Mia Marroquin | Thursday, February 18, 2021
I’ve always thrived on pressure, competition and constantly being busy. Throughout the years, I’ve channeled my drive into academics, athletics, the hottest social event and anything else in between.
There is no denying the satisfaction gained from pouring everything you can into a project and receiving endless, often unwarranted, praise — even when it comes at the cost of your physical and mental health.
Last semester, like many of my peers, I balanced a full credit load, late nights at The Observer, a virtual internship and a few other odds and ends commitments — enough to make any rational person exhausted at the end of the day. But somehow I still managed to find time for two, even three, boutique fitness classes a day, plus an additional couple hours in the Angela Fitness Center.
There was nothing wrong with that, right? All these lifestyle blogs preach how exercise is the best form of self-care. And I mean, if all my friends were closing the activity rings on their Apple Watches, who was I to be the lazy bones that didn’t?
Wrong. My competitive drive quickly turned into ‘just how much can I put my body through on any given day.’
Our bodies are smarter than we give them credit for and boy did I underestimate just how much power mine held over me. Quickly into the fall semester my energy was nonexistent, days on end filled with nausea and stomachaches so strong I could barely get out of bed ensued.
I spent more and more time doing things that would keep my symptoms at bay, like simply, not eating.
It quickly became a matter of control — when nothing else seemed to be going right in my life, at least I could control what I did, or didn’t, eat.
Hitting this point was exactly what I needed to make myself realize that everything else is so trivial when compared to your well-being. I reluctantly learned that when it comes to my health the only competition I’m in is with being the best version myself, and like any good training strategy, success doesn’t come overnight.
Being sick was the wake-up call I needed to slow down and take care of myself — all aspects of myself.
Once I came home for winter break and was able to solely focus all my energy on getting healthier, I began to realize life isn’t better or more glamorous because you can run a six-minute mile or fit into a size two. I found myself admiring the sunset exactly the same on the days when I hit 10,000 steps and on the days I didn’t.
At the end of the day, I still love a friendly competition of ‘can I get this paper turned in by the deadline’ and hitting a PR on the weight floor. But more importantly, today, I’m able to look forward to an hour at OrangeTheory with the same fervor that I posses watching “Law & Order” reruns on the couch while eating gummy bears.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.