By Eliza Jordan | firstname.lastname@example.org
He slowed his voice down and commanded my attention.
“Eliza,” he said, “exactly how many many head traumas have you had?”
I tried to calm my fidgety foot and thought about all of the other things that were pre-occupying my racing mind.
“Two,” I said. “Well, eight.” I corrected my sloppy thoughts with a simple math equation.
“Eight?” he asked, both inquisitive and curious.
I thought again to make sure I was correct.”Yes, eight.”
He raised his brows and asked me to explain.
“Well, I went through the windshield when I was 4, shattered the back of my skull due to head exhaustion at 16 and have had around 6 concussions before and after those incidents.”
He never lowered his brows. “Why today?” he asked. “Why did you decide to come in today of all days?” He reiterated his question and caused me to develop deeper thoughts.
“I’m always really busy, doctor,” I responded.
He looked shocked at my response as he walked over to the nurse’s bed and checked my pulse and heartbeat. “This is your life, Eliza. You have had several serious injuries and that is nothing to put aside due to a busy schedule.”
I caught my brows mimicking his in the same upward, arched position.
I had heard that advice in the past from other people; friends and family who wanted the best for me, but never necessarily from a doctor.
It hit me like a tsunami. A wave of emotion and a new concept of reality hit me harder than ever.
He had me explain my schedule, including, or to be more exact, excluding, my “fun” time. I reviewed the facts of having a double-major and a minor, of being heavily involved in Students in Free Enterprise and other extracurricular clubs on campus and of being an on-air radio DJ. Also, how I am a contributing writer and editor for The Gargoyle.
He pursed his lips and put up his hands. “Breathe, Eliza.” He simply reminded me to keep control of my breathing patterns.
I never thought that such a simple statement could be so powerful. Sometimes when I get caught in thought, I feel that the pressure of breathing is almost too much all in itself.
Besides pointing out the fact that I could possibly have a cyst growing on top of my scalp’s scar tissue, or that I have permanent brain damage, or that I will continue to have unbearable, throbbing migraines for the rest of my life, he pointed out that I was moving entirely too fast.
Literally, internally, figuratively, and in any-way-possible.
I crossed my ankles and closed my eyes, taking deep, slow breaths, while trying to remind myself that I only have one life. Why would I do everything at once? It doesn’t make me happy, it doesn’t make me pleasant and it apparently isn’t making me healthy.
I realized that I’m racing through life like I’m ungrateful and unappreciative.
I’m racing through life like I can’t adjust to time.
I thought about my life from a different standpoint for once. I’m a blessed, young college student who has the opportunity to leave my own mark on the world, to make my own decisions and to have the freedom to do so.
I’ve been living in a whirlwind of a lifestyle, but why?
I have a written-out 20-year plan. Why?
I pre-occupy my “fun” time with more work. Why?
The pressure of a successful future stresses me out to the point of over-exerting myself, which, ultimately, leads to exhaustion.
I looked back up at the doctor.
I could see his eyes focusing beyond my wandering eyes and into my over-active brain.
“Eliza,” he said, honest and plain. “You’re covering all of your bases.”
I looked up at him, wondering what his expertise had to offer.
He began to jot down something on his stiff clipboard.
“Just trust yourself,” he added.
And it was right then and there that my legs went limp, my fingers fell loose and I exhaled a sigh of relief.
We are all moving like rats, fast and anxious, weary and impatient. We all think we have a destination that is greater than where we are right now. But the truth of the matter is that enjoying what we have today is just as important as being able to enjoy what we have tomorrow.
It’s easy to get caught up in the fast-lane lifestyle, but the second you decide to appreciate the other side, is the second you appreciate who you are and who you are becoming.
It took something so serious and so real to make me realize that yes, I’m on the right track, and now, I’m slowing that track down.