Welcome to your life: Life advice from someone who has been there

Zach Brendza | Features Editor

Things fall through, fairly often in the newspaper world actually. In fact this article never would have been printed if the previous one assigned didn’t fall through. I’ve been thinking a lot about how things are now and how they used to be inregards to my life and I thought I might share some my thoughts. So here we go…

We need to start somewhere so I guess I’ll start with how you look at yourself. For the longest time, I thought I was a piece of shit. I still might be. I thought that I wasn’t worth anything, wasn’t good at anything either. If anyone complimented me, I would politely thank them but their words were empty in my eyes. Same goes for romance. I would sort of laugh and think to myself “why in the hell would you want to be with me?”

But I’ve grown out of that self-loathing shell and realized I’m worth something. It took this past summer to change my self-view, but it happened.

I had an internship which I thought I didn’t deserve. I thought so many other people could have done it better than me, were more qualifed than I. Nonetheless, my boss, now friend, chose me and I ran with it. I worked as hard as I could and throughout the summer months, began to look at myself differently. It took someone telling me that I was actually good at what I was doing for me to change myself, but it doesn’t have to be that way (although it helps).

The point is this: you have to believe in you. There will always be people who support you. There will always people who want to see you fail. That doesn’t matter. If you don’t, you will get nowhere. Regardless of what anyone else says or thinks, you should be your biggest supporter. You should be your biggest fan. In my case, I needed someone I looked up to to show me my own self-worth. But at the end of the day, I was the one who had to accept the praise. It’s a cynical view, but the truth is if you don’t believe in yourself, why should anyone else? But believing in yourself is only part of the journey. It may sound selfish, but you need to take care of yourself, before anyone or anything else.

If you’re human, which I assume you are, often that’s easier said than done. Everyone says “you need to take time for yourself” or “you look tired, why don’t you call off work?”. In a fantasy world where no one has expenses and college is a four-year hang out, that sounds great! Sign me up.

But that’s shit. We do, in fact, live in the real world, where spinning pizza dough for 8 hours instead of a night out is necessary to fill up a gas tank. We live in the real world where you have to pull all-nighters, run on no sleep and pray to the bank gods that you don’t overdraft before payday. Yes, you do need to take care of yourself, but that 25th hour in the day doesn’t always exist.

What you do is this: Live on the little things. You didn’t get a parking ticket? Cool. You went to bed before 2? Right on, man. Your co-worker switched shifts so you could spend time with your significant other? Outstanding. Taking one minute out of your daily 1,440 can go a long way. Every day people overlook all the actual good things they have going for them. If you take things for granted, you will lose them. I promise you that.

Things are not always going to be perfect. They might never be. But there’s a reason you’re doing the things you are. If there isn’t, cut those things out. You only have so much room on your plate before it breaks.

What you fill that plate with is up to you. You’re going to have to work at some point. You may or may not be going to school. You have friends that you want to hang out with. Commitments will always be there. That’s the nature of the beast. But who you choose to spend your time with is on you.

I’ve been in a lot of situations where I’ve tried to make time for everyone. I’ll save you the suspense: it’s not possible. There won’t be time for everyone you know or care about. If I’ve learned anything it’s this, you can’t make everyone happy. Don’t forget that, it’s important. But it’s the ones you choose to make happy that matter. And at the end of the day, the name on the top of that list better damn be your name.

Welcome to your life. The rest is up to you.