Do you ever sometimes feel like you’re not doing enough with your life? Because I certainly do, and it’s always a painful debate inside my head. Should I do what I want to do, or should I do what I need to do? Or both? Or neither? Or something else entirely? I’m blessed enough to be at university studying my passion, which in this case is illustration, but I know that isn’t the case for everybody. After a certain age, the desire to succeed hit me. I wanted to do well, not for anybody else but for myself. For years I worked hard at my studies, and sometimes in fact neglected my own happiness for the sake of “perfection” – or what I believed to be the closest thing to it. Perhaps it is in my personality to take things to one extreme or the other, as I’ve had difficulties gaging my limitations. It almost seems like I can’t do things without putting 100% or nothing at all.
In my 20 years of experience (and 20 years isn’t very long at all) I can reflect on my short life so far as having been a series of important lessons that I’m trying to remember and apply for the future. As a kid I wasn’t particularly motivated by much, until one day it suddenly clicked, and I had this incessant need to succeed on my terms.
In the past couple of months I’ve experienced a lot of change, and taken on a lot of new responsibilities. As a result of that, my stress levels have increased dramatically. And at one point felt like I was literally drowning in my life choices. Prioritising is difficult and I’m still trying to learn how to find a middle ground in the different areas of my life.
Being human, we all have bad habits, and one of mine that I’m working on is to stop dwelling on my list of negative things that are happening in my life. I’m giving it life and presence by making a mental list – its almost as if I want to focus in and examine the negative parts, and drown out the good. “Boo hoo, pity me, my life is a mess” – when in reality, if I had only taken a deep breathe, I would’ve noticed that a lot of the frustration I was feeling was of my own making. The difficult thing about the mind is that it is addicted to negative thinking. It seems too easy to go along with “This is shit,” “I can’t do it,” “I give up” than uplifting and inspiring phrases such as “This is enjoyable,” “I can do it”, and “I am strong enough”. When I’m stressed I panic and all my positive thinking goes away in an instant. Quite scary to think that we are more comfortable bad mouthing ourselves than we are complimentary. Who is going to believe in you if you don’t even believe in yourself?
So this month, as another one of the positive changes I’m making on my way to a less stressful life, is quitting my part time job and allowing myself more time to create, exercise and spend time with people I love and care for. As much as I want to be role model student, daughter, sister and friend, I neglected myself and what I was feeling.
I think the point of this post is to remind people that it is more than okay to feel the stress – just don’t let it control your life. And if you can take time to get away from whatever it is that is causing anxiety, take the opportunity and be free! Life is too fucking short! Put your happiness first, because in the end that is what is going to get you through the days and months and years; not your grades and not your physique, but what fuels your heart and your mind.