A Resolution, Of Sorts
Some might call me a workaholic.
I am always on the move, always have a jam-packed schedule. On the go from sun up to sundown, like a farmer. Glamourous.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t have two jobs.
I have worked 50+ hour weeks for my past three summers off of school.
I don’t quit and, for the most part, I’m proud of that.
However, after years and years of continuing to push myself further and further, and a semester of college that seemed determined to end me, I finally kind of lost it.
Nothing big or interesting, sorry. I didn’t throw my computer out the window to stick it to corporate America or cuss out that professor who was being a jackass all semester or try and pick a fight with someone twice my size for looking at me the wrong way in the library after having my fourth consecutive iced coffee.
But I did fall into something like a rough patch. I stopped looking on the bright side—a quality of mine I have always found valuable. I didn’t really feel anything, good or bad. I went on autopilot. I just kept moving although I really didn’t feel there anymore.
Nothing really made me laugh. I would wake up before my alarm and dread the moment it would go off, feeling incapable of facing another day like this. And then I would roll out of bed and coast through another day.
My writing fell by the wayside. I just didn’t have the words, I had nothing. And that made everything twice as worse too.
My diet became exclusively pizza rolls and/or anything else I could throw in the oven for 12–14 minutes and then eat in a mug in front of my laptop.
I had been going too hard for too long; long days at school, nights full of homework and projects, the spare time between classes spent in the office working, and weekends taken up by part-time jobs.
Something I only just realized about myself is that I feel like I don’t deserve anything that has happened to me. I am lucky enough to have been able to move from my hometown to the bustling city of Chicago where I am studying the subject I love in a school that scrapes the sky. I have two jobs that I love and am constantly meeting people who could take me far in my field and help me to go somewhere after the much-awaited (and sometimes much-dreaded) graduation day. I am happy, for the most part.
And I have convinced myself over time that I don’t deserve any of that. That I don’t deserve to be where I am doing what I do and loving it. That I found a loophole—caught the universe on a day it wasn’t looking and snuck my way in.
And I think I have also convinced myself that the day I take a break is the day that the universe realizes it has made a mistake and takes it all away from me. That the minute I allow myself a moment of rest is the moment I wake up back in the twin bed with the band posters on the walls in a town that holds no prospects and no happiness for me. I am afraid of losing it all.
So, I push myself. I burn the candle at both ends. I go and go and go until I can’t anymore, all to prevent an event that I created in my own head.
I have never been the smartest or the prettiest or the funniest person in a room. I haven’t ever been the most creative or the most successful or the person with the best grades. I’ve never been the best at math. And I’m never ever going to be. I have never had a solid, tangible thing to hold and say “This. This is why I’m here,” to justify my place in the world.
But not being the most anything in the room doesn’t mean that you don’t deserve to have the things you have achieved. It doesn’t mean that you didn’t deserve to achieve them.
Not being the most anything in the room doesn’t make all of your hard work obsolete.
Hard work and meeting goals are important but never allowing yourself a minute to breathe isn’t going to make everything disappear either. You might just end up losing parts of yourself over it.
So, take it from someone who seems deathly allergic to taking breaks: Allow yourself days off. Allow yourself time to relax and recharge. I don’t know what sorts of crazy things your psyches have cooked up, but, in the new year, try your best to overcome the things keeping you from allowing yourself days off.
Let yourself sit on the couch and binge Marvel movies on the weekends. Allow yourself to relax when out with friends—you’re not “wasting time,” you’re having fun, which is just as important. Don’t shy away from much-needed rest.
It is something I myself will be working on in the new year: taking the time I need to just be a person. I don’t think it’s going to be all that easy, but I like to think I’ll thank myself for it later.
At least, I will until they figure out how to put our brains into robot bodies and stuff. Then we’ll never be tired or stressed or overwhelmed. This advice is relevant until then.