This past year, I definitely overcommitted myself in wanting to take on everything. It started in the fall studying for the GRE and training for the New York City Marathon. Both were time intensive in terms of training and self discipline and certainly monopolized the little amount of free time I had on the weekends for socializing with friends. Additionally, work was insane and far more demanding than I anticipated. When I did college applications previously, I supported six girls and while I did this in addition to a full time job, it's much more simpler to manage six than sixty nine. On my specific caseload, I had forty three scholars and I thought that I could support them all with the same level of detail and attention that I had done with my six. Between editing essays line by line and writing recommendation letters, I mentally and emotionally exhausted myself. I'm incredibly urgent and efficient and while I think these are two of my strongest strengths, they can definitely be my weaknesses when I attempt to move full speed ahead for months at a time. On top of supporting scholars with their applications, I had my own to do and would often leave my essays for last. Once January rolled around and the notorious January 1st deadline had passed for both scholars and myself, I thought it would settle but thats when Henry became intensely ill. He was diagnosed with hip dysplasia last summer and while he had been on medicine for a few months, his body was suddenly reacting though we had no idea of the cause. For over a month straight, I came home knowing I would have to clean up vomit every single day. It was draining. I had to throw away rugs, bedding, and countless towels. It was incredibly frustrating but also so upsetting because I had no idea what was wrong with Henry or how to make him better and felt completely helpless for him. The only thing he would eat was homemade brown rice with chicken and broth but that was time extensive to make and again exhausting after coming home to clean up throw up. We went to the doctor quite a few times and often, I thought it was the end. As you can imagine, the medical bills pilled up on top of what was already a pretty decent amount of debt I had accumulated and I truly thought I had reached rock bottom swimming in this sea of responsibilities that I couldn't keep up with trying to tackle everything.
I ended up taking some time off of work with the hope of prioritizing me and figuring out what I needed to do to swim back to the surface. I reached out to a different vet and started Henry on a new medicine. He's been easing on to it since late February and has been doing well thus far so fingers crossed, this is a solution. I came clean to my parents about my finances and mom created a very detailed budget for me that included a plan for paying off of my debt. I was accepted to my top choice for graduate school so all of the studying and late night applications certainly paid off. And though I'm still plowing ahead full force at school, I'm trying to limit myself to working hours and have been leaving promptly at 4:45 PM everyday. (Well, most days.)
While I'm fiercely independent and have been trying to do everything all on my own since I was a child, the past few months have taught me how much I need others to support to me. Whether it was my parents helping me strategically plan to pay down my debt (not something you chat with friends about) or one of my friends answering my phone calls when I just wanted to sob about Henry, I don't have to do everything on my own. Because I'm single when most of my friends are either married, engaged, or in a long term relationship, I sometimes leave my blinders on and think that I don't have anyone to support me when in reality so I am surrounded by so many who are willing if I would simply open up and ask for the help.
I share this because I want to share the good and the bad. I know I'm not the only one who goes through difficult times and often times, I think we all feel pressured to keep the struggles so tightly secured, that it can be liberating when we are honest and share how we are really doing. I desperately wanted to do everything and I wanted to do everything all by myself but the truth is, it's impossible and I needed others more than I needed to do everything. I'll leave you with this verse that I return to as a gentle reminder when I take on too much "What you are doing is not good... The work is too heavy for you; you cannot handle it alone." - Exodus 18:17-18