How Long is Too Long

When is enough enough? This is a question I have always struggled with. When will I be sick enough of what I am doing that the rewards I am offered are not valuable enough to keep me slogging away?

I’ve spent twelve and a half years in education. As the semester inches to an end, I find myself feeling the same sense of dread that I have spent for the majority of my life. My grades loom over me like an all-seeing-eye, reminding me that I’m not free to do much of anything if I can’t keep my GPA at a 3.0

The reality I’m facing is scary. I do feel as though I have let a part of my life go. I don’t feel like I am the same person who left New Mexico two months ago. Perhaps this wouldn’t be such a bad thing if I had grown in a positive direction, but I feel as though I have done the opposite. My confidence in my abilities and intelligence is faltering. I am scared to let it fall any more than it already has.

I know I have options, but even that fact frightens me. Last night, I learned that I have support from those I love to do whatever I want to do that will make me happy. They have told me that my mental health and joy come before any kind of degree or association. Although this conversation relieved me, it added a new kind of pressure. Now, the choice is put onto me. So what do I want to do?

For a long time, as long as I can remember, I have wanted to make an impact. Who doesn’t right? No one goes out into the world with the goal of being ordinary and quiet. No one interesting anyway.  Of course I want to make an impact. When I made my food pantry, I knew I was making an impact. When I did my senior project speaking out against my school, I knew I was standing up for every student who had been trampled on by an administration. I knew that my radio shows were making an impact. When my blogs or pieces for Original Path are spread through social media, that’s an impact.

That feeling is what elation is. It motivates me like nothing other. That desire to expand my reach far and wide is what gets me out of bed in the morning, keeps me eating well and exercising, and motivates me to take care of myself emotionally. If I allow myself to feel like shit when I can do something else, my reach is not valuable, because what I advocate becomes a load of bullshit.

Maybe that’s where my fear lies. If I stay and get my degree, do what everyone expects me to do, I will surely be in a secure place, but I’ll also be miserable. If I leave and do something daring, I will be following my own advice and putting myself into a new situation filled with fear and excitement. I’ll be on the edge of something amazing. I may still be miserable, I may find that my unhappiness does not lie in my environment or situation. However, I’ll never know if I don’t try something new.

Nobody tells you how scary freedom is when you’re constantly battling for it. Nobody tells you how you won’t know what to do once you have it.


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