As an anxiety-riddled and slight OCD-riddled teenager, I’ve always overbooked my schedule. During my high school years–free time didn’t exist that much. For example, my senior year. Every day started with AP Calculus at 8 AM, then I drove to college for my college credit plus classes. Then, I had an hour for lunch in which I usually used half of it for homework. I went back to my high school and finished my classes there for the day. After that, I went straight to Cross country practice until 5, then band practice from 6-8, then work after that, then homework after that.
I thought that keeping myself busy would distract my mind from all of the issues I couldn’t seem to shake. If I didn’t give myself time, it would go away right? As most of you can guess, that wasn’t the case. In fact, it usually ended up just causing more breakdowns at night. I was losing sleep because my mind was breaking down and I didn’t have time to process any emotions. Nothing was making me happy, and I was just trying to get through everyday until the end of high school.
It wasn’t until the end of my senior year (2020 covid class :P) that I really realized something. I realized that I was always just fighting to get done with something. I’d keep going to practices waiting for band or cross country to be done for the season. I was waiting to finish high school. I was counting down the days left until I was done at my summer job. I was only living for the end of something.
When I realized that, I took a look at how bad it was affecting my mental health. My entire mental health was based on the lie that if I just got through “this”, then maybe my issues would go away. But instead of that working, I just started some new thing–like college.
That’s why I’m here to share this information with you before you do the same thing as me. Take a look at how you’re living your life. Are you appreciating everyday as it is, or are you just waiting until you graduate or retire or get married or go on vacation or for some holiday? Don’t waste your time on Earth. It’s a short time, and if you don’t feel everything you can you’ll have lost it. All feelings need to be felt and processed. If you’re sad, don’t distract yourself. Allow yourself to find the problem and attempt to find a solution. Do not under any circumstances ignore anything about yourself.
Similarly, make sure to give yourself time for yourself. Take breaks. Do fun things. Think about what you want in life. Write out your goals. Talk to friends. Go on a date with your significant other. Make sure your kids know you love them. Don’t forget about those people that might be struggling. Like the title says: the world can wait. The world can wait for you to take care of work and school and business matters, but there are some things it won’t wait on. It won’t wait for you to notice what’s going on, or that you’ve wasted so much time paying attention to the wrong things. It doesn’t wait for you to be happy, so you have to go and find your joy before it’s too late.