“Millennial Burnout”, “Quarter Life Crisis”, “Surviving Your 20's”. I’ve been seeing a lot of these articles lately. To me their pointing to a very real yet under valued theme of Self Care.
Self Care is not another “check off the box” task such as going to the gym, getting a pedicure or getting your haircut to prove to yourself that you matter. Self Care, when done intentionally, is the rebellious act of putting yourself FIRST in life.
In a world that loves to fill our time and space with distractions, pressure and fear, the thought of making YOU the number one priority may feel self centered. But between juggling your job, family, friends, and other “busy” priorities of life, where do YOU fall on the list of your own priorities? Can you honestly say you fit into your own schedule? Are you truly serving a life that you love or serving a life you feel burdened by?
If you are what I call a “Human Doer” these questions may feel almost impossible to answer. A Human Doer is an individual or person who lives on auto-pilot. These are people who prioritize their safety and feeling good by trying to “fix” every circumstance or road block that comes their way. These are people simply “surviving life” by keeping extremely busy while feeling extraordinary amounts of pressure. Human Doers live predictable lives. There is very little, if any, time for them to spend creating, exploring, or being curious about new things because there is simply too much to "do". Their moments of temporary joy come when they complete a task but it is then quickly diminished when the next task presents itself.
Does this sound like you? If so, you’re not alone. In fact this is a common theme for many of us, specifically our millennial generation who have been raised and subconsciously trained to behave driven by external success and validation. From the moment we started school, we have been programmed to “check the box”. Go to school, get the good grades, join activities, get a good job, get married and do “good enough” to impress others and receive their acknowledgement to one day “be somebody in the world.” Although we couldn’t tell then, who we were really becoming were “Human Doers”.
The sad part of being a Human Doer is once you finish “doing” all the things there are to be done, you then spend the rest of your time telling stories about how things got to be this way, and maybe what you “hope” could be different. Like a hamster running ferociously on a wheel, this way of living really gets us no where. There’s no wonder why in the “Age of Information” millennials and even some of our older generations are struggling with anxiety, depression and alarming rates of suicide. Our cups have run empty.
Self Care is the act of Being Human. It is intentionally unlearning the robotic Human Doer tendencies ,and reprogramming yourself to think, feel and act with yourself as the number one priority in your life. To be fully human is to be fully committed to self care. Self Care starts with curiosity and is followed by courage. It is boldly taking a look at yourself and choosing to step away from the human rat race by honoring yourself as the POWERFUL individual you are. It is choosing to create a life that constantly fills you instead of drains you.
To be a “Human Being” and not a “Human Doer” is choosing to take responsibility and asking yourself “Who do I want to Be” then pursuing that vision whole heartedly despite the current set up of your life.
My question for those reading this today, is which one are you? If you can’t answer that, try first reflecting on your current list of priorities. Are you anywhere near the top of that list? If not, why might that be? It’s all your choice. A Human Being or Human Doer. Who do you choose to Be?