Most teenagers today are masters of juggling, and I don’t mean flaming swords or tennis balls. We teens manage to juggle school, athletics, after-school clubs, friends, family, church, volunteering, sleeping, and so much more every single day. While some of us have become quite good at this insane circus act, most of us do not realize that juggling a million things will quickly tire us, and everyone knows the tired flaming sword juggler always gets burned. A little while ago I was in the same position, trying to juggle everything in my life and failing miserably, until my Sophomore Sage taught me that the real trick to this circus act is to balance all my activities.
*BEEP, BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!* my alarm clock greeted me at 5 AM. As I angrily hit “Snooze” on the clock, wishing I had more time to sleep, I realized I was taking my midterms that day. The stresses and worries that had flooded my mind the night before were returning in waves of anxiety. AHHH, midterms!
I got out of bed and started getting ready for school. As I was brushing my teeth, I realized my bathroom as a total mess. Walking into my bedroom to make my bed, I noticed that my room looked like my backpack had thrown up all over the place. Wow, I thought, I haven’t had much time to clean up, I guess. Well, I would have cleaned up yesterday if I didn’t have to study for the history mid-term. I really should have studied for my science exam, though, that’s test will be more difficult…..
As I reentered the stress zone, I absent-mindedly threw on the cleanest pair of sweats on my floor and, carrying my three hundred pound backpack, ran downstairs to grab a quick bite for breakfast. Ugh, sweats again? I thought as I was sitting down at the table. Where are all my other clothes? Man, I have really been out of touch with myself.
Seeing my dad slide an egg on my plate at that moment made me realize I had been out of touch with my family too. “Good morning, stranger,” he said teasingly to me. “We haven’t seen you around here in quite some time!”
He’s right, I thought as I ate my breakfast. I haven’t had dinner with my parents, even seen them after school, since the beginning of the week. What the heck is happening to me?
This thought wormed its way through all my mid-term stresses into my head. As I was driving to school, I could only think about how I felt totally helpless to control my own life and that I was losing my grip on the world. I had realized I had missed numerous club meetings and my little cousin’s dance recital. Everything I did for fun was eliminated from my schedule because of my mid-terms. There is no way I can take my midterms now, I thought. I am a total nervous wreck!
I walked into school with this anxiety, which seemed to grow with each step I took. As I entered a teacher’s classroom to ask about the mid-term that day, I realized he was advising my SS about school, and stood by to wait for them to finish. After a couple of minutes, my SS thanked my teacher for the help and approached me to say hello.
It’s pretty cool that I get to see SS this morning, I thought. We hardly see each other anymore! “How are you, SS?” I asked. “Is everything going well for you?”
My SS replied, “Everything is great, thanks. How about for you? Is everything okay, Abi?”
“My midterms are really freaking me out, SS. I HAVE to do well on them, I just don’t know what I will do if I don’t,” I said. Although I had been thinking about this all week long, telling someone about my worries opened up a wave of emotion. I blinked back tears as I said, “I just don’t know what to do.”
My SS gave me a hug and the best piece of advice I received that year. “Listen, Abi,” SS said, “You are making yourself miserable. By stressing out over your mid-terms, you have only made yourself less capable to take them! Even if you did horribly on you exams, you can work it out with your teachers so you can retake them. You have got to give yourself a break! Try to balance everything in your life and trust me, everything will be okay.”
After that pep-talk, I wiped my tears and approached that school day with all the confidence in the world. Although I was relieved to learn I had done well on all my mid-terms, I was even more that grateful my SS talked some sense into me. I have now turned in my flaming swords in favor of a triple-beam balance; and I must say, as a senior balancing applications, school, friends, family, and activities, I believe it is working very well J.
Lesson Learned: You have to balance, my dears. Balance your family time with study time, your club commitments with “me”-time, your happy time with your sad time! It may seem scary to focus yourself on different areas of your life, but take it from someone who knows, it is even scarier to be stuck on one thing and see everything else crumble. Retire from your juggling career, and you’ll see that balancing your priorities allows you to truly enjoy your life. J