*deep breath in *deep breath out If you read my last post (and honestly, probably even if you didn’t), you’ll know that I’m insanely busy this semester, that is until May 21st, graduation day. It’s been maddening up until this point, having taken 21 credits until today (when I finished the last of my online classes, PTL), and as a result, I’m finding that I’ve dropped a lot of things from my life, simply out of sheer busy-ness. Today, I’m trying to reclaim some of those things, and one of them is being consistent with this whole blog game again, because doing this is something that fills me and something that I do for myself.
So, let’s backtrack really fast. It’s currently spring break, and considering that it’s me, I’m not off doing anything crazy or traveling anywhere, and that’s probably a good thing. With all of the residual stress that’s still coming off my shoulders from this top-heavy semester, I’m not sure I could’ve handled the stress that comes from traveling with friends (see #100daysinSpain, haha). So, instead, I’m hanging out at home, trying to decompress a little on this off week. But also, considering that it’s me, I’m never not doing anything, so I’ve also got this week filled with lots of little menial tasks and appointments, like going to the dentist, helping my grandma with technology, etc. I mean, hey, I have an entire week off so why not cross some of those things off the to-do list, right?
But today, one of the appointments I went to a little less begrudgingly was my appointment in the Career Development Office at Bethel, because I honestly have very little idea of what I’m going to be doing during my gap year next year and was really feeling the need to start figuring that out sooner than later. So, of course, I’m heading back to campus on the Monday of spring break, because that’s me. Campus was essentially deserted when I got there, so I got a really close parking spot, which is amazing during the day (#commuterlyfe), but it was also so weird to be able to hear the click of my shoes on the greenish-blue tile as I walked through the BC. There were some Student Life people milling around the occasional student who was still around campus, but other than that, it was pretty empty, which was strange to say the least. But I think it also contributed to the sort of gray, misty vibe that the weather had going on outside, so I rolled with it.
In Career Development, I met with this super great career counselor. Her name is Ann and probably everyone should go see her, because she’s fun, super nice, and also happens to be really great at helping you figure out your life too. So, there’s my shameless plug for Career and Calling, because every Bethel student should go in there, especially if you’re feeling hopelessly lost with graduation looming on the horizon, like me.
Anyway, aside from all the good career and life advice that she gave me, I think that she also taught me something else really valuable, and that’s the value of continuing to prioritize the things that you do for yourself. As we talked about a little of what I wanted my gap year to look like, obviously I wanted to be working and making money and paying off student loans and all that, but she also pulled out this undercurrent of me not wanting to hate what I was doing during that gap year, which was tied strongly to this idea of still having time for things that mattered to me, because we all know how busy life can get.
From our conversation, she told me that it’s so important to remember to make time for the things that we do for ourselves, because otherwise we start to lose our drive and then the things that we have to do start to lose meaning. For me, she saw one of those things as writing, specifically writing this blog, and she told me that when we get busy and stressed out with life, often, one of the first things that we drop is the thing that we do for ourselves. I mean, it makes sense, doesn’t it? A lot of time, those things don’t seem necessary. They seem extraneous. And we tell ourselves that we’ll just set them aside for long enough to get back on our feet and start making time for them again, but then life picks up even more and before long, it’s been a month since we wrote a blog post, or a year since we picked up that instrument, or a couple weeks since we’ve made art, and while that may not seem to affect us that much on the surface, it starts killing us inside. Because then, we lose stamina. The things that we do for ourselves give us energy and give us passion and give us drive to do the other things in life that, while we may enjoy them, we’re still doing for other people. So, when we neglect the things we do for ourselves, the rest of life starts to feel like a chore, slowly but surely.
This truth is something that I think I knew subconsciously, but that I’m actively working on now, especially during spring break. And obviously, this doesn’t mean that you should be selfish and neglect all of your other responsibilities. It just means that you need to remember to make time for yourself and the things that you enjoy doing simply on virtue of doing them, whether that’s reading, writing, making art, exploring the outdoors, whatever it might be. Those are the things that keep you sane, and I honestly don’t think you’ll last very long if you try to go through life neglecting them forever, telling yourself that you’ll get around to them eventually. It seems like a pretty simple concept, but I think that this is something that lots of us tend to forget amidst all the craziness and madness that life throws at us.
So, yeah, that’s one thing that I’m reflecting on this week, especially as I apply for jobs, have interviews, and start thinking about “adulting,” whatever that’s supposed to be.
Look out for more writing this week. It keeps me sane, and I’m trying to do more of it.
Happy spring break to those of you basking in the weeklong freedom, and press on to those of you who aren’t there yet or have already passed through it!