Burning Bridges

Photo by Toa Heftiba on Unsplash

Welcome to another Friday, one of the last ones we’ve got for a year. As the last week of classes has wrapped up, I’m ready for break. Very ready. I just have to get there. Lucky for me, a week to go and I will. It’s got me thinking.

Sometimes we start to ask ourselves why we do the things that we do. Whether it’s caring about people who do not deserve us or working hard at something that doesn’t require it, it’s just how we are as people. It could be a good or a bad thing, sometimes it’s both. I’ve just been wondering why.

Remember that date we talked about, and by talked I mean me telling you and making you read all about it. Well when it comes to other people, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to leave them hanging. If I choose to bring someone into my life, there was probably a reason for it. I like having steady relationships.

At least I thought so.

You see, I went on a date with a boy two weeks ago and haven’t really talked to him since. At first I felt bad about that. I mean, if I give someone a chance and spend time with them, it almost seems rude to not follow up on that. Not to say hi or acknowledge that we spent time together. It’s not that I’m ignoring it, I’m just not saying anything about it either. 

Because ultimately, it isn’t my responsibility to make sure other people feel good about things. Not when there isn’t anything to feel good (or bad) about.

Think about that. I don’t mean it in an “it’s all about me” kinda way, I mean it in a “your life is not my priority, mine is” kinda way. There are things we can do in this life simply for other people, and that’s okay. I think about my 16 WOWies or 21 Orientation Leaders and I really would do (have done) countless things for them simply because I wanted to. Because I care about them and they deserve it.

That’s not bad, not at all. I love caring about every single one of them, I enjoy supporting my people. It’s just that sometimes that’s what makes me forget an important piece of this: caring about someone else may also mean the opposite of doing something for them. Here’s what I mean.

If I reached out to my date simply because I feel bad that we haven’t talked, knowing I’m not very interested in getting to know him more, it wouldn’t be fair. Not to him or to myself. After all, I would be leading him on at that point wouldn’t I?

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There’s no point in getting someone’s hopes up when they shouldn’t, it’s too short-term to look at it that way. Say I did talk to him and keep up conversation, giving him the idea that we should keep up with whatever we were doing in the first place. That could avoid him possibly feeling like he did something wrong or that the date didn’t go well in the first place, a short -erm avoidance of unhappiness/doubt. 

In the long run though, it could become a bigger issue if I know I’m not interested already; the longer we keep things up even when the coming end result isn’t necessarily a positive one, why keep it at all?

We are not obligated to make other people happy when it takes our time and energy to do so without any real benefit to ourselves.

I bring this up now because, well, it’s the holiday season. Some people spend more time with family, friends, or other loved ones that maybe they’ve had a rocky relationship with in the past. I don’t know about you, but I tend to feel guilty about those things because relationships take two people. If there’s something wrong, I feel that I often have something to do with it, some control over that.

But I don’t, not really. None of us do. Now, if you argue with that one super political uncle over Thanksgiving and things get heated because you all don’t agree, only to pretend things are fine to keep it cordial over Christmas, that’s fine. You’re not doing any harm in not pushing something that doesn’t need to be pushed. That’s not what I mean we don’t have control over.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

We have no say in other people’s expectations. To a certain point, we can be ourselves and let others see whatever they see in us— it isn’t up to us to make them see what they want to. In the same way, it isn’t our responsibility to make other people happy, especially if it is a detriment to ourselves in the process.

If something isn’t working, why pretend that it is just to keep up the other person’s ego. The truth isn’t something we should avoid, not when it usually comes up in the end regardless. So, why bring this up now?

Because the holidays usually mean expectations; whether it’s towards the season or family time or gifts or making sure to hug all the relatives that we don’t care to hug, there are things people want us to do. Sometimes, we don’t want to do them. And we shouldn’t have to.

Not out of reason, anyway. If it’s a holiday tradition to give people gifts and someone simply doesn’t want to do it that year, that is a bit out of reason. It wouldn’t be fair to sit out just because we don’t feel like it, knowing it takes away from everyone else’s experiences.

But when asked to hug this random person who remembers us as a child—a child young enough to not know who they are by now—it’s not too much to politely decline. When presented with an old friend in town who wants to catch up, while we have no interest in doing so, it isn’t on us to pretend we want to out of obligation. 

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Just because it’s a busier and more social time of year does not mean that we need to keep up obligations. I know I hold my own feelings towards keeping other people happy, even when at a detriment to myself. This year, I think I’m letting myself become my priority, not other people. The attachments I have to always being what other people need me to be, I’m burning those bridges and finding a better balance in it instead.

For all of our sakes, put yourself first.

You deserve that much. Enjoy the holiday season for you; if you can do that, you’ll be happier and in turn, they people around you just might be too. Think about it.

And happy Friday. 

A Human’s Amended Hierarchy of Needs

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Another week down and if I’m being honest, this was a rough one. It’s midterm season and even though I’m ahead of my classes and all I had was a project review, sometimes I think we forget that all of us students or workers or marines etc. are humans first.

We have to attend to our human selves before we can even begin to think about anything else.

Yet, we tend not to. We say that we can sleep when we’re dead or make up for it tomorrow or do something another day, but it tends to add up you know?

It can be a lot.

On top of the classes and work and campus involvement, my body has been telling me to slow down and I can’t really say that I’ve been listening. So the migraines and exhaustion and overall red flags decided to crank it up a notch.

Now I can’t ignore it.

So today, I don’t have classes. I’ve instead caught up with an old friend, seen a really cute dog, and slept a bit extra. As much as it was a rest and recharge kind of day, I still feel like there’s work I need to do and I should stay ahead of my classes or attend to this thing as well…

There’s almost always more to do.

Our culture tends to be a go go go kind of vibe that isn’t always great for us as human beings. Sure, we are productive and maybe get the things we need to do done. And sure, we would like to think our work lives are thriving.

But do we?

Are they?

I’m honestly not so sure that they are.

In the same way that every single one of us is made up of intersections in our identities from what we believe in to what makes us up, our lives are too.

The quality of our lives are made up of our social circles, our personal lives, professional atmospheres, the way we think, how we’re treated by others, how we work, and so much more. That’s why spilling coffee on your way to work impacts you just as much as maybe someone not holding the door open for you when your hands are full.

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I know, those examples are small and aren’t that impactful, but they add up in the same way our work lives do with deadlines and projects and assignments, etc.

When I say take care of yourself or have a good weekend, I mean every aspect of your weekend. I hope you eat well and enjoy the food, I hope you sleep well and get some rest, I hope you work well and get what you want done, and I also hope you relax well and really do take some time for yourself.

Upset even one of those things and it offsets the balance of everything else.

It’s like that triangle of things where we’re only allowed to succeed in two in college. There’s the social life at the top, good work, on the right, and personal needs on the left. A running joke among college kids is that we’re never allowed to find a balance in all three because one will always affect the other.

We’re not wrong—not quite anyway.

When it comes to the concept of “balance” we decide what takes priority over other things. It’s not about being perfect in everything, whatever that means, but about creating an equity in the way you treat the different aspects of your life.

Let’s take three things that each of us need to pay attention to on a regular basis: sleep, nutrition, and social lives. Some of us can run off 4 hours of sleep a night and be fine—you shouldn’t, as that can really impact your health down the road, but do your thing—some of us need at least 8. In the same way, some of us eat maybe two meals a day with snacks in between and others eat five meals a day. Or in our social lives, some people need their people every single day while others can check in every few days and be fine with that.

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Our definitions of what is enough is very different because every single one of us is a very different person from the next.

The problem lies in the fact that we do not treat ourselves as such. I just want to know why.

Ultimately, the priorities of our society often align with productivity and work at the top of the list due to the values of American culture. I can’t say I know how that happened or how to change it beyond just ourselves, but in my perspective, this is the status quo.

It doesn’t have to be for all of us.

For me, that prioritization really isn’t working my body is now constantly reminding me of this. If I’m more or less constantly exhausted, missing something of satisfaction in my social life, and ahead of my academic life and still not quite happy with it, I need to change something. It’s as simple as that.

As human beings, we need to listen to the changes we ask for of ourselves. I haven’t been doing that and it shows. Sure, maybe finding what that looks like for me will be a longer journey and more work than I want it to be but it’s worth it isn’t it? Life’s too short to live as less than we deserve if we have control over something that can make that better.

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So on this Friday, I have a single question for you. You don’t have to answer to me—though you’re welcome to in the comments if you want to share a little about yourself—but I want you to at least think about it for yourself. Understand the answer and acknowledge what you can do for yourself here. It’s simple, really:

Are you treating yourself like someone you love?


With that, happy Friday. 

A Resolution for Something Better

annie-spratt-178364.jpgWelcome to 2018, a new year and a fresh chance to accidentally write the wrong year on all your dates for a while. But maybe this year we can get the hang of it a little faster.

New year, new us right?

Except not really. Every year, I seem to share this sentiment more than the last when I consider the idea of starting over. As much as a new year doesn’t truly mean that we have a completely clean slate, even I can’t deny the fact that it means change.

This year is fresh chance to try again. A new start with resolutions of exercising more, getting better grades, spending more time with the right people… The list goes on. But aside from the hope we all seem to hold of something better, these are all good things, I think there’s something that truly needs to be focused on this year.

We need to focus on ourselves.

nathan-lemon-482951As the countdown came for the new year, I watched the time tick closer to the end of my teenage years. Not just that, but in watching my brother’s graduation and the people I always saw as little freshman in high school coming into their senior years… Time is something we have no control over; I knew that, but that doesn’t stop it from flying by.

So instead of focusing on the big pieces of our lives that can change who we are, I wanted to focus in on the little ones for ourselves.

Like trying to be a little kinder this year.

Volunteering more or holding doors, smiling at strangers.

Think about the people who matter to you in this life, remind them of that.

And remember the singular, fragile lives we all hold— try to spend every day doing something worth living for.

Because this is a new year, not quite a blank slate but still a reason to give yourself a second chance (maye a third or a fourth).

I believe it should be a year of self-love, not just taking baths every night and treating yourself while you can, but truly appreciating who you are. With so much technology in our faces and social media showing what people want us to see, especially in my generation, we can lose sight of our own brilliance.aaron-burden-143101

We forget our own worth.

I think sometimes people get so caught up in their jobs or worries or responsibilities or friends that they forget this: every one of you should be a priority in your own life.

At times, that means slowing down. Whether you’re in college, you’ve got a demanding job, or you’re simply in a position where you can work too hard, maybe you should do the opposite. As I’ve said before, burnout is real and it truly affects every aspect of your life.

If you need to slow down do it— this means taking less units, calling in sick, springing a random day-trip… Whatever you need to do to get yourself where you want to be, do it. This isn’t a year to hold back.

This is a year of taking every step that we can towards a healthier and happier population.

With a world that holds 4.7 billion people, I can’t deny the rise of mental health issues and unhappy people around me. That doesn’t mean we can’t do our best to change it. The thing is, that change starts with you. And me. With every one of us making eduard-militaru-133851.jpgan effort in our own lives to being better.

This is day 5 of 365, with a little time left to make yourself genuinely smile at least once today. If there’s something you want, something you need to do, there is no time like the present to get started. Because this is a new year, same old us, but still a chance to change who we are becoming. For today and the next 360 days, here’s to our journey towards a better version of ourselves.