Life abroad is great; I am thriving in every sense of the word. Spending my days at coffee shops, exploring, taking weekend trips, and going to school obviously. However, with only a limited amount of time here, I feel like there is no stopping, I have to soak in every single moment. Every day is go, go, go. The thought of just taking time to lay in bed and watch tiktoks is actually not a thought, unless it is 11:45 pm and I am finally ready for bed. While I know this example is something most people probably won’t be able to relate to, I promise you will, maybe just in not such a literal sense.
I don’t know what your personality is, but if you are anything like me, you thrive off a packed schedule. You wake up wanting to get your day going and be able to feel accomplished by the end of it. You think the only acceptable times to ‘chill’ are on weekend mornings. Maybe, maybe not? But, whether you are a workaholic or soak up every minute of the day by relaxing, we all have an intrinsic feeling of needing to do.
What do you mean by a ‘need to do’? Well, how I would describe it for me would be the feeling that I cannot experience accomplishments of successful days if I do not get something done. This ‘need to do’ is one of my drivers. For example, you know when you say you want to be with someone who is ambitious? Ambition and the ‘need to do’ are synonymous for me. I strive for a sense of accomplishment even in the smallest of things. I have a sticky note on my computer screen with things I need to complete throughout the week, and there is no better feeling than deleting those to-dos from my screen. My ‘need to do’ pushes me to meet my goals, but it isn’t always the best quality to have.
Ambition is an amazing trait, period. But there is a difference between being ambition while taking on new projects and pushing yourself to your wits end where you burnout way quicker than you should. Sometimes my ‘need to do’ doesn’t allow me to take a break and enjoy life. In terms of the past month, I have spent some days out and about exploring my new home leaving the house at 9 am and not returning until 7 pm. And let me say, I am BEYOND grateful for this once in a lifetime opportunity I have by being here, but sometimes my ‘need to do’ wins over my knowledge of needing rest.
My roommate’s dad had to remind us that we don’t have to do everything all the time. Which is easy to say, but also hard to put into practice when we have a whole new world to explore. But, he is right, there is nothing telling us we have to do anything or push ourselves as hard as we can. It is okay to rest and to stop from time to time. Last week, I had a really bad cold, (no it was not COVID) but that was a reminder to me that I needed the rest I wasn’t allowing myself to have. At some points I was literally fighting my body to keep going but the harder I pushed, the worse I felt, so I eventually gave in. Took a few days to just chill, drink a lot of vitamin smoothies and take lots of EmergenC and Advil, and I began feeling better.
Sometimes when the world around of seemed to be so fast-paced, we do not know how to slow down. We feel this urge to follow along with the hustle and bustle that is surrounding us, but there is no rule book saying we have to. We can take the time to slow down our pace and just immerse ourselves in the world around us.
So, to the girl who just can’t stop, I know you feel like you have to keep pushing but take a minute to breathe. The ‘need to do’ that is in the back of your head pushing you forward isn’t something bad, but it needs to be checked every once in a while. If we continue to go, go, go how will we ever know what we truly need. In no way am I saying don’t do your best in everything you do. Be the best worker, friend, significant other (and any other title you hold). Be the best you can be one hundred percent. I would never encourage you to not do well in your life but remember that life isn’t all about accomplishing every single part of your life. We don’t want to burnout, especially if it may seem inevitable. Slow down, enjoy every part of life, and focus on those little things, I promise they will keep your endorphins flowing.