I’ve always been the type of person that goes all in. When I commit to doing something, I put my complete all into it and give it my full effort and attention. That’s how I was taught growing up, and it’s always served me well. Now, as I’m sure you expected, here comes the “but.”
But lately, I’ve come to the realization that it’s become a hindrance, especially with the anxiety I’ve been struggling with lately. At first I thought this issue was limited to just me, due to my extremely type-A, over-achiever personality, but a recent drunken night and some late-night chats showed me that many people in my stage of life share the same struggle. The struggle to toe the line between the work-hard play-hard mentality.
As a recent post-grad, I play two opposing roles. I’m either all work, all the time, or I’m being a complete degenerate, especially at times when I really shouldn’t be (Sunday nights are not the time for jello-shots). It’s like I can’t be the right blend of both. When I’m being financially and personally responsible, I put all of my effort and attention into my work and leave little to no time for fun. I’m doing what I feel I’m “supposed to,” and yet, I feel nothing but boredom and malaise. When I flip-flop the other way, the fun comes at a cost – mostly to my wallet and body (I still have bruises from St. Patrick’s Day), but also to my sense of accomplishment. For some reason (probably related to the type-A reasoning mentioned above), I always feel guilty about going out, having a good time, and maybe taking a weekend to not look at my email and have a few (or more) drinks. And I know I’m not the only one in this teetering boat.
Living this way can make you feel, simply put, exhausted. It’s so uninspiring that it wears you down and tires you. Bouncing back and forth between being two completely different types of people with different goals and priorities can make you feel like you’ve lost yourself.
For me, this all-or-nothing mentality has resulted in me being completely unhappy at both extremes, and it wasn’t until the last few weeks that I had this realization. In my head, I had to fully become this responsible business professional the second I graduated college and started at a 9-to-5, because that’s what grown-ups do, isn’t it? I felt the need to not only fit that mold -but to excel at it.
In my head, if I’m going to be in the corporate world and excel, I need to live and breathe it, not only at work, but at home too. I need to be on the grind 24/7 and fit the buttoned up, high heels, and pressed pants mold. On the other hand, however, I’m not ready to give up on the idea that I’m still just a kid, enjoying what fleeting moments of youth I can have before I finally succumb to being a corporate drone. While I’ve tried to stay true to my work persona, that’s just not who I am at home and in my personal life. I’m the most basic, “leggings and an inappropriate long sleeve t-shirt” girl you’ll ever meet. I like messy wings and cheap wine (I know that’s not a personality. I just like them. Is that okay?). I might not puke at bars anymore, but I sure still do in Walgreens parking lots on the way to brunch the next morning. How can that person excel at their “corporate” job?
Being the person who does both and has a ‘separation of church and state’ hadn’t occurred to me because I was too busy feeling guilty about slipping up from the perfect #grind lifestyle. Honestly, I’m tired of it. And most importantly, I’m tired of feeling guilty for having fun. I might not be in college anymore but I’m still 23-years-old. I’m closer to the age I started college than I am to the age where I become a parent (knock on wood). So I’m saying, it here and now:
I – no. WE are allowed to still have fun, even if we’re “adults” now.
If I don’t answer an email on a Saturday, it’s not the end of the world and it probably won’t even set my career back (that much). If I’m a little hungover at work on a Monday, well, so is like half of America. And if I spend a little too much or get a little too crazy on a Friday night, that’s ok. That’s what the weekend is there for.
We, as young post-grads, do not have to be all-in, all the time. We can be all-in on the present, whatever that may be at the time, and that’s just fine. You can go to work with your collar all buttoned up on Monday morning and still do Green-Tea shots in the bars on the weekend too. Hey, at least now you have the money for it, right? Find your balance and be you – not just “corporate you.”