Confession: It’s hard from me to say “no” to things. I tend to take on new responsibilities without thinking. And when I get my mind set on something I can’t stop thinking about it.
I first noticed this trait of mine my junior year of college working on a project for one of my business management classes. It was to start a late night transportation service called “The Pickup Line” (catchy right? My friend came up with the name so I unfortunately can’t take credit for it). It inspired me to make it become a reality. I worked for hours every day on top of school and work to write the business plan, interview existing businesses, give my pitch to investors and build connections with apartment complexes to be their contracted transportation service. There were nights where I couldn’t sleep because things “needed” to be done. I got the business to a point where all I had to do was sign the loan documents and buy some buses.
But I didn’t do it.
I got offered a job right out of college. In hindsight, I thank God for it every day. I anticipated to work 80 hours a week on nights and weekends for little pay the first couple years if my projections were right. I later read about a similar business in Kansas fail six months later. Everything happens for a reason, right? But that’s a whole other topic.
Once it dawned upon me that I obsess over things like this, it became clear that I’ve been like this my whole life.
Beat this video game, check.
Learn how to play guitar, check.
Learn how to sing, check.
Write a book, check.
Get a Bachelor’s degree, not good enough.
Get a Master’s degree, check.
I’m not trying to brag, in fact, I’m saying the opposite. It’s almost a curse.
I went too far. I was working two jobs, taking night classes for my Master’s, working out five days a week and writing a book. I worked myself down to nothing.
I still had somewhat of a social life, but when I was with my friends my mind would wonder. “I need to be working on this and this,” I thought. I’d constantly get my phone out adding things to my checklist for the next day.
I couldn’t shut off my mind. I couldn’t rest if I tried.
Then one day, I had an anxiety attack. I was overwhelmed, scared, tired, and stressed all at the same time. I had to stop everything, sit down, close my eyes, and either cry, pray or both. A week later, it happened again. Then a few days later. My mind and body was telling me “no” but I couldn’t stop.
I finally accepted something was wrong and took a vow never let these attacks happen again.
Now, I still slip over that line if I’m not careful. Oh how I wish I could sit through an entire movie without thinking about the things I need to get done! But I’m better. I’m enjoying life and my anxiety attacks have stopped. I take a nap every day and love it! I learning how to say “no” when things get too busy.
Our society has such high expectations of us. Technology has made the world smaller and faster. We have more people and responsibilities to keep up with and less time to do it. It’s exhausting, yet we keep going.
I could ramble about this forever, but I guess my point is:
Don’t read this and think of it as an excuse to be lazy. No. Be ambitious and work towards dreams. Starting this adventure with my book is the best decision I ever made, but it wasn’t the easy road.
Do read this and know there is such a thing as working too hard. Take a step back and breathe. When your physical and mental health is at stake, your silly to-do list can wait.