In college, I used to call home and tell my mother about every single homework assignment, group project, or looming exam that was worrying me. And God bless her for listening and just saying affirming things like, "Wow, sounds like you're busy" or "Well, remember to get some rest," because in retrospect I'm sure those conversations were excruciatingly dull for her.
And when I moved to Boston to attend Harvard, I can't tell you the number of times I found myself trudging along, so very, very angry inside, seething at the injustice of being too poor to afford a car, so I had to either walk or take the bus. Except by the time I walked the mile to the bus stop, campus was only another mile further, so I usually ended up just walking.
I walked in blizzards, torrential downpours, unforgiving humidity, and violent winds.
Plodding along I'd think I hate this. I hate this. I HATE THIS.
I was finally in Arizona, a place I had wanted to live all my life because it met my criteria for warm, reliable sunshine, no rain, and a place where I could strike out on my own.
And more importantly, it finally hit me:
- I get to live in Arizona.
- I get to be in a PhD program.
- I get to meet new people.
- I get to live the life I want.
See, the old me might have groaned about, ugh, I have to move, I have to do so much work, I have to make new friends....
I told myself, Stop It, Jessica. STAAAAHP.
From now on, you live the life you have like it's the life you want. And if there is something you don't like about your situation, don't complain - take measures to change it. And above all? Appreciate everything you get to do.
In other words, trade the "I have to's" for "I get to."
I encourage you to adopt this line the next time you find yourself fretting about school, finding a job, or working.
- I hate having to go to class --> I get to attend college
- I have to learn how to do a resume -- I get to start looking for a job
- I have to go to work --> I get to go to work - I'm employed!
- I have so much cleaning to do --> I get to live somewhere
- I have to go grocery shopping --> I get to have food when I need it
You get the idea.
Attending college, having steady employment, and heck, even having a house to clean are all actually exceptionally fortunate circumstances to find ourselves in.
I promise you - try switching the have to's for the get to's and see if your outlook doesn't change to something more positive with it, which in turn breeds productivity, likability, and a drive and ability to succeed.