Opinion: it’s okay to take time for yourself

Anusha Vadlamani | Staff Writer

Sometimes, I wish that time would stop.

I’m not saying I want it to stop forever. Just long enough for me to feel like I can keep my head above water; long enough for me to feel like I’m not flailing. Most days, I feel like I’m being pushed underwater by the pressure of trying to be the ultimate, high-achieving high school student. Grades, extracurriculars, motivation – they’re the things that I want the most, yet they’re the ones that take the most toll on me. My entire life, I’ve believed that every moment of the day should be spent towards achieving your goal, but this year, I’ve started to learn something different.

This year, I’ve started to spend more time on myself. And the waste-no-time part of me is still kind of unsettled by the fact that I’m not spending every moment doing something related to school. But the carpe diem spirit inside of me is elated. Every time I focus on myself, I feel like I’m living life to the fullest; it feels like I’m able to stand in the water, with my head held high.

The time I take to myself is my most prized possession, but I can’t always set that time aside. Life still gets in the way so it comes in fleeting moments. But those fleeting moments are worth so much more to me than the three hours I just spent perfecting an essay. I use that time to reflect on my decisions, to recharge myself, to let the stress of the day melt away. I sit in the crook of my window-sill, a steaming glass of green tea in my hands, and just write; in those moments, the entire world fades away.

Last year, if you had told me that I now go out of my way to take care of myself, I wouldn’t have believed you. Mainly because last year, I was still trying to maintain this persona of being tough. I didn’t allow myself to take much-needed breaks because they made it seem like I was like weak or selfish. So even though I was underwater and I could see the surface of the water, I still didn’t swim towards it.

But this year, I’ve thrown myself a lifeline. I am determined to put myself before anything else. I’m not going to stay up till 3 a.m. stressing about something that is out of my control because that is not what is best for me. And I am only doing what is best for me, myself and I.

If you ever feel like you’re too far underwater to ever make it back to the surface, know that you can. I did. How you make it back, however, is up to you. If that means going to bed 15 minutes earlier, then that’s what you need to do. If you need to go on a run, then that’s what you need to do. If it means you have to FaceTime a friend, then that’s what you need to do. No action is insignificant. If it is important to you, then it is important and life will wait.

Time doesn’t stop for anyone, but that’s all right. I’ve made it back to the shore.