You know that thing that sometimes happens when you’re about to fall asleep but then all of a sudden you feel like you’re falling, you jerk violently, and you’re wide awake again? That’s how I feel when I realize I have forgotten something.
I don’t usually forget things; I’m a reasonably organized person and I have systems that I use to keep on top of things.
Every now and then, though, the occasional task slips through the cracks. One such occasion was just a little while ago. I’m taking this really interesting Legal Workshops course; I get to attend a few workshops at the Faculty of Law throughout the year. At the beginning of September, I chose the workshops I was interested in and signed up. I marked the workshops I signed up to attend in my calendar. I put them on my phone. You may have guessed, however, that I recently missed one.
I don’t really know how it happened. I guess I was just preoccupied with other assignments and commitments—it was midterms week—and the workshop completely slipped my mind.
The whole thing made me really upset; I actually cried about it. I CRIED. (That may have had something to do with the aforementioned midterm stress, but I digress).
Forgetting the workshop made me feel really stupid; I looked at my calendar the night before and somehow I still managed to forget it? Wow, I’m such an airhead. I’m so irresponsible. Now I have to e-mail my prof and see if I can sign up for another workshop and I don’t even have a good excuse for why I missed it and this is so embarrassing and I just want to sink into a hole and…
…So on and so forth.
Maybe you think I’m being dramatic; I think that I was being dramatic, too. I e-mailed my prof and she got back to me really quickly. She was very understanding and I have since been to a replacement workshop. Problem solved?
In a way, yes. At the same time, there is an underlying problem here that needs addressing. I need to re-evaluate how I react to forgetting things. Instead of looking for potential solutions, my knee-jerk reaction was self-loathing. That’s not good. It’s not healthy and it’s not productive.
Maybe you can relate to that jolt-to-the-heart sensation that you get when you realize you have forgotten something or to that awful self-loathing that comes after the realization.
I’m here to tell you that if you flaked on a study date, missed a meeting, or even forgot a due date, it’s okay. In the immortal words of Hannah Montana, nobody’s perfect. Don’t beat yourself up about it; that’s just wasted energy. Instead, expend that energy solving the problem. Apologize profusely for making your friend sit in that Robarts study room all alone—sending a cute cat gif would be a nice touch. Put some time in to compensate for the meeting you missed. E-mail your professor, let them know the situation, and get started on that late assignment straight away!
The only way you’re going to feel better about forgetting something is by fixing the problem that the forgetting created. Once that’s done, you can forget about the whole thing!