Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Striving for Success or Striving for Stress?

Oh, my dearest blog, how I've missed thee!

I don't know why I felt that my busy schedule would "calm down" after the summer. Life has, in fact, gotten busier with classes starting. So busy, in fact, I had to leave class just now to because I thought my time might be better spent studying for said class.

This all got me to thinking about how often we keep ourselves so busy. And, I'm starting to wonder: as a society are striving for success or are we striving for stress? Here's what I mean:

Back in my good ol' undergrad days, it always seemed like a competition when people were having conversations about how overwhelmed they were. The conversations would go something like this:

Person A: Oh, hey how's it goin?
Person B: Good! Got an Orgo test tomorrow though, so I'm, like, dying
Person A: Aw man, yeah I got to finish this 20-page paper and I haven't even started yet
Person B: Another late night in the library!
Person A: ha I, like, live in the library these days.
Person B: Me too! But, I gotta go to yet another meeting right quick, so I'll see you later
Person A: Yeah okay, see ya.

Disclaimer: the above was totally paraphrased, and the only person I know who uses the word "like" that much is me...so maybe that was more typical of a conversation I would have had. In fact...I did have this conversation once. I was Person B who always seemed to have some sort of meeting the day before a big test...

Anyway, you all get my point. It's like, we feel proud to have loads of work to do and an insufficient amount of time to do it.

Actually - case and point: I was watching the news one night, and they highlighted this kid who plays football and cheers, which is agreeably no small feat. But, this is what they continued to highlight: he also has a part-time job, maintains a good GPA, and tutors or something. I'm not trying to re-report the news, so sorry if the facts aren't correct, but this is my point: our society praises people who are way too busy.

Currently, I'm working part-time, taking grad classes, and involved in organinzing events at church and in the community. This keeps me pretty busy on a weekly basis. Don't get me wrong - I love these activities and the commitments I've made to them, but when I feel bad for taking a 10-minute "study break" to write this blog post - I think there may be a problem. When I get irked because I interpret someone saying, "Oh you just taking the whole weekend off, huh?" as code for "Man, you're lazy!" ... that's a problem. What am I trying to prove? Who am I trying to impress by being super busy?

I know what you're thinking: sounds like a personal problem, huh? You may be right. But, I can't help but feel like this is more of a societal problem. But, here's the tricky part: do we fix it?

Maybe this type of hurried existence is what literally makes the world go 'round. Maybe my twenties really is the best time in my life to be ridiculously busy, as I'm oh-so-often told by older adults. Hmm...I just don't know. Something about it doesn't sit well with me. I want to lead a life that glorifies taking time to disconnect from the day-to-day rush. A life that promotes rest and relaxation. They're not one in the same, y'know. I consider rest to be actual sleeping: the biological necessity your body needs to function properly. Relaxation, on the other hand, is a psychological necessity. It's where you take time to be fully awake and alive in enjoying your life.

Like I said, I love my many activities - they're actually apart of the way I enjoy my life. But, more and more, I'm realizing that I can't "do it all". More importantly, I shouldn't even strive to. So, I'm going to make a declaration: I will try and create more times of relaxation and reflection in my life while also honoring the time commitments I make to the things that matter most to me.

And, if you're someone who already is pretty good at doing this, could you teach me how?

This is my favorite quote. I saw it hanging up at this restaurant in Austin, so I snapped a pic. Of course, after I asked the nice group sitting there if I could...it was right above they're table. Anyhow, I think it's fitting for the overall "bottom line" of this post.