year has been (clearly an understatement), it has been full of good things we would have never thought as “good” if it was not for 2020. Here’s some of my take on the other side of 2020.

My feelings on entering my final year in university was nothing short of burden. I did not perform as well as I could on the previous year. I was embarrassed from failing to meet expectations. Yet it was more of a personal battle which made me feeling listless of sort. All my life, I devoted my time to learning and improving myself. Don’t get me wrong – I love it. I love reading, I love watching documentaries, I love learning. However, the exhaustion – mentally and emotionally – from matters out of my university life took a toll on me and I had no idea it did until the semester early this year. Long story short – I failed. Big time. This brought ideas like “I could have studied more..” and something related, but it affected me deeper than that.

“What have I been doing with my life all this time?”

It came after months of thinking what could have gone wrong with me. I will spare you of the endless cycle of my questions, but the realisation was an accumulation of years of insecurities and an account of my too-straightforward and simple way of living that is: my life revolved around my studies. You can take that in a literal sense. I failed in my studies, what can I possibly do? I spent the summer after taking more courses out of fear that if I don’t keep on studying, I would lose whatever I have left. With that mindset, it obviously did not turn out well either. The following months were filled with harsh criticisms I gave myself, thoughts, emotions and imaginations too painful and heavy to bear.

As summer was about to end and the day I begin my final year was drawing close, my part-time job manager offered me a full-time work for the rest of the month before I start the school again. I straightforwardly said no in my head. What can I possibly do? I have proven myself incapable to function normally as a human being for good two months and now someone is asking me to take on a responsibility big enough to stress a normally functional individual. Do I want to embarrass myself more? Of course not.

Eventually, I accepted the offer for the sake of the salary. Little did I know how much this decision would change the rest of my 2020. The work was basically everything I dreaded. Early mornings six times a week, being cheerful and energetic five to six hours a day, preparing powerpoint presentations for online classes.. goodness gracious. Yet in this span of time, I fixed my years of bad (pfft) sleeping habits. For one, I had to get up early for work and two, putting on a big smile, speaking energetically and literally pulling my hair to stay patient was too taxing I pass out on the sofa whenever I arrive home. It slowly rebuilt my self-esteem, too. The satisfaction from finishing tasks and appearing prepared and organised for lessons were like warm hugs telling myself you can. The compliments I was receiving gave me even more warm hugs. A similar experience might have been just “fine” and “it was nice” for others, but it was the best experience I would never get tired of reminiscing. It will constantly be one of the reasons why 2020 is a great year for me.

The semester began and I resolved to take things more carefully. With the purpose of avoiding any possible triggers to my self-hatred and memories of the past semester, I managed my workload and schedule: limiting myself to one reading or one task, forcing myself to walk or exercise, accepting invites I probably would have never considered saying yes to. Everything was manageable so far, though the fear of going down the spiral has constantly plagued my mind.

If the beginning of the semester was a training to pass the course get your shit together on your own will, the midterms was the real battle. Believe me or not, I was scared shit opening Microsoft Word. No jokes. And believe me, I was shaking from the relief, and happiness, and unreality of actually finishing an essay a day away from the deadline. I rode the momentum and eventually passed through the midterm season with no deadline fighting under my records. Same goes for my presentations. Same goes for finals. Whew.

My last first semester has ended. As I prepare for my final deadline with a whole week to do it, I am proud to say I am proud of myself. It is something I could claim with my whole heart. The results of everything I’ve worked on ever since was all very satisfactory to me. It wasn’t just “I’m glad I’m done”, but “I’m happy with my work”. Out of all the shit people and time and circumstances have put me through, it taught me I can not only manage, I am fully capable.

That’s the other side my 2020. What’s yours?