Tyranny

It’s 2014. What’s going to rule my 2014?

My overachiever drive has kicked into full gear, once again proving that old habits die hard. Or perhaps this tendency to load up on responsibilities is less a habit and more a compulsion. Or, at its root, it’s a grossly over-exaggerated sense of ability.

It’s the third week of Lent term, and some things have been dawning on me:

  1. I am really excited (and sometimes nervous) about basically everything this term.
  2. I am loving my courses and their respective reading lists (nerd alert).
  3. I gravely underestimated the intensity of said coursework.
  4. My conception of a 24-hour-day is possibly overinflated.

My to-do list from last week reveals most of the things I did not do last week. It doesn’t even include the surprisingly time-consuming homework from a Korean class I found at another university, or the fact that I prioritize spending long hours with my friends. The most recent reality check to strike Nina’s World was the sad email I sent my Italian language partner about how I can’t meet this term, despite my initial gung-ho spirit. I’m prone to these situations, though. At my last internship, the Operations manager sat me down about two weeks in to tell me that This is not the place for overachievers, we don’t want you pulling as many hours as you’re trying to, and we’re telling you this now because it’ll be a problem if we have to have this conversation again.

I think about that conversation often. It was humbling, because in college I had always thought other people were the wacked-out, overdriven, sleep-deprived zombies. In the context of my new internship, that person was me, and that lady’s honesty held up a refreshingly real mirror. There are tons of industries where nonstop, single-issue drive is the norm, but I’m not yet sure that’s where I want my life to go.

I’m continuously learning to balance out my impulse to schedule each moment of the day. I know there are people who hear that and call it productivity, because I’m probably one of those people at my core. But I might be at a saturation point, where further attempts to do more will turn me into more of a Little Miss Scatterbrain than I already am. I didn’t like how I missed church last Sunday, for one – I felt really down afterward. Gosh, it’s only once a week, but skipping the sermon at my church (and it’s so wonderfully steeped in the Word) was the biggest suggestion I’ve slipped some grip on my priorities. It normally comes with an increased sensitivity to insignificant things, like my own vanity or someone else’s opinion of me. They’re not huge, but I get knocked into disproportionately bad moods more often when I let go of my actual anchor.

Perhaps I will learn this in every new context I put myself in, and perhaps new contexts almost always mean some re-calibration. I imagine we’re all born with unique tendencies that need to be balanced before they threaten to set up dictatorships in our lives. My tendency is to be occupied. I could occupy myself all day all night with something, anything, even the most wonderful thing… and end up losing everything else.

This all helps me understand what “freedom” means, because my current lot in life is to study and work hard, and I’m a rabid student at heart! …But, I’d also like to go to early morning yoga after a decent night’s sleep, you know?

🙂

P.S. I’ve been going to a hot yoga studio in Covent Garden thanks to my flatmate Siri’s rave reviews, and it’s been so wonderful. It’s like sauna treatment every morning!

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