I Hate the Grind
This summer has been stocked full of nonstop business, including 4:30 am wake up calls, 5:00am workouts, 8-4 internship hours, 4:30 – 7:00 working a second job, and sometimes a second training session after all of that. All this whilst attempting to maintain spirituality, a social life, a relationship, and my sanity. It has been TOUGH to say the least and as the last few weeks of summer are drawing to a close, the tax of my continuous lifestyle is catching up on me.
During my week long writing hiatus, I was at the beach enjoying a much needed vacation with my family. I still worked hard in the gym and stayed on top of my nutrition (to an extent), but the only thing I had to do was rest. Within this week, I think I could have won an award for amount of time spent napping. It was almost unruly. I shopped, laid out on the beach and by the pool, meandered around bookstores, and enjoyed time with my family. I felt rested and relaxed for the first time in months. It felt as though my body, mind, and spirit were finally refueled.
And then Monday came and hit me like a truck. I was expecting some of this, of course, as the Monday after a vacation is always the hardest, especially as you reminisce on the fact that just a mere 24 hours ago you were sipping an iced latte watching the sun rise over the Atlantic with no worries other than what flavor of ice cream you’d have later. But the week never got better. I never felt refreshed. It felt like I had never even gone on vacation.
As I begrudgingly went through the motions of the rest of the week, I came to the realization that I absolutely hate the grind. I hated 10-hour work days and having my schedule packed to the minute. I hated having to sacrifice my sanity for productivity. And don’t get me wrong, nothing makes me feel better than crossing off tasks from my to do list, but there’s something about crossing off the list day by day and feeling like you’re getting nowhere that sucks my soul dry. Nothing bothers me more than the feeling that I’m wasting my time. I had the realization that this is exactly where I was. So naturally, I panicked and called my dad.
After I finished ranting about how my overly packed life was falling to shambles, my dad reminded me of a gentle but also brutal ego check, “Sweetheart, you’re Super Woman. But you can’t do it all and even Super Woman has to take breaks.” He reiterated that I had to prioritize and when I was prioritized down to the bone and things still were overbearing, I had to ask for help. I’m learning (slowly) throughout my twenties that stability and independence do not come with the turning of an age, and even when the world expects you to be independent, it’s virtually impossible (especially as a graduate student with debt and bills who is working two jobs). Sometimes ends just don’t meet and you have no choice but to call for back up.
Once I realized that it was ok for me to not do everything on my own and I had amazing and loving individuals in my corner waiting to help me at the drop of a hat, I was able to turn back to my overflowing plate of duties and remove some. Some harder than others.
I’m reorganizing my training time in a way that’s more efficient – working smarter, not harder – while still being on track to meet my goals.
I’m stepping back from working one of my jobs and letting my parents help me out for the time being so that I can focus more on school.
I’m allowing myself to say no to social responsibilities in order to take care of my overall well-being.
I’m denying myself the enticing idea that I’m not doing ‘enough’ by cutting responsibilities out of my schedule, in order to maintain my sanity. And not only survive through this time, but thrive throughout it.
So, yes. I hate the grind. But I’m a goal-getter and an overachiever. Yet, those qualities don’t have to be enmeshed with an overbearing schedule and a messy mind. I can care for myself and achieve my goals without running myself 100 mph into the ground. Success and well-being are NOT mutually exclusive.
To my fellow over-achievers who don’t know when to stop, I’m telling you now:
Take a breath. You will still become everything you want to be. You can still feel the satisfaction of crossing off your tasks of the day. You can live a full life. But you don’t have to do it all in one day. Make the tasks you cross off and the minutes you spend being productive MATTER. Make them mean something. Live with purpose and intentionality. And ask yourself, are you truly doing too much?
Whatever your answer, have grace for yourself in every moment. You’ll get there. Don’t lose the quality of the journey by rushing for the finish line.
Your Fellow Workaholic