Making Way for Myself
By Liza Bridgman
I sit on my couch after work and quickly drown in thoughts of that text I didn’t answer last night and the dinner with this one group of friends that I agreed to on Friday and the party with another group of friends I agreed to next Saturday and the road trip I said I could make the week after next when, for once, all I want to do is
I want to sit on that same couch for some amount of time and breathe and maybe read and maybe watch trash reality TV or maybe do NOTHING at all. I want to do nothing, and today doing nothing seems impossible. This year, it seems unimaginable. This day and age, doing nothing isn’t an option. And while we’re on the subject, doing nothing is incredibly important.
I sometimes (most of the time) live with my own, make-believe fear that everyone I love is mad at me. It’s possible that they actually are but it’s more likely that, while I’m working myself into panic thinking of each person in my life and when the last time I reached out or saw them was, they’re thinking about who Dexter’s next murder will be or what they should prepare for lunch the next day. I’ve recently been shedding some light on this: Why do I put so much pressure on myself to make certain that everyone else is content? I know that it’s true: If I don’t value myself and my own time, no one else will.
I’ve been stuck on this concept of time and how much of it I spend bettering myself versus how much I spend worrying about others. The latter usually comes up as the undefeated champion, but with this New Year, I've decided I need to change my perspective a bit, first by learning how to say no. It is unreasonable to be everywhere all the time. At first glance, it may seem doable, but in the end, you’ll be running on E and pushing your own priorities to the side. Through a recent conversation about sticking to a gym schedule, I was reminded that if I continue to accept every invite to every cocktail hour and get-together instead of dedicating an hour to my own wellness, it will never become a habit. That rings true far beyond the gym – I come first and if I constantly play yes-man, I will never be taken seriously by those around me or myself.
I also realize how often I check my phone. I accidentally left it at work the other night and caught myself reaching for it an embarrassing amount of times; worried that one of my friends would be trying to get a hold of me and, without an instant answer, come to the conclusion they were being ignored. How do we live like this? We’re expected to have our phones at all times and our impatience is skyrocketing. We can’t have a moment of silence alone without losing it. We need the white noise, the text messages, Instagram likes, the plans for Friday, the Snapchat filters, and the entertainment news. We need to know what everyone is doing at all times – and we’ve even come up with an acronym for “fear of missing out”. I’m coming to terms with the idea that we don’t need all of this distraction. Sitting here quietly typing, spending time with my own thoughts is quite nice actually.
I’m plunging into 2019 with a clear focus on me. This doesn’t mean that I plan on cutting all of my loved ones out of my life. I will always be friend and family oriented. It’s just time to make sure that I’m consistently taking strides toward a healthy, happy, and balanced life. And my advice to all of you is to set aside some time to do nothing at all.
Liza graduated from SUNY Geneseo in 2017 with a bachelor's degree in Personal and Professional Communication. She has an extensive background in local, state, and national student leadership. She currently works in advertising as an Account Associate at CGI Communications. She believes that the most rewarding aspect of her job is helping small, mom and pop businesses across the country profit and grow. Some personal hobbies include singing (big karaoke fan), writing, hula hooping, and coffee drinking with her mom and grandmother.