Ten of Wands

According to biddytarot.com:

The Ten of Wands serves as a reminder of how much we take on in our lives and all the extra burdens and responsibilities we weigh ourselves down with. We take on so much, trying to do all the things that need to be done. Thus, this card asks you to stop and examine your current lifestyle or work. Assess which activities or tasks are really urgent or really important, particularly in relation to your broader goals. You may need to employ various time management or prioritisation methods in order to determine where best to spend your time and which tasks you can drop. Your goal needs to be greater efficiency, whilst also freeing yourself up for rest and relaxation when you need it.
This card can also mean that you are being oppressed by outside sources. You are over-worked, over-tired and over-stimulated. You have more on your plate than you can possibly handle and you have taken on too much at this point in time. In an effort to get to the finish line, you have found yourself overwhelmed with the extra responsibility and activity. You need to stop working so hard. If you cannot stop, then conserve your energy and pace yourself. When you are over-committed everything becomes a strain.

Yep. That’s where I am right now. There is so much that I want to do on top of the things that I need to do. The thing is: which of these things are “wants” and which ones are “needs?” Sure, I’m in college right now, and my main focus should be on my studies, but how can I focus on my studies when there is so much else that I need to focus on?

That is why I have decided to file an “Incomplete” for all three of my classes. That is why I’ve created this blog. Education is vital for my success, but at this moment in my life, it cannot and should not be my primary focus.

I have struggled in the education system ever since I entered it as a small pre-schooler. I do things my way, which is all too often in conflict with the fast-paced lifestyle we are forced into today where productivity and quick results are more important than self-discovery and enlightenment.

For 20 years, I had struggled blindly with ADHD. This resulted in years of depression and anxiety (which, of course, made the complications from the ADHD worse). ADDitude has a great list of the symptoms that women especially suffer from, and when I read it the first time in Spring 2016, my life turned around completely. I finally had a way to describe my shortcomings and failures–and I stopped looking at these things as shortcomings and failures. Now that I know I am not battling myself, but a neurological disorder, I feel so much more empowered and capable of achieving whatever I want. However, change doesn’t happen overnight, and there are many behaviors that I developed as a way to cope with my ADHD and depression that ultimately have harmed my ability to progress.

At the same time, I love ADHD. The only problem is that we live in a society that is built almost completely at odds with how life works best for us. If it wasn’t for the ADHD, I wouldn’t have made this blog, I wouldn’t have started an Etsy, and I wouldn’t know what I do today. I love having so many interests and all of this curiosity and passion. But too often, life gets in the way.

I finally got diagnosed in December 2016. This was just as important as discovering that I might have ADHD, because when I didn’t have the diagnosis, I would continuously question myself. “What if I actually am just lazy? What if it’s not ADHD? What if I’m just a failure by my own undoing?” Luckily, I didn’t have to deal with this for too long, and after 20 years of blaming myself for these problems, it was still better to sometimes think, “Maybe none of this is my fault.” It was extremely liberating.

That being said, I also entered the busiest time in my life in January 2017. I had gone from a year of having practically nothing to do in work or school to suddenly spending 45+ hours (over the course of 10 weeks) in practicum while taking three classes and working 6 hours a week in theatre. Luckily I finally had a prescription for the ADHD and I had recently started taking the right antidepressant, but it was still too much to bear.

But I really need to give myself credit. I was far more emotionally stable during Winter Term ’17 than ever before in my life and I was unlearning so many patterns and behaviors that had sabotaged my efforts for years. Even though I had to take an Incomplete and even though my professor gave me a hard time about it, I had achieved a huge milestone toward success. I’m taking three Incompletes this term, and that’s okay too. I need this time to listen to my body and spirit and give my mind some much-needed rest. I am an almost entirely different person compared to who I was last summer, not to mention the year prior.

College doesn’t have to be a straight shot where I start in 2014 and end four years later in 2018. I’ve decided that I am going to take all the time I need in order to graduate and become a professional teacher.

I am extremely privileged and lucky to have the ability to extend my time in college. I do have financial aid in scholarships, grants, and loans, and I will likely need to be on part-time status for a few terms, but I am so thankful that I can just lay low for a while. I will be working this summer, but even that will give me a break from the stuff that’s been so stressful.

This is going to be a great summer. This is the first summer that I’ve spent away from my home in the suburbs, because now I have an apartment near campus. I’m going to spend my time working on a schedule and routine while learning how to meditate and cook a bunch of yummy and nutritious things (and after I freeze some of it, I won’t feel so stressed while cooking during the actual school year when it starts up again in September).

I can do this!!!! And if you’re struggling with similar issues, you can do it too!

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