You know those little one line zingers that your parent or grandparent would throw at you that you always hated to admit were full of wisdom? Get prepared for essentially a whole blog of those.Maybe one will hit ya where it needs to.
I haven’t written a blog in awhile, so I got assigned to write about “balancing life and staying grounded.” Let me tell ya, it took me this long to get around to it because I still struggle with that “staying grounded” part.
One of my dad’s favorite wisdom zingers was always “you have to do what you have to do before you get to do what you want to do” and I’ve always tried to keep that at the forefront of my mind when planning my days. It eventually led to me, this Fall semester, taking 15 credits of engineering courses, working two jobs, taking on my senior design project early, and being miserable. I would stress cry and have breakdowns every week. My poor boyfriend had to pick me up every time, remind me that I’ve come so far, and that I should be proud of how hard I’ve worked.
I was not grounded. I was not balanced. And although I was accomplishing things, I wasn’t successful because my accomplishments weren’t done with joy. But I justified being this miserable because I was “doing all the things that I had to do.”
Fast forward to Christmas break, when I finally got some me time and got my head on straight. I was at the Protein Pub, and my super corny white-girl cup quote of the day was “love your days, even the bad ones.” It got me thinking about how I had spent a lot of time not appreciating my life and all the small good things that exist in it. Yes there were bad days, but I still had good, and even great, things in my life. Maybe the things that I “had to do” included taking care of myself. Maybe it included still getting to the gym, maybe it included taking the time to make good meals, and maybe it included saying no to some opportunities/commitments that I thought I had to do.
So come spring semester, I still had a full engineering course load, a senior design project that consumed a lot of my life, and then partway through the semester I picked up a third job. I still had problems and struggles, but I tried to hold onto another wisdom zinger...an idea that my mom once shared that, “if we were to throw all of our problems into a pile, we’d probably be real quick to grab our own problems back.”
Everyone struggles, and just because I’m writing a blog on how to be happier doesn’t mean that I live a role model life on happiness. Cripes, finding balance and being grounded can be two of the hardest things to hold onto. But I’m trying to learn to be more appreciative of my own problems, to see them as opportunities for growth, and to spend time reflecting on all my blessings too. My life hasn’t changed that much, but my perspective has.
We are in charge of our own happiness. One more time, in case you missed it.
We have power to change our situations, and we have the power to choose what we focus on in life. It’s not going to be perfect, but that’s why we build support groups - so we can remind each other to get back up.