I read an article recently that used this title to describe a phenomenon that is so ingrained in our society, that I didn’t even know there was a word for it. For those of you that don’t know, I became an RA this year, something I didn’t find out was happening until 2 weeks before I started my sophomore year of college. At a medium sized school like LMU, most people are involved in multiple things on campus, so naturally there becomes some overlap between activities you find yourself in. Freshman year, I met so many different people that it never occurred to me how prevalent this issue was outside of my high school.
The “busy-ness olympics” as I characterize it, is the constant competition of workload and encouragement of an unhealthy lifestyle. People at my high school always “humblebragged” about how less sleep they got or how intense their work was. Spending a year of college out of that environment, able to learn at my own pace without tension among my peers gave me a totally different view towards college. As I entered the selective student housing environment, most people were like me, simply because we were chosen for the same position with similar qualities. That was when I realized this race of maximum credits and involvements was never ending.
There was no winner because there was no finish line.
I became surrounded by more and more people that had an amazing drive and a commendable work ethic, but an underlying insecurity of not meeting expectations. My honest first reaction was to feed into the same environment. I got caught up with the others, feeding my own insecurities of not being good enough. The first thing that took a toll was my health. I was getting between 4-6 hours of sleep a night, eating either too much or too little, lacking as an RA as well as academically. I was an utter mess. I felt sick inside because I started believing that quantity was valued more than quality. I put on this facade that I was happy with treating my mental and physical health like shit because it was what everyone around me was doing.
When the halfway point of the semester came by, I got sick. I was forced to spend a weekend in bed because my body had given up on me. The next weekend I went home, only to realize I was putting myself back in the same environment I had my 4 years of high school. I came back knowing something had to change.
I don’t blame the people I work with, because just like me, it isn’t their fault. American society is built up on the ideal that the busier you are, the more successful you will be, and the more people will hold you at a higher regard.
Our worth is measured within our accomplishments and not if we have a smile on our face, make others feel warm, or doing the same for our bodies that they do for us.
So I decided to shut my mouth. As simple as that sounds, it showed me that contributing to a conversation just to one-up someone is unproductive and unnecessary. We preach that we are the millennials that support and bring each other up, but it’s about time we actually act on that.
Friendly competition is needed, and I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone this semester and achieved some pretty cool things because of that. We can’t stop those thoughts that will come into our minds from time to time; we can only use them to grow. The “busy-ness olympics” won’t end even when I am 50 years old with a family and career, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make the conscious effort to change my personal feelings about it.
I am so much happier because I’ve been spending the time to cut down and reflect on what I want to really prioritize my life on. I still love the people I surround myself with, because they’ve taught me more about who I am, and I’m not perfect. But then again, who is?
Link to article: