Remember to take time for yourself this semester

That saying about loving what you do and “never working a day in your life” is totally insane to me. It creates an unrealistic expectation about our relationship with work. Even work related to your hobbies is still sometimes going to be work. An artist is not always going to feel like making every single piece they’re commissioned for. It is still work and you will still be worn out now and then. (If this is not the case, then I stand corrected with the caveat that the offended reader may, quite possibly, be an anomaly leftover from the universe’s beta test.)

However, that does not mean there’s no value to that statement. Being busy means that finding meaning in all that work, or at least some of it, and keeping it from becoming dreary is so, so important. So many students at Valpo are leading busy lives, from class to commuting to participating in student organizations or athletics. The sudden jolt back into “normalcy” after a pandemic-halted year in 2020 can be as big a readjustment as it is a comfort. It’s times like these where it feels like it’s impossible to slow down and find time for things you enjoy without sacrificing time elsewhere, but in my experience, I’m beginning to find that it’s crucial to make that time anyways. 

Essentially, you have two equally valid options. You can shrug something off here and there to cram in a movie or you can work the “you time” into some of those responsibilities. For instance, if you aren’t in a student organization, you can try joining one.  This gives you a reason to make yourself go spend time with others who enjoy the same activities as you. If you have room in your schedule, you can take a class that just sounds fun to you, even if you don’t need it. 

For instance, this semester I signed up for an English 200 course on video games. I had already taken an English 200, but because I had the space I decided to see what it was about. I’m so glad that I have a reason to just go play a game as part of my schedule and be productive by thinking and writing about it. I realized that because I’ve made myself so busy, just forcing that time in somehow was worthwhile and a great opportunity. 

Even still, sometimes it’s going to feel like work. I love The Torch, but I would be lying if I said I didn’t occasionally want to bang my head against my desk because it’s 1 a.m. and my interview recording was really long. Or because an opinion piece is short of the word count and I’ve said all my tiny brain can come up with already. I think part of “making time” is just accepting that sometimes this is the case, and you need to find a balance there, but it doesn’t mean that the thing you are doing has to be less meaningful. If one day finding balance means going the extra mile for your hobby, then do that. If another day you decide you need to decompress and do nothing and just scream at the world, that’s good too. Despite how much we fight it, there really is no “making time.” We have a set amount of it; all you can do on a day to day basis is make the best of it, I suppose. 

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Torch. 

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