by USjournal Student Writer: Rebecca Darrup, Cross-Country Cowgirl
Well, we're about halfway through this fall semester, and that means midterms are coming up! I'd be willing to bet that by this point, many of you have a spot picked out where you go to do most of your studying, and I wish you the best of luck as you spend so much time there. For some of you, I'm sure you do more than just study in that spot: it's like a hiding place where you can get away from the chaos of life for a little bit, clear your mind, and just think. It's kind of a neat feeling, right? You've got your spot where you get to observe the world almost from the outside in.
Especially with midterms on the horizon, it can be so very tricky to keep your life balanced. When you've got so many assignments due, tests to study for, maybe sports to practice, family to stay in touch with, a job to work, and a social life to keep alive, how do you stay on top of it all? Oh, not to mention you've got to sleep sometime! It's not easy being a college kid, that's for sure.
Just recently, I was blessed by a very unexpected visit from my dad. At first, it made me nervous; I was concerned that someone was sick or dying, or that I was about to be in a whole mess of trouble for something I'd done, but I couldn't figure out what that would be. Thankfully, it was just a short visit to catch up and spend some time together, and it was such a good weekend! We got to talk about a lot of topics, and Dad always has good advice for me (although if I'm honest, there are lots of times that I don't want to hear it). One of his favorite things to remind me is to keep "everything in moderation". That's not an easy thing to do! He's right, though. When I focus too much on one area of my life, the other areas suffer, and that's not good. There are seasons in life where one thing takes precedence, such as schoolwork and studying when midterms are coming, which is just part of life. Even during those times, though, it's important to stay balanced when you feel like you're walking a tightrope. If friends ask for your time on a night you'd blocked off to study, it's perfectly okay to tell them "nope, not tonight", but you might suggest another night, maybe after your tests are done and you're a little more caught up. It might not feel like it, but that will keep you balanced -- and maybe a little more motivated to get through midterms and do them well?
Along with keeping your balance as you walk the wire we all call life, what about those 'hiding spots' we mentioned earlier? There are areas of your life that you enjoy and thrive off more than others, right? We've all got things we'd rather do and places we'd rather be. Even with those, it's important to spread your time around equally.
I was working my horses a little while back and pondering life while I did. I got thinking about all the cool places I've been and the people I've been able to interact with, and realized that there's been several times I've thought, "Man, life just doesn't get better than this." That's all well and good, and I'm so thankful for those times! Here's the catch, though: I've thought that so many times, but rarely in the same place twice. As time goes on, life changes, and so do we. Our interests change, our friends change, and our goals and focus changes too. That's okay!
If you've been reading with me for a while, you've noticed I spend a good deal of my time rodeoing, on the road to rodeos, or in the practice pen getting ready for rodeos. However, this is my last year to compete in college rodeo, which means that by next summer, I will have made my final goat-tying run. While I will still continue to rodeo, I won't be on a team anymore, and my plans to compete professionally have gone to the back burner for some time for several reasons. This took me a little while to accept... some days I'm still coming to terms with that fact. It's all a part of life, though, and so my focus is changing. The times that I've thought rodeo was the best part of my life -- I'll always cherish those, without a doubt! I also know that I'll get back to it in God's timing. Pondering on this the other day is part of what made me fully realize that when Dad tells me to keep everything in moderation, he doesn't just mean the amount of my grandma's chocolate chip cookies I eat to the amount of time I spend in the gym. He means to apply it to the rest of my life, too. If I spend all my time obsessed with one area of life, what happens when that area is taken away from me? Nothing good! If I keep my balance, though, I won't lose who I am when I lose one part of what I do. What I do is not who I am.
In thinking of all the "life's best" times, what stands out most to you? Who were you with? Where were you, and what were you doing? Keep those activities and people close to you, and cherish them! It won't last forever, but the memory will. I've heard it said that people will forget what you did, but they'll always remember how you made them feel. Keep those feelings close, and live for those moments when you feel that life just can't get better. When things are tough, let those memories pick your chin up. When things are good, be thankful and enjoy it! Stay balanced, my friends. Walk that wire with a smile!
Here are Rebecca's other posts, in case you missed them:
Best of luck in all your endeavors,
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