The clock ticks and ticks. My eyes are lasered onto the small hand as it approaches 9. I can’t afford to continue looking at it, but I can’t look away. Feeling every second that passes, my body reacts with a fidget, a leg shake or that creeping angst. In front of me: a laptop open to too many tabs, two books with scattered highlighting and all of my notebooks filled with lead to the brim. It’s midterm season and the misery in the air confirms it. My calendar is full of steep assignments, but I also have tests and classes per usual. This is without mentioning extracurriculars, my internship, and attempting to hold together some sort of a regular human life. It seems as if so much is going on at any given moment, yet there is so much more I still need to do. Time now seems to pass by quicker, the clock’s ticks have shorter intervals, and a cold warmth slithers through my skin. My heartbeat is more noticeable, my breaths feel heavier and I’m too uneasy to keep still. What do I do? What do I focus on? Maybe I need to calm down and stop enthralling over my concerns. But I must be concerned for a reason. I begin pacing around the room, but all of this is surely making matters worse. I try to sit down and make myself work but I can’t. My headspace makes me claustrophobic, it is void and silent. What do I want from myself? Why do I feel this way? There is a draining doubt and burning insecurity; nonetheless, this isn’t my first time at the rodeo. My third year around, I’ve acquired methods to tame my demons.
Once I began drowning in my thoughts, I had to learn how to swim.
Let us take a dive: I stop… and I take a second. Actually take a second. Then follows a breathe. One where the wave of air seeps in like a tsunami- strong. Like the form air takes, I become nothing, I think of nothing, absolutely nothing. It’s impossible, but I do it anyways. Next: with open arms I allow my embodied anxiousness to enter my thoughts, I greet it and acknowledge it. Facing it does not mean fighting it, each time I must understand that it is but another emotion and it is valid. Now I gracefully plummet and bask. Bask in pure gratitude, bask in pure appreciation, bask in pure realization. I think about those who’ve raised me, how much they mean to me, and how much I mean to them. I stop and think about my friends, the last time they left me laughing inexplicably, the last time they were the sole reason I felt at home. I think about the immediate present, the now, my tangible existence. I’ll be the first to agree that you shouldn’t expect somebody to pat you on the back for doing things you’re already supposed to be doing — but goddamnit should you be patting your own back any chance you get.
Everyone should take that break when they need it, replace toxic habits with beneficial ones. We should live our lives with ourselves as the protagonists, we should be selfish, but the most selfless egoist there are. Live for our pleasures; while also prioritizing the pleasure of creating that within others. No other warmth comes close. And to you- you’re reading this, and you’ve come this far. If you were looking for that sign, here it is: you’re greatness. You are owed nothing yet deserve all you’ve earned. Your hard work does not go unnoticed, your genuine character does not go without recognition and at the end of the day, this will all be worth it.