It’s important to remember to bask in life’s little joys
By Isabel Krueger, Current Staff
It seems that my days are such a rush of commotion that my brain only has time to ask, “Where should I start?,” or, more accurately, “Where am I right now?”
The reality of my day consists of a painstaking struggle to stay awake during classes and not drift to the left side of the hallway into oncoming traffic. With hope, I can finish a chunk of homework during resource, and maybe get my reading done during off hour.
It would not be difficult to finish those things after school, except for the fact that I work from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. at only one of my two jobs.
After those hours slug by, I drive home and shovel some dinner in my face as quickly as I can. Next, I shower and get ready for bed to simply get it out of the way. I finish what I can comprehend of math and begin to read the assigned pages of English that I did not have time to do over the weekend. (These are the pages that were due today, Monday. After this, the goal is to attempt to scrape the surface of the section due Wednesday.)
Of course, only four pages in I feel my eyelids grow heavy. No. I won’t fall asleep. That is how things do not get done. But how can I resist the sweet tug of gravity on my weak being? I reluctantly yet graciously put the book down, for what is the use of staying up all night and causing the self-implosion of my fragile young mind? Walking into my bedroom, I am careful not to disturb the other sleeping members of my family, and then I fall face-first onto my mattress for a solid 4-5 hours of sleep. What a dream.
We truly do get lost in the hustle and bustle of a monotonous routine and often lack the time or ability to change our schedules. So I ask myself, “What am I going to do to make this easier for myself?”
“We truly do get lost in the hustle and bustle of a monotonous routine. So I ask myself, ‘What am I going to do to make this easier for myself?'”
Sometime during the last few months I had a revelation: Maybe the only thing that really needs to be focused on is my own happiness. After all, nothing but ourselves remain at the end. To me, this seems so obvious. In theory, it makes perfect sense that if happiness is one’s main objective, everything else will fall into place.
For instance: I come home to see a cupcake on the kitchen counter with a note that says, “Great report card, Isabel! We are so proud of you. [heart] Mom & Dad.” My initial response is to smile and reach for the cupcake, but then pause, and decide that I better finish my homework before indulging, as that is what earned me the stellar grades in the first place. I occupy the next few hours by chipping away at my homework, longingly dreaming of the sweet treat waiting for me.
Now I understand that it may seem impulsive to go ahead and eat the cupcake right away, but why not? In my new outlook, I read the note from my parents and my smile grows even wider as I stand there eating it. I have had a long day: two quizzes, one test, at least three hours of homework, and a five-hour shift at work as the reward. I have managed to get all A’s and one B despite the constant obligation of after-school events.
Heck, I deserve this cupcake.
So yes, I invest a little bit of time in enjoying my gift and feeling proud of myself. As a result, my three hours of homework are finished in two, and it only feels like one. Work flies by and I get into bed at 10 p.m., a record time! What then, I ask, is the harm in allowing yourself a little slice of happiness to get you through the night, and possibly even carry you through tomorrow?
Unfortunately, both of my parents work at the high school, so they lack the time to eat dinner as a family, help me with homework, and have regular conversations, let alone get me a special cupcake. But how cool would it be if that were true?
So often we focus on the negative, forgetting that there are still little things to look forward to in our day-to-day lives. Yes, homework, grades, jobs, and many other aspects of life are important. But if for once, putting your own peace in front of the world’s demands can make your life a little more bearable, try it. I firmly believe that if you have found your happiness, everything else will fall in line.
(Confessions of a Teenage Mind is a new column written by Isabel Krueger, Current Staff.)