In the emergence of adulthood, we find ourselves needing to gauge our capabilities. I find myself yearning for a challenge while also, at times, feeling quite behind. Everything can feel like an uphill battle, whether it be passion work or busy work, anything good or bad in our lives comes with a great deal of stress. With that being said, anxieties will forever be constant, so it's our responsibility to keep our minds and to know what matters are worthy of the stress.
Stress, like any emotion, is energy in our bodies. When we break down or act out, it is because we have accumulated such energy, lack the outlet to express it, and then do so in an exacerbated and uncomfortable manner. This could apply to any stress we may experience, whether it be regarding grades, a relationship, a job, et cetera. If we let the struggles pile on, we’ll never know when the straw will break the camel’s back. Your own inevitable breaking point is something everyone should be familiar with; however, to experience such requires devotion, resilience and faith in one’s self to bounce back. We are tougher than we may give ourselves credit for. The universality of struggle is something we are all familiar with in some way or another; however, prolonged endurance is what makes us into more capable people.
To willingly put ourselves in stressful situations is a task easier said than done, because we never get what we want on the first attempt. We will mess up. Trial and error is the bread and butter of personal growth. Feeling such extremes and the fatigue that comes with it is a necessary balance in experiencing the totality of life. This mindset, however daunting, also requires some assertions before proceeding with it. We must know what we’re willing to struggle for. What is the end goal? How must I justify my means? This could be anything. Either a short-term or long-term goal—something that looms over you and beckons only your best effort. We are the work we put in. Any task completed is like looking in a mirror. When we look at something we have done, it reminds us of our autonomy, and that we should be proud of our accomplishments—whatever they may be.
We’ve all been there; another late night, caffeine-fueled, manic struggle where we’re rushing to finish the essay we’ve procrastinated on all week. Clacking away on the keyboard, disregarding spelling mistakes to save time, and running down the clock while jumping in and out of writer’s block. After all this, we frantically hit send, and with five minutes to spare.
We sigh with relief and sit back, but lean back forward only to now think about all those spelling mistakes. We wait a long week and get an email from our professor—we assume she’s caught on to our poor work ethic. She's been looking for the chance to flunk us. It was always a matter of time….
“This essay…” She writes… “was one of the best essays I’ve ever read in my time teaching.”
We stare at the computer screen blankly for a moment, then scoff.
“You expect anything less?” We remark smuggly, because in that moment we relearned a lesson that always seems to teach itself when we forget. We can do anything. All we need is devotion, and more importantly, we need the stress, because our truest potential isn’t guided, it is a reaction to a dilemma that requires it.