as a teenager, there was one thing i heard a lot from my parents. it went something like, "maggie, it's not enough to just be a good student and athlete, you need to be responsible in every area of your life, too." i never really understood it at the time. usually i would protest, "but i'm a good kid! you guys have no idea how lucky you are to have me! do you see the people i go to school with?" they were, of course, referring to the way i procrastinated on chores, um, constantly, and seemed to have an all or nothing approach with everything else. i was constantly social or not at all. i was super active in my clubs or i wasn't at all. i was 100% on top of the things i needed to do, like school and soccer, but with the rest i kind of juggled it chaotically. the things i didn't have to do were what i struggled with.
i never really gave much thought to what my parents were actually saying when they said those words until now. two and a half years into college. i don't know what it was, but at the beginning of this semester something inside me said: maggie, things have to change. i have to find what my parents were really telling me i lacked: balance. i needed to gain some control and get my stuff together. it's not that i lacked time management skills, rather, it's that i didn't make a conscious effort to take care of the other things or myself.
in college, there's stress virtually everywhere. being a good student isn't enough. i realized my old tendencies of letting other things slide while only paying attention to the necessities wasn't working. i needed balance. so, i got a job. i decided i was going to train for a race. i took some control and committed myself to being responsible in every regard. i've figured out that if you let one thing slip, other things usually follow, too. spreading myself between different responsibilities has proved that it's all about making the effort. and it's hard to do when you don't have to do it. i'm extremely fortunate that i was able to go to school for two years without having a job while i focused on school work but it also made me lazier with my free time. now, i have to make my time count. it's not a question anymore of "will i do this", it's just a part of my lifestyle to go to work and run four or five times a week in addition to the time required to go to school. my life feels "together" and balanced. it's a good feeling.
they say you get to the point where you realize your parents were right about everything. well, they were right.