Life Lessons from Tea Bags
This week I was really excited to write my blog post about housing options at Clark because more and more Clarkies are getting accepted into the class of 2017 (congratulations!!), and because the process for the housing lottery is getting started. However, after everything that happened to me this week, I just don’t think I could properly do the post justice. The enthusiasm just isn’t there. However, it will be. I promise, future Clarkies, there will be a post for you all about housing options and all the glory that is to be had in living in the First Year Experience residence halls, but this week is not that week.
Sometimes life gets you down, and sometimes life really, really gets you down. I’m sure every person out there reading this knows exactly what I’m talking about. This week for me has been one of those weeks where nothing seems to go right. I’ll be completely honest with you, dear readers, I cried a lot this week. Nothing traumatic happened, no one died, nothing exploded, my dog is healthy, and hey, I even went to Chipotle. Something just wasn’t right.
I like to believe that I function like a very well-oiled machine. I’m constantly running between activities, class, study sessions, volunteering, homework and workouts. Occasionally I stop to sleep. I take extreme pleasure in going non-stop; it’s how I prove to myself that I’m capable. To me, it’s incredibly satisfying to have a packed schedule. Life doesn’t stop, so why should I, right?
It wasn’t until I came to college that I started to realize that this kind of lifestyle is abusive to my mental health. Total surprise, right? After an enormous mental breakdown, I’ve come to the conclusion that constantly working without taking time for myself is not a good way to go about doing things. What really drove this idea home for me wasn’t my overwhelming stress levels, or the incessant tears, or the overall terribleness of how I felt after an entire week of nonstop work and pressure. It was a tea bag. I’m not sure if everyone here is really into tea, but I’m in love with it. It’s a beverage that goes perfectly with every occasion.
As I was trying to destress myself this morning after a weekend of essay-writing and worrying, I poured myself a cup of tea and decided I was going to dedicate an entire hour to forgetting my commitments and watching Dexter, my favorite TV show. Nothing whisks your worries away like brutal murder and the oh-so-glamorous lives of serial killers. After a small deliberation on what kind of tea I wanted (a difficult choice, I assure you), I boiled some water and kicked back to numb my brain within the warm embrace of senseless slaughter. As the all-too-familiar opening theme began to play, I glanced down at my cup of tea, and I noticed the tag, which is something that I, and most others, tend to dismiss. I don’t know what made me all of a sudden take notice, but I was struck by what was printed on it: Work, but don’t forget to live.
All of a sudden, something exploded in my brain. It was a volcanic eruption of epiphany. Realization was raining down upon me as I sat on my bed, staring into a cup of tea. Everything suddenly appeared to make so much sense. Work, but don’t forget to live. It’s important to do work and everything you need to do, but it’s equally important to take care of yourself and live your life.
You’re probably thinking to yourself, “Wow, Melissa, you are dumb as a door nail. That’s so obvious”. Yes, it is obvious, but sometimes the pressure of ambition can cloud rational thought. It can sometimes take something small to realize something big. My unusually large mental breakdown can be completely attributed to my forgetting to live. Life can’t be constant work all the time; your brain needs time to breathe and live and it took me far too long to figure that out.
Thank you, tea, for reminding me how to live.