How to Handle It All


How to Handle It All

Ever have one of those days? How about one of those weeks, or those semesters? Yeah, we've all been there. Sometimes we go through a stretch where everything seems to be piled on top of us. There's homework and college applications and relationship troubles and fights with friends. There's band practice and clarinet practice and oh my God, did she really say that about me online? There's the constant buzz of tension that being alive and stressed and a bit confused brings. Sometimes we just want to throw up our hands and give up; we don't even know what to fix first in our lives. Then our parents come into the room and ask us to take out the trash and isn't that just the last straw? We just cannot handle it all. We CANNOT.

If you've ever felt this way, don't you worry; all the rest of us have too. Sometimes life gets overwhelming, particularly in our busy modern day and age. We want to do a bit of everything, and Facebook and FOMO isn't exactly helping. But the secret is, there IS a way to get stuff done; not everything, but enough to feel Okay about it all.

The secret begins with something my dad always says to me. He would tell me when I was a kid, "You can have anything you want; you just can't have EVERYTHING you want." This is simple advice, but you wouldn't believe how helpful it is when you start applying it to your choices in your everyday routine. You want to Ace that big paper that's due this week. But you also want to watch five hours of television while eating butterscotch cookies. It's okay, I don't judge. We've all been there. The truth is, if you pause to think about your priorities, you'll realize that the choice is pretty simple; given that you can't have EVERYTHING you want, it's pretty easy to see which thing you want more. Which reward will be more lasting -- TV marathon or getting a good grade on that paper?

This can apply to pretty much any situation in life. So you're having a fight with your friend. You want to be in the right; you want the pride and superiority of saying "I told you so." But you also want your friend. You want to maintain that friendship that has meant so much to you. When you weigh one want against the other, and understand that you can't have both but you can have one, the choice becomes clear. It's time to apologize, and let whatever that was go.

It's all about taking a moment to assess your priorities, and be mindful about what you really want. What do you want today, and what do you want six months from now? How are you going to get closer to that six month desire?

I think the first part of my dad's saying is equally crucial. You can have anything you want, he always assured me. That opened tremendous doors of possibility in my kiddish mind. You want to be an astronaut, an engineer, the coolest kid in school? Whatever it is, you can achieve it if you work for it. The world is your oyster, kid. But if you keep sacrificing those big wants for smaller, pettier wants along the way, you'll never make it. You've got to keep your eyes on that big, real want looming on the horizon.

So what do you think? What are your little wants and what are your big wants, and how do they stack up against each other? When life is getting in the way, when you just cannot handle it right now, it's time to think about what you really want. Do you want to succeed in that super-hard class in school? Do you want to resolve things with your friend? Do you want your family to respect you more? What's most important to you? And what steps can you take toward that want? Take it one step at a time. Head firmly in that direction. And you'll be able to handle it just enough to get by.