Brionna Jimerson | Respect Your Elders
Published: Thursday, March 14, 2013
I refuse to believe I am alone in this, so, question: Do you spend more time making to-do lists than doing?
I will be very blunt right now: The absurdly vague task “figure it out” has shifted from one of my “to-do” lists to another for the last few weeks, but it has gone virtually untouched. I rewrite a new list every day. As part of my daily “to-do,” I carve out 10 minutes to write a round-up “to-do” list, then parcel that list out into manageable (read: could possibly happen today) tasks and “long-term” (read: this should happen — “should”) tasks.
But I have not “figured it out” because, honestly, I have been too lazy and depressed at times to muster up the energy to think critically about anything, let alone myself. This is where self-care circa column two comes in. The menial tasks of the “to-do” continue to pile up, and they’re small enough to power through, but what about that glaring “read all the bookmarked articles” and “figure out life” tasks I write on each list?
A smart person I dated once told me, “Brionna, it’s like you’re the toast, and your to-do is the butter on the toast. If the toast is cold, it will not melt the butter, and it will not be yummy. You have to warm up the toast by getting things done and feeling good about yourself so that the butter melts easily” — meaning the tasks come naturally and you’re not as overwhelmed. This person and I communicate mostly through metaphors and carbohydrates and occasionally through combinations of the two. Soul mates.
See, it all ties back into the idea from two weeks ago, when we played the “should” game (we all lost, by the way), and the thought that we “should” be able to do more, when the reality is that we cannot. Fact: Doing great things takes time. Finding yourself takes time, and the atmosphere at Tufts does not make it an easy — hell, even an enjoyable — task most of the time. It feels like we have to break down to absolutely nothing (involuntarily) to even see a glimpse of who we are or who we could be.
The friend I mentioned in last week’s column, we’ll call him “11:30 in the J Field,” stopped me outside of Dowling Hall last week, and we stood around talking. Within seconds we were talking about how all he wants is to decompress and find out who he is outside of Tufts, outside the context of school and from underneath the oppositional gaze. His face lit up when he spoke on thinking of his future, but then I could see reality settle in again: Taking “time off” after graduation will not be restful for him at the start — it would not be financially feasible. For him, a job is not an option, it is a necessity and self-discovery/self-realization, and the slow process toward getting to a place of content will not come for a while.
This is real, and it is everywhere.
So, here’s your only spring break assignment: Chill. Do, and chill. Get around to it. Not all of it, just some of it, whatever “it” is, and when you do, stare at it from all angles, then breathe and move on. I will be out of the country, so tweet me if you need any help or less vague guidance. We will see what we can d