Today's Facebook status:
I have finally decided what my theme for this year (or life stage) is: The Year of Unorganizing.
That is, I'm working towards becoming more productive and achieving more of my goals, but without freaking out about the process by which I accomplish them, or whether I am Doing It Right. If that means my projects get done at 4am instead of 9pm, and I'm still getting enough sleep, for example, who cares?
So far, what I've been finding is that when I take that pressure off to Be Responsible or to Do Things The Right Way, I actually get more done, and with less stress. And when I make changes, it's because I want to do something differently, and not because the way I'm doing things now is wrong. And I only need to use systems that work for me, easily and naturally (Yay, Google Calendar Tasks, yay, UFYH), instead of trying to conform to ones that don't.
And I'm also not worrying if I can keep this up, because not worrying about things like that is sort of the point.
What I am feeling is like I can accomplish things again, that I can reclaim whatever ground was lost during this last decade of angsting over my academic career, that I don't have to bear that burden any more. And the not having to contort myself or my life to fit into the mold of Right Behavior is a big part of it. So my files for this last year aren't filed beyond being in a pile of stuff in a box - not a disaster. It's easily fixable, if I feel it matters, and right now I don't. Staying up late until 3 or 4 am, and sleeping until one as a result? This is no longer "bad"; instead, it's more that if I go to bed earlier I can have more daylight time for getting stuff done. Or instead of fretting about how messy the kitchen is, I set it up so it's not messy, and easy to keep that way. Small things like that, little successes, that add up to a feeling of being more in control than I've been in a long time, and less fretful and guilty about not pulling my weight, about always being a failure, and so on. It's too simplistic to say that if I'm capable of making the bed every morning I'm capable of getting my larger shit together too, but there's something in it (thanks, UFYH lady!).
This isn't to say making those changes is easy. It's still a struggle to neaten things, to eat enough food every day, to get out and get some exercise, to do chores and tasks and whatnot. But what's different is that I feel less inclined to beat myself up for it, and more a sense of acceptance followed by a desire to do better. It's that desire that's the key thing. Before the motivation behind change was a need to not fail, or a fear of failing, or of being a failure - a negative stance or a protective one, in other words, rather than an optimistic one.
I'm very glad to be moving out of that space.