Focusing on what you can control

Savannah Libby | The Chronicle

Balance is a concept that some people grasp instantly and others struggle with for their entire lives.

Having extracurriculars, sports, a part-time job, all on top of schoolwork is enough to stress anyone out. And when factoring in unfortunate life events, it can be easy for things to turn into a whirlwind of problems, especially when you try to fix everything at once.

The problem with focusing on these uncontrollable events is that when you do, they eat you alive.

Many students, including myself, are almost always in season for sports. Recently, I got an injury that put me out of my sport for three months, which re-occurred after I healed. I now have to have surgery over an injury that was caused by one event, causing me to be out for nearly six months. I had lost a crucial part of myself already and I didn’t want to lose it again for even longer. More than anything, I sought to find some semblance of control. Maybe there was some way I could still participate or partake in these activities.

I felt the pressure to always be on top of things while simultaneously achieving a state of serenity and “balance”, even when the list of things that high schoolers have to do can be unrealistically long. Throughout high school, many students struggle with the idea of control and the toll it can take on their life.

It’s only human nature to desire control as it makes us feel more aware and less insecure. That’s also a part of the reason we feel fear, feel out of control. As students, we’re used to prioritizing school work, but when something like a breakup or a flat tire occurs, it can feel like the entire world is crumbling around us, and finding that balance becomes more crucial than ever.

However, recognizing that these uncontrollable events are a fixed aspect of life and accepting them was the fastest way for me to achieve some sense of balance.

Life will never be perfect, everyone messes up and things can get blurry sometimes. Sometimes it feels like you don’t know what will happen next or where to even start. But when that happens to me, I try to remind myself that there is only so much I can control.

While it is not healthy to dwell on things that are outside of our control, we all still tend to do it. 

Even if most of what comes next contains stress, anxiety, and is nothing short of a blurry jumble of thoughts and ideas, I remember that I can only control what I’m doing at the moment.

Illustration by Alisha Verma