The Art of Taking a Breath: What it means to find the peaceful moments amidst the chaos.

The Enneagram Institute defines type ones as being “well-organized, orderly, and fastidious, they try to maintain high standards, but can slip into being critical and perfectionistic.” This trend may seem overdone and tired, but this definition fits me better than my favorite t-shirt.

When I got to college, I felt lost and out of control. So, I started organizing my days down to the minute. I planned out everything. I could tell you my schedule down to the second: what time I got up, finished at the gym, ate lunch, did homework, read, and went to sleep. I had every moment of my life planned. If it wasn’t in the schedule, it couldn’t happen.

I’ve always been an overachiever. I liked to be doing the most and doing it the best. This obsession with a plan morphed into
staying ahead of the plan. I started doing the most to prepare for my future. I began working two jobs over the summers, saving up as much money as possible. Fun, who needs that?

I had no time to take care of myself. I overworked myself to the point of tears. Despite the various mental breakdowns, I never slowed down.

This semester, I decided to work online from home. I was only taking four classes and working for the Writing Center, Dance Department, the Waltonian, and a serving job on the weekends. But that wasn’t enough. Oh, no. I needed to add another serving job into the mix.

I maintained such high standards for myself that I wouldn’t let myself fail. I needed to work and save up as much as possible. I needed to be ready for post-graduation. I needed to be busy all the time. I needed to prove to everyone, and myself, that I really could do it all.

The issue with this was, I didn’t have time to breathe. This week alone I am working three doubles and two night shifts, not to mention every other commitment I signed myself on to. I felt like I had to keep adding on responsibilities in order to prepare myself for my future. I was looking so far ahead that I couldn’t see the present. I couldn’t see today.

That’s when it hit me, I will never get this day back. I will never get the same opportunity to enjoy being 21, spend time with
my family and friends and just be a college student. I was so focused on being perfect that I couldn’t see everything that I was missing right in front of me.

I’m tired of saying no to plans with friends. I’m tired of feeling rushed. I’m tired of not being able to catch my breath. While I’m still working on enjoying every little moment, I’ve decided
that I am just going to be present with each day, in each moment, and with myself.

It feels like just yesterday that I was starting my first classes as a freshman and now, I’m graduating this May. While I was busy and dedicated and prepared, I missed those moments of my college experience, the ones that I would tell my kids about. I’m not going to regret the choices I’ve made, instead, I’m going to learn from them. I’m going to learn what it truly means to stop and to just breathe.

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