As I sit comfortably on the couch in the living room of my 900 square foot apartment, sipping on crystal light as music bounces off the walls, I realize, for once, I’m relaxing. For most people, relaxing is something that comes after a long day of work, where they come home and flip on their televisions or open their computers to check updates on face book or even twitter. For most people, relaxing is something that comes at the end of every day, or sometimes even in the middle. For most people, relaxing is a natural part of life.
I’m not most people.
When I turned fourteen, I started my freshman year of high school. Like most kids my age, I found myself shaking uncontrollably as I entered the halls of a school that held 1400 students. I was terrified as I wiped the sweat off my palms onto my pants and gripped my backpack tightly. Things weren’t as bad as I expected, of course, and I quickly settled into my daily routine:
1. wake up at six
2. take the fastest shower I could possibly take and get dressed
3. straighten my hair and throw a quick streak of eye liner on
4. Dart outside and walk 10 minutes to my bus stop and go to school.
After school, I would get off the bus and walk the ten minutes back to my house to do my homework and watch television. This didn’t last long, as I easily grew bored of having nothing to do.
I had already been playing softball for quite a few years, practicing with my brother’s team when I was four and starting in pee-wee when I was only six years old. I played every season, since, and even played on two teams when I was thirteen. Naturally, I tried-out for the school team again when spring came along and got my position as a second baseman and outfielder.
I was still bored, however, having too much free time – despite the fact that I would have practice every day after school from 2:15-5pm and homework to do when I got home. My friend, Shelby, had previously turned fifteen and wanted to start looking for a job.
One afternoon, Shelby and I flipped through phone books and job listings online and placed phone calls. After many failed attempts, I dialed the number to McDonald’s, hoping to find someone that was hiring a fifteen year old. To my surprise, the manager informed me that they hired as young as fourteen with a worker’s permit! I was beside myself and begged my parents to allow me to apply.
After failed attempts to talk me into enjoying my childhood a little longer, my mom finally agreed to let me apply and, after a three minute long interview, I had my first job. I worked twenty hours a week starting on minimum wage, which at the time was $7.35/hr, and got my first raise three months later. I was happy, though, and deposited each paycheck into a savings account with a smile on my face.
Fast forward four years and I finally put in my two weeks notice a month after working at my second job – Maine Medical Center.
Today, I’m a nineteen year old girl with a very busy life. I currently have five classes (three of them are online), work full time (36 hours a week, sometimes as much as 52), have a photography business on the side, am a published author writing a second novel, babysit my godchildren every Saturday from 630am-4pm, blog and try to have a social life.
I’ve always strived on being busy, sometimes adding more to my workload than I can handle. Some people are adrenaline junkies, desperately searching for their next high. In this sense, I’m a stress junkie, creating my best work under pressure. When I finally have a chance to slow down, I get antsy, desperately trying to find something to keep me busy. I wouldn’t change my life in anyway, though.
My life has flashed before my eyes. These past few years have gone by fast and sometimes, I’m afraid if I blink, I’ll find myself sitting alone in an empty apartment at thirty years old, typing away at the computer while I wait for my next shift at work. I don’t regret my decisions to be busy, however with a lack of a social life comes a lack of a love life. Some day, I’ll slow down enough to get back to dating, but for now, I must focus on giving myself a bright future.
My advice to you is simple. Don’t let your life flash before your eyes. You only have one life to live, so make it worth living. Don’t dwell on the past, and don’t put off until tomorrow what you really should be doing today. Let yourself live the life you want to live and do whatever it takes to make yourself happy. Keep your head up, things will get better.