Tea Time

I haven’t written anything in the past 4 months, the first two out of laziness, and the last two out of busyness. Recently, I haven’t had too much time to think about my blog posts and put in the effort to write and edit them, and although I do have a couple of ideas, it’s hard to get in the creative mood when being so busy really squeezes it out of you. 

The last two months have been pretty tough, as Columbia always is. I started the year the way I always do, going to all my classes and paying attention (read: not on reddit), taking notes, not falling asleep, going to the gym regularly, doing my homework on time, and actually reading more than the Wikipedia page for my cc readings, but somewhere down the line something slipped and now I frequent my 10 am class once a week (if even), my gym progress has fallen alarmingly fast, and I’m not sure what the hell the character extension theorem is or what Al Ghazali has to say about mysticism. 

Now, with midterms coming up again, a bunch of problem sets to do, meetings to attend, events to plan, work to go to, internships to apply to, friends to catch up with, I feel a little bit like this:

It’s been a little overwhelming, to say the least. I feel like I am surrounded by a bunch of fires burning in my life, and I’m just sitting in the middle like this:

Note: arm is on fire

Note: arm is on fire

The individual days aren't too bad, but it’s really the grind that gets you. After all,

Any idiot can survive a crisis - it’s day to day living that wears you out.
— Anton Chekhov

I find that it’s not really the midterm/ paper/ problem set hell week that grinds you down; it’s the busy day followed by the busy week followed by the busy month followed by the busy semester, and before the year is over you start getting this faint but growing sense that you are drowning. It’s like everything that I have to do is tied to me like little weights and I’m stuck in the middle of a whirlpool, when all I need is just a long deep breathe of air. 

One of my friends in high school once told me to “make an effort to relax," and it didn’t make a lot of sense to me at the time. Why would you need to “try” to relax? But I kind of see what she meant now, because it’s easy to get caught up in your work, and all of a sudden your life is about your work. You exercise to keep your mind sharp for your work, you hang out with friends to take a break from work for your work, you sleep so you rest your mind for your work. It’s hard to figure out how to step away from your work, how to properly relax, and eventually it just feels like you’re waging the war on fun on yourself (hint: everyone loses).

I still haven’t figured out that work-life balance. These days, I feel overwhelmed a lot, and my mind feels a lot duller. It’s harder for me to study or stay focused or retain information as well, and my relationships are suffering and it’s harder to make time for people. During busy times in high school, I used to want to find a remote cave and spend a few days alone hiding in the cave, away from everyone, and recently I often find myself thinking fondly about that cave.

I like to end most of my blog posts with some sort of resolution or solution of some sort, or at least a satisfying conclusion, but I also like tackling hard questions, and this is a particularly tough question to answer. Most people I know struggle with it some time in their lives. So in lieu of a proper response, so far my plan is to just let the fires burn, and the waters churn, and 

I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my cup of tea.
— Fyodor Dostoyevsky