Living Life In Survival Mode
“I live life in survival mode,” a character from The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz - the book I finished last week - explained, his voice heavy.
The character endured a harder life than most, being an orphan whose late mother suffered a lifelong drug addiction. But I believe his words can be applied to so many others, in smaller ways.
I know they apply to me.
For my first three years of high school, I lived each day as if I was just trying to survive until the next holiday or break. Now, as a senior, although I’m trying to stop, I find myself living each day as if my only goal is to survive until next semester - when I can finally breathe, knowing which college I’ll be attending.
And the consequence of this mindset? I’m not letting myself breathe now. I’m not letting myself see the beauty in the little things, the small joys of everyday life - the way my dog’s tail wags when I arrive home, the laughs I share with my friends before math class begins.
Because I’m always in pursuit of accomplishing my next goal, of reaching the other side. Once I get there, I tell myself, then I’ll really enjoy myself for a while.
Images of my future self opening an acceptance letter flash through my mind every day, which makes me believe that literally the only thing I should be doing right now is focusing on making that vision come true. Nothing else.
But life doesn’t work like that. Or it shouldn’t, at least.
Yes, it’s great I have goals I’m passionate about, and it’s great I have the discipline to focus on them. But I need to have the discipline to balance myself, too.
I need to have the discipline to let myself breathe, to stop myself from suffocating.