On Being Overcommitted: Advice from a 20-Something

Picking up a shell on the beach.

I turned 22 on Monday, and it was undoubtedly one of the most memorable birthdays I’ve had to date. We had a beautiful day here in Atlanta, so my coworkers and I enjoyed lunch on the patio at Tap, a popular restaurant in Midtown (their “Cowgirl Creamery” Grilled Cheese paired with Tomato Bisque Soup is to die for!). My family sent wishes and gifts from home, and I was lucky enough to take a trip to Costa Rica with my boyfriend over the weekend. (You can see a selection of my photos from the trip here.)

In the midst of celebrating, I realized that I’m settling into a lifestyle that is much more easygoing than I’m used to. I now have a new outlook on how I should approach things day-to-day, and I’m noticeably happier (and less stressed). What’s made a huge difference is my effort to consciously set time aside for myself.

Many of my friends would probably describe me as the person who never seems to take a break for more than three seconds. Just take a glance at my resume, and you’ll see for yourself that I really was “that person.” In college, I had no time to myself after classes, homework, internships and endless meetings for student organizations. Simply setting a weekly workout routine was impossible – I never followed it because my side commitments interfered far too often. While this level of involvement may have helped me stand out when it came to applying for internships, jobs or awards, I realized that it wasn’t the healthiest decision I could have made, especially when it came to everything else. I was making more time for others than I was for myself.

I’m glad to say that has definitely changed. Now I’m savoring the time I’ve set aside for myself, which has given me a chance to write, watch television shows (somewhat regularly), exercise and read. It might be hard to believe, but before I graduated, I almost never had the opportunity to do those things at my leisure. In the next year or so, I plan to add new commitments to my plate, but I’ve made a vow that my life balance will always be a priority. I don’t plan to break that.

So I hope you’ll consider doing the same, my busybody friends. It’s more than fine to have multiple commitments and stay busy, but avoid overcommitment. Because more often than not, it just isn’t worth sacrificing your physical and mental well-being — or genuine happiness.

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6 thoughts on “On Being Overcommitted: Advice from a 20-Something

  1. andy1076 says:

    I’m kind of the opposite, when i was younger i spent too much time living my life and devoted it to socializing. So, now i’m paying the price for it by trying to work as hard as possible and getting as many hours in as i can at work. Congrats on slowing down a little and enjoying life though! sit back and watch all your hard work pay off 🙂

  2. tatiana says:

    I meant to comment on this a while back, but I am soooo happy you realize the importance of taking care of yourself. I was just like you at UA–holding office in the sorority and other student groups, interning at Alumni magazine, trying to have a personal life, and otherwise just going, going, going. It had gotten to the point where I was spreading myself entirely too thin, and it wasn’t healthy. Around this time, one of the coordinators for Blackburn Institute gave me the best advice ever: she told me to take at least one hour everyday to do something relaxing for myself, whether it was taking a bubble bath or just reading a book. Totally saved my sanity.

    So–this is a very good move. 🙂

    • Desiree Mahr says:

      Tatiana —
      Yep, we were both on the same track. I’m glad we both came to our senses and made a constant effort to set aside time for ourselves. It really does make a huge difference!

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