If I had to sum up 2017 thus far, I think it would be in that phrase: grace, gratitude, and giving up.
Grace, Gratitude, and Giving Up.
April the Giraffe should also fall into my summary of 2017 because sh’s always on my computer screen. I’m working the front desk, typing up this blog post, listening to The Beatles, and watching her. C’mon girl! I mean, take your time, but c’mon!
Three days back from spring break, and oof I have so much work on my plate. Surprisingly though, I’m not too worked up about it. If I was, it’d be radio silence over here on the blog. Instead, I’m feeling pretty good, and that’s huge for me.
My automatic response to life is to get up and go. From the minute I wake up, I need to be doing something. Productivity is my addiction. It’s pretty difficult for me to just sit around and re-watch a movie I’ve already seen. That feels like wasted time. Even in those first few minutes after waking up, I jump out of bed. I’m awake! There are tasks to accomplish!
Recently though, I feel my life rebelling against this instinct of mine. It’s kind of terrifying at first, but now I’m settling into the discomfort of relaxing. That must sound so backwards to some people, but I have to force myself to relax on occasion. Nowadays, I’m trying yo make more of an effort to do this though. afterward, I see how much it helps my mood.
Yesterday I had class with all of my friends for the first time since spring break. As we all recounted the highlights and our travels, I marveled at the fact that one of my friends did nothing over break. During the school year, he is taking a full course load and works full-time as well. He pays for his tuition and his rent all on his own. So he took full advantage of the break by doing nothing while he could. I was amazed and impressed by that. I’m in relatively the same position- I take over the full course load and I work to pay for my housing right now (though I’m blessed to have my tuition covered), but it was never a thought for me to take time off and relax. All during spring break, everyone around me kept reminding me that it was a break. I need to enjoy it.
My friend asked me, “When was the last time you did nothing?”
I honestly couldn’t answer that.
If I’m out by the pool, it’s to read for class. If I don’t have to read for class, I read for personal growth. If I don’t feel like reading, I listen to a podcast. And on and on and on. I never just around and watch a TV show by myself. I only watch TV when it’s with Ian and a show that we are watching together. I used to pride myself on my ample productivity, but now I’m starting to realize there is such thing as too much. What’s the point of life if I find no joy in it?
That’s not to say I don’t find joy in working hard and reading good literature, but I know there is more to my personality than just that. I haven’t given my other interests the time required for them to develop beyond just pitter that exist in my mind on occasion.
With the recent news of being out of a job next year, my anxiety and stress levels have been at what feels like an all-time high. I’ve spent every spare moment job hunting, apartment searching, or crying. Now that I’ve had a little over a week to make some decisions and research my options, I’m doing better. I think it’s about time I relax though. Not just today, but I need to relax in a way that’s implemented into my lifestyle. I shouldn’t have to force myself to relax.
My goal: Let Go. Enjoy Life More. Stop Being Productive (Sometimes).
Few things make me happier than quality time with people I care about, yet I almost never prioritize it. I almost always sacrifice social events in favor of finishing up an essay or working on a project for work.
Instead of being surprised at the people around me who prioritize doing nothing, secretly wondering if they’re bored, I’m going to give it a shot. I am the biggest advocate for self-care, yet in this aspect of my life, I’m sufficiently lacking in it. I have a hard time finding ways to learn to let go and relax, but hey, this is the first step in making progress.
I vow to:
- give up planning every minute of every day.
- stop checking my calendar (unless I have to)
- allow spontaneity
- let others control the plans
- refuse to feel guilty for taking time to breathe.
Relaxing, to me, feels like a lot art. It’s like middle English. Anyone ever tried to read the Canterbury Tales? That’s what relaxing feels like to me. I kind of get the concept, but when it comes to the actual words, I can decipher only about 10% of it. I understand the concept of doing nothing, but I don’t know how to apply that to my life.
This is where grace comes in. I don’t know what relaxing really means on a personal level, but it is now a goal of mine to discover that. I have a feeling it might mean a lot of baseball games this summer, or lying out in the sun without a book. Goodness knows I cannot remember the last time I didn’t lay out in the sun and not feel anxious or guilty for not reading.
Grace. Grace. Grace. Grace. Grace.
Grace, in the sense that I need to give myself time to relax.
Grace, in the sense that I don’t need to rush figuring this aspect of my life out in some preconceived set of time.
Writing that all out, I sound like a crazy person, scheduling in time to do “nothing.” But maybe I need that to ease myself into the idea of enjoying time for myself. Relaxing is a foreign concept, but this will help me acclimate.
I’ve made a consecrated effort to vocalize my appreciation for others recently. I don’t know if others around me sense it, but I do feel better for it. I know I personally like to be recognized when I do something for someone else. I’m throwing it back to the golden rule. I’m treating others the way I want to be treated. But even more than that, I just like telling people how thankful I am for them. It makes me feel closer to them.
- for parents who help me in my scattered, voracious apartment search.
- for friends who never ration hugs and support.
- for teachers who push and push and push me. it’s nice to feel believed in.
- for a boyfriend who wakes up early to go out on a run with me because he wants to experience that part of my life.
- for people who read books I’ve recommended.
- for kind strangers.
- for beautiful, sunny days.
- for a healthy body that I don’t always love but I always respect.
- for brother who I wish I was closer to.
- for classes that infuriate me and make me want to do something worthwhile in this world.
- for coworkers who volunteer to help me out when I’m stressed with my workload.
- for letting myself ask for help.
- for people who extend a listening ear to me.
Gratitude. Gratitude. Gratitude. Gratitude. Gratitude.
It makes such a wonderful difference.
I’m not a superhero. I’m not perfect. I’m type-A, sure. But I cannot do everything all the time. Some things have to go. For so long I tried to fight against that. I thought I was more competent than everyone around me (that sounds really arrogant, ugh, yikes). This year, I’ve grown away from this.
Largely in part to the supportive community I have around me, I no longer hold myself to these extreme standards of perfection. I’m probably going to get two B’s, and god forbid it, but I’m actually pretty okay with it. Two B’s out of 7 classes? Yeah, I’m going to let myself be okay with that.
If that happened to me last year, I would have beat myself up for it constantly. I would have made myself study every waking hour. My sleep would have been distressed. I would have let everything else fall to the wayside. But nowadays, I’m a little kinder to myself. I don’t fully know how to relax^^ yet, but I at least can see when I need to give up obligations for my mental health.
I feel like I’m halfway there for my goals for 2017, which is a pretty good place to be considering it’s April.
Let’s see where the remainder of 2017 takes us!
- What’s something your grateful for today?
- How are your New Year’s Resolutions coming along?
- What do you hope to achieve in the remainder of 2017?
- What is your DREAM job?