Nothing special about the below writing, just a much-needed, unedited personal reflection.
Lately I’ve been feeling like there are a ton of invisible weights bearing down on me. The roots of this vaguely oppressive feeling are hard to pinpoint, and I’m sure that, as with most of life, it’s the result of a combination of things. I’m juggling three different roles that aren’t always easy to navigate – student, freelancer, and blogger. I want to make what I’m most passionate about my number one priority—don’t we all? But life doesn’t usually work that way, and as such, I’ve had to put blogging on the backburner a bit. I’m paying for school and getting paid to freelance, and as such, those things must come first. Money isn’t everything, but it sure is something.
To add to the chaos my mood has been less than stellar and various personal situations have been confusing and generally off-putting. I feel like a lot of my life lately has been oscillating between extremes—really fucking amazing and totally shitty. It’s finding that middle ground that is so difficult. Balance. That ever-elusive concept.
There are a few things I can count on to keep me grounded. My friends are rockstars, and spending time with them always helps to put things in perspective. Some will comfort me with a good, long chat, while others know that in certain moments a night of dancing is just what the doctor ordered. I couldn’t be more grateful that my friendship field is one seriously sturdy plane. Making a point to meet new, cool people has been nice as well—you never want to get too comfortable. Running regularly, however, is probably the ultimate lifesaver for me. Endorphins are no joke. The ability to check out from the world for a bit and clear my head is a luxury that everyone deserves. And of course, family time can work wonders, if you’re open to it. When you feel like a lot of things are spinning out of control, returning to your roots and the people who know you best is an amazing way to reorient yourself, to remember what you’re about–what you want/who you want to be.
I’m constantly attempting to simplify my life, eliminate the bad people/places/things, and to minimize the pressures I put on myself—which by nature, I tend to do to an extreme. But it rarely works because I never hash out an actual plan. It becomes, then, just a cloudy idea swimming in the back of my brain. Great intentions are, well, just that.
So, in an attempt to buck that inefficient trend, I’ve decided to sit down and actually look at the areas of my life that need their own version of not-spring-cleaning. Since you already know way too much about me, I figure I might as well share the list with you. Maybe it will help me stick to the plan more if I feel like others are holding me vaguely accountable, or inspire you to clear out your own clutter (both physical and mental).
- Don’t forget that actions really do speak louder than words. Don’t waste time on any more people whose actions constantly betray their words. Eliminate toxic people.
- Stop holding onto back issues of newspapers and magazines that you haven’t gotten around to reading unless there is an article you absolutely MUST read. You’re getting hoarder-ish.
- Stop buying cheap clothing on the fly. Try to pre-plan your purchases so that they’re actually well evaluated and not just swift, mood-related buys.
- On that note, purge your closet of all the crap you never wear. Limit it down to the essentials and the things you will wear to death.
- Go back to the things you love: attend concerts again, visit museums more, see more films–try to expand your mind via art in some form every week.
- Spend more one-on-one time with your younger siblings. Nurture those relationships as much as you can and try to guide them in the right directions.
- Don’t get so caught up in regret. What’s done is done and anguishing over the past is futile and masochistic.
- Read The Elements of Style by Strunk & White until you know it by heart. There’s something to be said for the classic tenets of writing (and grammar)—many of which have been lost in a world that privileges speedy posts over thorough editing.
- Never surpass more than three drinks when you go out. There is no reason to drink more than that—ever. You’re not a frat boy.
- Eat meals out more, and write in coffee shops. Be around people as often as possible.
- Do a better job at keeping in touch with good friends who live far away. Make it a point to actually call and video chat with them when you say you will. Don’t be such a flake.
- Make your bed every morning. It’s a weirdly effective organizational tool to start the day off with.
- Similar to not dwelling on the past, do not freak yourself out over the future. What will be will be, let it come to you instead of trying to predict it.
- Whenever you have time, try to rediscover cooking and baking. It’s good for the soul.
- When you have a bad feeling at the start of a relationship, listen to it. It is always a sign of what’s to come. Love shouldn’t be such a struggle.
- Think about where your money is going. Do your best to eliminate wasteful spending.
- Limit social media use to posts related to the blog. It’s such a time-suck and it never makes you feel good.
- Make sure that the people you love really know it. Remember what I said about actions speaking louder than words? That applies to you, too.
So that is my tentative list–I’m sure I will have a lot more to add to it in time. Keep your head up, dudes, and I’ll try to, too.