Wednesday, September 15, 2010

If Only I'd Known

I hear a lot of my fellow students complain about test anxiety. For the most part I'd rather take a test than do homework. (which I almost never did anyway) There was a time when I struggled with one particular test and that was what I think was my first taste of living in the moment, or at least being told to.

When I was in second grade learning multiplication tables we had a series of worksheets with all the permutations of 1 x 1 up to 10 x 10; 100 problems total. The kicker was it was timed. What a thing to do to a kid.

So of course, only being like seven and not the most confident of children, I freaked and clammed up. 100 problems is a mind-blowing number for someone so young.

The way my mom told me to deal with it was for me to cover up all of the problems I hadn't done and just focus on the one at hand. Sure I was pretty precocious, but this was still a pretty high concept.

Somehow I got through it, but even today as I write this I can remember very recent examples of me being overwhelmed by a heavy To-do list. Like building my sailboat, I'd spend tons of time planning out what I'd do the next opportunity I had to work on it. I'd get out there and just stare at it. That big project helped me grow a lot in that way. It's still not completely done, but it's been out on the water twice. (maybe in the water is a better description)

While it's been almost two years since then and I haven't been overwhelmed recently, I don't even try to assume I'm over it. My practice has definitely influenced my ability to deal with situations, sure, but it's a hard habit to break.

Just like AA taking one day at a time, learning to take these stressful situations one step at a time is what practice is supposed to help with. The hesitation and fear of entering into situations I must face but can't control will still stick with me no matter what, it's part of being human.

Second grade was a long time ago and that lesson has taken a lot longer to sink in than it took me to memorize multiplication tables, (which I still have to calculate every once in a while) but it's been far more valuable.

No comments:

Post a Comment