“Don’t take on too much, Leah.”
My mom used to say this to me all the time – it was a near constant argument in my house back in high school. I was always volunteering myself for shit – stupid shit that I didn’t care about and didn’t want to do. I just hated sitting in a classroom while thirty people stare at each other and wait for someone to reluctantly raise their hand.
I organized events, I brought snacks, I put together playlists. I made phone calls, I booked classrooms, I ran errands. I did things. I was a do-er.
I really was genuinely busy. At least, I think I was.
My mom still tells me not to take on too much. She says it regularly. And part of me thinks maybe she doesn’t realize just how much I’m not doing. Part of me feels like she’s so far away and she has such a great image of me in her mind that she’s just fooled herself into thinking I’m still that golden child I was at the age of fifteen. (Fifteen year old me was rife with issues, I promise, but an inability to do things was not one of them).
There’s a bigger part of me, though, that feels a little bit relieved when I hear her tell me she thinks I’m doing a lot.
Thank god, I think, I really am doing as much as I feel like I’m doing.
Because honestly, I do feel like I’m doing a lot, sort of. Not in the way that I was doing a lot in high school – I’m not in student government (do they have that at uni?) or volunteering to brings snacks to a meeting… I don’t even go to meetings anymore. But I’m a full time student, and I’d like to think I’m a student who gives a shit about their school work. Add to that three nights of work a week and what I’d like to think is a pretty healthy social life, and… Well, I’m doing things, okay? And they’re hard! Someone tell me I’m right.
BOOM, there it is. The millennial in me. That’s what my uncle would say, anyway. I just want someone to pat me on the back.
Or, y’know, maybe I want someone to say I have good reasons for my late night McDonalds runs and near daily meltdowns. Same thing, right?
But here’s what I don’t really understand… Why are we so damn obsessed with being busy? I’m not the only one who feels this way – I know I’m not because I have to be the reassurer on a regular basis. And it’s a role I’ll gladly fill but I’m starting to wonder what our generation’s obsession is with – dare I say it – hustling.
Most of my friends at work either have another job or are in school. It’s amazing – it’s honestly very admirable. But… goddamn, they sure know it. One friend in particular comes at me this crazy glint in her eye almost every night. “How are you?” I ask, and I’m always met with “Oh god, exhausted. Work is crazy, school is crazy, and I went to the gym five times this week, plus I have this lunch with my mom tomorrow and I’m going to a party on Friday and then a charity even on Saturday and then…” you get the picture. She’s a super hard worker, and I genuinely admire it. But that glint in her eye isn’t just stress or exhaustion… it’s pride. And it took me a while to recognize it, but now that I have I see it everywhere.
I think hard work is important – doesn’t everyone? My parents worked like crazy to get where they are today, as did their parents, and I intend to do the same. I look up to people who work their asses off for the things they want, of course. And it’s true what they say – nothing worth having comes easy. I’m not saying we shouldn’t work hard, and I’m not saying we shouldn’t be proud of it. I just think maybe – just maybe – we should all start taking my mom’s advice a little more.
You don’t want to do it. That’s what she was saying this whole time! I had things I could have been doing, hobbies I enjoyed that I could have focussed on and school work that was genuinely important. And was I doing it? No! I was filling up my calendar with bullshit because, quite frankly, I liked the way it looked when it was full.
I was staying up until 3am because I liked going into school the next day, coffee in hand, sighing about how little sleep I got.
And that kind of fishing for compliments and reassurance and pats on the back is fine when you’re fifteen – it’s what fifteen year olds do. But now I’m twenty, and my friends are all twenty, and I’m seeing it more, not less. And I’m thinking…
damn. That millennial stereotype is true.
We aren’t lazy, and I don’t believe we’re entitled… but fuck are we ever needy.
At least, I sure am.
I don’t know how to change this, or even if it makes sense. Maybe I’m just trying to get out of signing up for extracurriculars because I don’t want to compete with all these girls anymore (don’t get me started on the girl vs girl craze ok). But… forgive me for asking… can someone please tell me I’m not crazy?
Now I’m ready for bed.
PS, sorry for the lack of photos with this post but, uh, I didn’t know what would really capture it besides maybe a picture of me sitting on the floor of my shower freaking out… and my tub is green, so that wouldn’t match my ~*aesthetic*~, right?