“How are you going to take care of you?”

The question hit me like a ton a bricks as I sat on supple leather couch struggling to focus through teary eyes. I had finally decided to seek counseling regarding all the things in my life that had been bogging me down; mainly my job. In the thirty-five minutes I had spent spilling all about my life woes, I suddenly found myself speechless. I was saddened that I was unable to answer this woman’s question. I had stopped taking care of me beyond fulfilling my basic needs.

When did I stop caring about me?

Living in DC has been the best and worst times of my life. I have had the unfortunate-fortunate experience of going through, and in no particular order: heartbreak, disappointment, struggle and success. I know what it’s like to spend nights crying hysterically to my girlfriends because the thought of tomorrow seemed bleak. Someone should’ve told me in college that cities where everyone is a workaholic tend to produce burnt out people.  I’m not sure when, but at some point during my time in this city I started to put myself last.

Drowning in success is just a pitiful as swimming in failure.

In this town, people build their whole lives and self worth based off their achievements. I reveled in the fact that I lived in a well-educated and highly-employed city. It amazed me that a human being could accomplish so much in their life in short time spans. It wasn’t until I started interacting with people in casual settings that I began to realize how tired and frayed so many of these individuals were. The city had burned them out. In a town full of high-achievers, there aren’t too many places to rest weary souls and that’s unfortunate.

Learn to let go and gain pieces of yourself.

Breaking points in your life aren’t tragedies or simply cries for help, they’re reminders of your humanity. At the beginning of this year I made the conscious decision to take back my life and pursue opportunities that make me happy. I no longer feel the need to bring my ‘whole self’ to work, to worry about my job off the clock, or to over-extend myself for non-reciprocal relationships. With each new personal endeavor I embark on, I gain little bits of myself that had been lost. I am looking forward to being whole again.

I had a lot of great mentors and professors in college who taught me a lot of great lessons. But I ignored the biggest lesson that many of them attempted to impart: make time for yourself. My challenge for you is to find and maintain the spaces that define you and keep you energized