All Work And No Play

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“Born in you, along with all the strife, is the power to restore balance to the world.”

So said Uncle Iroh in Avatar:The Last Airbender (yes I’m a child, yes I’m marathoning it with my roommate, yes it’s amazing). In each of us there exists turmoil, but we all have the chance to restore balance both within and outside of ourselves.

Recently, I’ve found myself terribly, terribly out of balance with my surroundings. Just as I always know I’m getting sick when I crave OJ, I can tell I’ve dug myself into a hole when I start to feel a little down. The other day on the treadmill, I suddenly stopped running because a singular thought ran through my head: Exercising is pointless because we’re all going to get fat and old anyways. Uh oh.

In college I would always come home for vacations extremely run down, sick, and tired. My jam-packed class, work, homework, and extra-curricular-filled schedule would overwhelm me to the point

Celebrating the end of a hellish semester

Celebrating the end of a hellish semester

where it’s all I did, all the time. If I wasn’t in a lecture, I was poring over a paper in the library. If I wasn’t attending a meeting for a club, I was waitressing. And if I wasn’t doing any of these, I was attempting to get a little shut-eye. My senior year, the only time I went out with friends was right after finals ended.

I thought that after college, the different facets of my life would naturally even out. I wouldn’t have homework to do, and I probably (hopefully) wouldn’t be working three jobs. Did I mention I wouldn’t have homework? No more papers and group projects to worry about. Through senior year I salivated over the copious amounts of time that would suddenly fall into my lap following graduation.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case. That night I got all meta on the treadmill, I realized something was seriously amiss. Once again, my schedule has left little time for relaxation or enjoyment. Monday through Friday, my days involve work, the gym, and sleep. Saturdays allow me a few hours for errand running before I’m expected at my hostessing job, and Sundays are my only free day. As my roommate knows too well, however, I usually end up passing out on the couch and getting

Passing out on everyone's couches since '92

Falling asleep on everyone’s couches since ’92

very little done.

I related this in a long and anxious phone call to my mother, who soothed my fears in her calming way. She reminded me it’s normal to feel guilty about taking time for ourselves, relating to me a recent experience where she got her eyebrows done at a salon. While she felt guilty about spending the cash on something “unnecessary”, she realized that it boosted her self-confidence and was just what she needed.

If the roles were reversed, and I was advising her on these balance issues of mine, would I tell her the same things I was telling myself every day? To get on with it, keep trucking, that spending a little time or money being self-indulgent was a waste?

Of course I wouldn’t. In this age of being constantly on, finding the sweet spot between work and play will make all the difference between being overwhelmed, or restoring the balance to my world that I so desperately crave. A little down-time to do activities that do nothing but make me happy sounds like just the right cure.

I’m already looking forward to the weekend! Have a great rest of your week ❤

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