We're all just living for the hustle.
Updated: Jan 31
So last week was pretty much finals week for me. And you're probably wondering why I say that. Well, I had 3 exams: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. And if you're in the School of Communication at UM, 3 exams in one week is unheard-of.
So yeah, I didn’t know how to handle it, and so I struggled, a little (or a lot if I'm being honest). And throughout the week, the stress of knowing there was always something I could be doing constantly plagued me. And those lingering thoughts were so prominent I barely took a break to just relax and forget about my responsibilities.
But this week, I haven’t even stepped foot in the library, and I don’t plan on it. I've barely thought about school when I wasn’t in class. With no exams or homework, I've had so much free time, and to some that's the dream. Yet, I can't help but almost wish I had things to do.
I think, our culture today, whether we’re working individuals or still in college, pushes the mentality of getting the job done. We push this “hustle” culture of constantly needing something to occupy our time. And if we spend our Saturdays not out with friends or Sundays not preparing for the week ahead, then we’re doing something wrong.
But what I realized, with having all this downtime this week, is that it’s okay to lay in bed and watch Netflix. It’s okay to not worry about your next exam or next homework assignment. It's okay to not have the next week mapped out.
This “hustle” culture rewards those who work hard and lose sleep over working hard. It doesn’t value those who spend their Sundays watching tv shows in bed or sleeping all day to catch up on the sleep they've missed. It encourages those who are sick, to go out and do things, because, well, you’re not a productive person apparently if you’re not doing something.
But since I didn’t have schoolwork to prioritize my time and occupy my thoughts this week, I've relaxed, watched Netflix, spent more time cooking, writing, and designing random stuff. I did not do any of that because I felt the pressure to. I did not binge watch shows and movies because I was peer pressured to. Nor was I forced to get groceries and cook. I did it all on my own- I chose to do all of it.
But with the “grind don’t stop” mentality, we’ll always view our work, our hobbies, our career in a negative way. We’ll see it as something we have to do, instead of something we choose to do.
Think of it this way- if you think you have so many things to do and not enough time, and it comes time to eat dinner, you might just eat a microwavable meal and go back to working. But because I've had downtime this week, instead of cooking frozen taquitos and mac & cheese, I've actually spent time making what I want. And spending time doing something without any pressures of other obligations is so fulfilling and often overlooked.
So stop beating yourself up for spending “too much time” doing nothing because sometimes doing nothing to others, is something to you.
We need breaks in our lives- mental breaks, physical breaks, whatever it may be. Because without those, we’ll lose sight of what we want, lost in the pressures of everything else. We’ll view everything as a hustle, and we won’t ever view what we do as something that relaxes us- which it should.
So don't feel guilty. Don't feel guilty if you have 3 exams in one week and you go to sleep early instead of spending all night in the library. Unless you really need to do it, don't pressure yourself to constantly be doing something. There are so many hours in the day, but there is also so little time. So devote some of that time to easing the pressure off just a little. Take a deep breath, and keep yourself in check.
Because when you live for the hustle, the constant grind, you lose sight of everything else.
And for those who think doing nothing is the worst way to spend your time, I’m here to say, sometimes it’s the best.