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Coming to terms with NOT having it all together

Written by QCMHA member, Keaton Loupelle

Safe to say this year has been unprecedented. I remember reading a tweet a little while ago that said, “I miss ‘precedented’ times,” which gave me a good laugh, but also made me realize that this is unequivocally one of most bizarre, and severely unprecedented times of my life, of all of our lives.

Throughout quarantine I’ve seen hundreds (no exaggeration) of articles carefully outlining how to use this time to my advantage, to better myself, to take care of myself, to stay organized, motivated, etc.; the list goes on and on. So after some seriously introspective analysis, after watching my fifth Dawson’s Creek episode of the day, I analyzed myself. I’ll be the first one to publicly admit that I do not have it all together, and there have been moments during this pandemic where my stress levels reached new heights. I had to seriously focus on myself and mental health if I was going to make it out of this time in my life with even an ounce of brain power left.

While these articles about bettering yourself are immensely helpful, and do offer a great deal of insight as to how to take care of yourself, they can be intimidating. Throughout quarantine I watched all four of my older siblings working out, eating healthy, developing a routine, while I sat in my room and binge watched New Girl and Glee. I started to get so down on myself, punishing myself for my lack of effort, and I started to spiral. There was a good month where I was so stressed about the fact that I wasn’t bettering myself or taking care of myself, that I neglected my selfcare even further.

Then I thought about me, and what I needed, and I took a good portion of time to come to terms with the fact that I do not, be any means, have it all together, and that’s okay.

My first step to coming terms with this was difficult. I had to remind myself that things people share, the articles, and Instagram posts, whatever, are the best of the best of their lives right now. If you take a look at my Instagram for example, I have not made a single post about how I procrastinated my three assignments until the very last minute by watching TikToks for hours. As soon as I came to terms with the fact that the things people say, and even the things people share in conversation, are just the tip of the iceberg, I realized very few people do in fact have it all together right now, and so I was a little less hard on myself.

My next step was acknowledging the parts of my life that I do, somewhat, have together; it’s a short list but I’m working on it. I acknowledged that I had really good relationships with my friends and family right now, which seems minor at first, but in reality is major to me. I acknowledge that while I procrastinate heavily, I still manage to get the work done, and do well, and I’m proud of myself for that. I’m proud that I can acknowledge when I’m in my own head and need to take a break from everything (even if I do take a few too many breaks). And, most importantly, I acknowledged that despite the stuff that I don’t have together, I have somehow remained hopeful and optimistic through most of this weird, pandemic, time.

My final step of coming to terms with the fact that I do not have it all together, was outlining the areas in my life that need some renovation. Believe me I haven’t come close to improving any of these areas in my life, but, as they say, the first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem. I started writing down three things that went well in my day, and three things that I have to work on. I miss days here and there, so even that I need to work on. The good things are usually small, for instance, on November 8th I wrote down that one of the “good things” was listening to a podcast about Good Will Hunting (incredible podcast by the way), and the bad things are always the same: “Keaton: get outside more, eat healthier, procrastinate less). In all honesty, I have slowly been getting better.

Acknowledging that I don’t have it together (and probably never will), has weirdly helped me get it together, slowly I might add, but slow and steady wins the race, right? I watch T.V. shows when I should be studying (if you need a new show I highly recommend The Queen’s Gambit), I take naps when I should be exercising, and I definitely eat chips and salsa way more than the average person. But it’s okay. So if you’re even remotely like me in this sense, and if you do not have it all together it is okay. This is one of the most unconventional and unfamiliar times of our lives.

Give yourself some grace, I know I’ve given myself and abundance of it, be proud of the things you do have together, and don’t worry too much about the things you don’t. Personally, I’m not going to be too hard on myself to have it all together until we’re back in precedented times again.

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