advice, life, thoughts, university

Did you get the new software update?

I have this weird habit where I like to refer to myself as a robot. For example, after I finished my first exam and began preparing for the next one, I talked about needing to wipe my “hard-drive” and needing to “reinstall” the information from the new module. My flatmates had the pleasure of watching me physically act out the “de-installment” process (what can I say, I am a joy to live with).

I am not sure how this robot rhetoric began but I am pretty sure it has something to do with an in joke my sister and I had as kids growing up. Referring to something abstract to represent something real can be helpful in making it seem manageable. We associated robots with efficiency so I think that has something to do with it too.

Whilst catching up with her a few weeks ago I jokingly asked:

Did you get the new software update?

By that, I meant that I had learnt a lot about myself over the past few weeks therefore, I was wondering if she had similar thoughts too. I consider my two sisters my fellow “collaborators” in life. We have a group chat where we discuss what is going on and how our “software updates” have affected or changed us.

It is so important to keep evolving.

For example, as much as I hate it when I get that notification on my laptop that “windows 10 needs updating” I know that it will most likely make my laptop faster. It always comes at the wrong time and takes so much time to wait for it to finish. However, the longer I put it off, the slower my laptop gets and the more likely it is that problems will arise.

For instance, problems with my laptop partly caused by not updating it made it crash the day before for my contract law coursework deadline a couple of years ago. I lost the essay and had just a day to completely rewrite what had initially taken me months to prepare. Failing to update can have disastrous consequences.

This is the same thing that happens to us. Sometimes we need to stop and make sure we are learning from our mistakes. And we need to be purposeful about it to avoid stagnation and to ensure that we are not doing the same thing again and again and expecting a different outcome.

Back in Primary school the teachers would always ask: “so what did you learn from that?” after finishing any activity. At the time I found it incredibly annoying. Retrospectively, I was most likely thinking: “Yo, Miss, I am 8 years old, I just want to have a good time“. However, most things that happen in life do have a “learning moment”.

I know most people would prefer the “I am here for a good time, not a long time” mantra. Whilst it is truly important to live within and enjoy the moment, failing to see how each moment sits within the wider context of our lives is simply self-destructive.

Now for different people this might manifest itself in different ways and it is also dependant on which part of your life you are trying to grow in.

For example, for me when it comes to relationships whether personal in a romantic or friendship context, or whether it is professional be it academic or career related, I have a list of “non-negotiables”. These are the fundamental things that have to be there or things that I am unwilling to compromise on. This list is based on past experiences and things I have learnt – it allows me to keep evolving.

Likewise, when it comes to my goals I try to ensure that I have short-term plan which could be as simple as what I plan to accomplish within a day and long-term ones which can span over years. As I learn and experience new things, these goals evolve. Similarly, what I value over the years has changed dramatically over the years as I learn what really makes for a fulfilling life for me.

These are just a few key ways that I try to keep evolving and ensure my “software” is updated. They make sure I am not running on an old and outdated system. Just because I did a particular thing or did things a certain way in the past, does not mean that it is a good option for me now. Likewise, taking time to have those learning moments allows you to communicate who you are better. For example, I have had to redefine a lot of relationships with people over the year for this reason.

My advice for you all is just to make sure you keep moving forward. It is okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Take a moment to pause and really think about what you are doing, where you have come from and where you want go. Be honest with yourself and keep striving for personal growth.

It’s just me, Dammy, rebooting my system…

xxx

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