Passion vs Balance

Everyone is encouraged to have passion. We are taught at a young age that having hobbies or beliefs that you are fiercely devoted to is a good thing, and that life without passion is dull at best. However, we’re also encouraged to have balance as a core element of our lives. We’re reminded that most things are bad in excess, and that being so obsessed with something that it takes up all the space in your brain and all the time in your schedule can lead to isolation and disappointment. Most of us thus strive for a form of ~balanced passion~ in which we pursue the things we care about in a rationally timed, fair-minded way. This approach seems like the best solution we can realistically achieve, but the more I reflect on it, the more dichotomous balance and passion seem to be. Passion shouldn’t be a logical process; it should be something that radiates out of you. In contrast, balance should uplift holistic wellbeing instead of perpetuating narrow life focuses. It seems as though simple hobbies can exist in a balanced state, but true, devoted passion cannot. Unless, of course, the very passion you’re talking about is a passion for balance. 

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It’s a funky way to describe my world view, but over the last few years of reflecting on what I value in the world, balance is a recurring theme. I always prefer having a mix of a bunch of things that make me happy rather than pouring my heart into one or two big things. Similarly, I believe in forming holistic opinions that consider all sides of a situation rather than sticking to one core view. Whether it’s my appreciation for law-related topics, the relationship I have with running, or simply my day to day schedule, I find the greatest peace and fulfillment in making balance the foundation of everything I think and do. 

I’ve always found the law to be super interesting and legal proceedings to be super intuitive. With properly funded and educated counsel, both sides get a chance to sway the jury with their side of the story. Though there often are clear injustices in the power discrepancies between prosecution and defense, the premise that the law should be based on balanced scales of justice really appeals to me. I’ve always been a big believer in hearing everyone’s side of the story and considering all perspectives when evaluating what is true or not. If you think about it, that’s kind of a simplified version of what judges and juries are supposed to do with every case. I swear this isn’t me claiming I have the credentials to be a judge (though my parents did say that I should become one from the day that toddler me started arguing with them over what is and isn’t fair). This is, however, me saying that I think I’d be better at seeing the validity in both sides to a case than a decent number of judges I’ve read about. 

The same thing can be said for the relationship I have with my love for running. In high school, I was pretty much forced to have an unbalanced relationship with the sport. I loved my coach to pieces, and I know she only wanted the best for us, but my naturally injury-prone body did not fare well when it came to running 3 to 9 miles almost every day. Still, I was absolutely in love with everything running put into my life. I felt so validated by the act of setting and accomplishing goals, and I also relied on my runs almost daily to give me clarity with whatever was going on in my life. It was the epitome of a passion, and I didn’t really know how to give it up once I wasn’t running competitively in college anymore. I joined the club team at my school and even ran a half marathon with them, but my other responsibilities and involvements didn’t allow me the time or mental/physical energy to devote to running passionately like I used to. Running now is something I root in balance instead of passion, and while I’m constantly working to refine what that relationship exactly looks like, I know that I’m significantly happier doing it this way. The sport is now something I do to stay healthy and tone muscle instead of something I do to win all the medals I possibly can. It’s still one of the best coping mechanisms I have and a priority for my summer break this year, but it’s not something I feel forced to do on days when my body is begging for rest. The clarity I used to get from a 6 mile run is now just as easily attained by a 2 mile run and a half-mile walk with my dog. I might not be able to come even close to hitting the times I used to when running was my true passion, but I now have more time and energy to spend on my other interests. This balanced view has helped me fall in love with the sport in new ways that I didn’t know were possible when the sport was my whole life, as odd as that sounds. 

Lastly, balance has been a core element of the way I’ve structured my life’s priorities for the past few years. While on the outside I probably come off like a workaholic, I’m extremely proud of myself for always seeking and pretty solidly implementing a balance of rest, social time, extracurricular activities, and studying throughout my college experience. I know that I’m the kind of person who needs to study something a million times before I can actually retain it for an exam, but I also know I’m the kind of person who will go absolutely insane if I spend the whole day in the library. I also don’t go out as much as some of my friends do, but I still make sure to embarrass myself at a bar or party at least a few times a semester. I know some people are genuinely SO happy living in excess when it comes to this, especially if you think about how the stereotypical happy college experience is painted, but I’ve never really gravitated towards that. 

If you’ve ever taken an introduction to microeconomics class, you’ve probably heard of an indifference curve. For those who haven’t, the curve basically shows all of the different bundles of two goods that someone would be equally content with. For example, the average ~rational thinker~ could be equally happy with getting either 10 units of Good 1 and 2 units of Good 2 OR 5 units of each good. While people prefer means to extremes, the consumer can be equally happy with less of Good 1 if they get more of Good 2. The whole time I’ve been writing this post, I’ve had a whopping indifference curve living rent free in my brain. I hate that my economics class has manifested into my writing, but I do think it’s a pretty interesting metaphor. My preference for balance in everything I do would make my indifference curve look pretty abnormal, as I’ll always prefer the means over even the slightest extremes. I suppose it makes me not a typical rational consumer, but economics is pretty fake anyway, so it’s okay. 

As long as you find fulfillment in what you do, it really doesn’t matter whether you’re a means or extremes type of person. In fact, maybe that dichotomy doesn’t exist for you, and you’re able to see more of a gray area between passion and balance. I do, however, wholeheartedly believe that spending some time thinking about what underlying value your actions and priorities are rooted in is vital in developing your understanding of yourself and the way you want to spend your time on this crazy spinning ball we call Earth.  

A Beauty and The Beast Phenomenon- Why Regular Women Fall For Serial Killers

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My senior year of high school consisted of way too many coffee runs. Don’t get me wrong- each and every individual coffee venture has enriched my life by blessing that particular day with extra flavor and caffeine. However, one particular Starbucks run had a rather large influence in shaping what is now a pretty big passion of mine. 

My friend and I were catching up in Starbucks after our weekly mentoring session when she asked me if I had ever seen the Ted Bundy Tapes, the new Netflix documentary series everyone was talking about. Before that day, I was already very much interested in the legal side of crime, but I knew very little about the serial killing sector of crime. I told her I hadn’t seen the series, and that I didn’t even know who Ted Bundy was. She gave me a brief synopsis of the documentary and told me I absolutely HAD to watch it. So I did- I watched the whole documentary in one weekend, and as horrible as it initially sounds, I couldn’t get enough. 

I was so excited to tell all my other friends that they too had to watch this series, but often when I would recommend it to people, I would be met with the classic “Oh, so you’re another white girl that’s in love with Ted Bundy” stereotype. I was initially really confused when I got this response, for I couldn’t comprehend that there are actually fandoms of girls who swoon over a man who so brutally and mercilessly killed over 30 women. I genuinely believe my interest in this man and the crimes he represents stems from a psychological and sociological approach (those are literally my college majors…and also even if he wasn’t a serial killer, Bundy physically is just not.my.type). Nonetheless, if someone wants to psychoanalyze me and tell me I’m lying to myself, feel free. 

Anyways, I still wanted to understand why there is a world out there full of women who fall for men like Bundy, and why so many women are interested in true crime in general. Is this fascination, and in extreme cases, obsessive adoration, innate or learned? If it’s just a matter of curiosity, why don’t men dedicate as much time as women to understanding killers?  Is there something wrong with these women, or is something wrong with society for looking down on them? Though there’s not one clear theory that explains it all, my Google venture led me to some really interesting perspectives. 

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10 Steps to Tackling Breakups

 

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There’s no right way to get through a breakup. Just like there’s no right way to make a first move or tell someone you like them, this aspect of love has no singular correct path. There’s also no time period in which you NEED to be over a breakup. I am a big believer in taking your time through the grieving process. However, you should still put a little bit of work in to feel as best you can with every passing day of the process. I can’t claim to be an expert on breakups, but like a lot of us, I’ve experienced how hard they can be. A psychologist or love expert could probably provide much more credible information about how to best cope with one, but I also think there’s a level of relatability that comes from getting these tips from a peer. Nothing helped me more during my own breakups than getting advice from people I knew and trusted who had been in similar positions. So no matter what side of the breakup you’re on, I hope these tips give you some tangible steps you can take to get through a chapter of your life that likely won’t be easy. 

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So, How is College?

Coming home from college after your first semester is full of catching up on sleep, reconnecting with high school friends, and answering the dreaded “so…how is college?” question. To be perfectly honest, I dreaded this question for the longest time, for college hasn’t been anything like I thought it would be. In a lot of ways, my first few months at William and Mary have been amazing, and in other ways, they have challenged me in ways I didn’t think I could handle. Answering this loaded question can’t be done with a simple explanation, so I figured I’d come on here and write about it to try to put into words the craziness that has been the past four months of my life. Let’s go piece by piece.

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No Time to Mull

For weeks now, I have been looking forward to this moment. I am sitting in the window seat on my train home to Pennsylvania, listening to Allen stone, and doing one of my favorite things in the world: writing. Most people would think of a 7-hour trip home as exhausting and boring, but for me, these next 7 hours are going to be extremely therapeutic.

During my past month and a half at William and Mary, I haven’t had much time to write. Any free minute I got was spent either catching up on Dancing with the Stars or playing Heads Up with my hallmates, and I wasn’t able to dedicate a solid chunk of time to writing. I’m happy I was present in those moments, but holy moly, I really missed the feeling of spilling my heart out via keyboard.

While I’d love to outline all the crazy, amazing experiences I’ve had over the past few weeks, I’d rather save those stories for my in-person interactions with everyone from home. The one point I want to focus this post on is a theme that has been really prevalent in my past few weeks, and one that has made me have a bit of a paradigm shift: There isn’t enough time in college to mull over your emotions, and I can’t tell if that’s super healthy or super unhealthy.

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How to Have the Best Senior Year Possible

Seniors, seniors, seniors. You have quite the year ahead of you. Finishing up your SAT’s, sending in those college applications, embarking on that fun senior trip (if your school is lucky enough  to give you one), getting to slack off after AP exams. It’s a crazy year to say the least. Some say it’s the best year of high school, others say it doesn’t live up to the hype. That’s for you to figure out…but as I sit here waiting to move into my college dorm in just 4 short days, I figured I’d let you rising seniors in on some pieces of advice that I wish I heard as I prepared for year 12 of my education.

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The Summer In Between

A few weeks ago I saw someone post a poll on their Instagram story that said “does the summer in between high school and college feel weird?” I honestly don’t remember what the results of the poll were, but I remember feeling an immense sense of relief in knowing that I wasn’t the only one who felt a sense of uneasiness about this chapter of life we incoming freshmen are experiencing.  

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Why You Need To Watch Five Feet Apart

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I’ve been a Jane the Virgin fan for years now, so when I heard that Justin Baldoni (Rafael on the show), Emily Baldoni (Justin’s wife), and Haley Lu Richardson (the fiancée of Brett Dier, who plays Michael on the show) were all part of a new movie coming out this spring, I knew I had to see it. Unfortunately, time got away from me, and I never got a chance to see it in theaters. But when it came out on itunes, I decided that Five Feet Apart was worth the 14.99 payment even though I’m the cheapest person I know.

I was in a happy, stable state of mind when I sat down to watch the film, so I expected that while it may make me tear up a little, the film wouldn’t make me full on cry. Boy, was I wrong.

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Why Rory From Gilmore Girls is an Awful Example For Girls Everywhere

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Two years ago, I discovered the show Gilmore Girls. If you’ve never watched it, quit reading while you’re ahead because this post is solely centered on this sitcom. When I first watched Gilmore Girls, I was mesmerized by Rory and the amazing life she had. I was inspired by her academic talents, her ability to attract any guy she wanted, and her town’s absolute adoration of her.  Her relationship with her mom, Lorelei, seemed perfect, and her crystal clear complexion never suffered. Her life seemed flawless, and I wanted to resemble her in every way possible.

Fast forward to a few months ago, I was looking for a new show to waste my time on. The coziness of the town of Stars Hollow is perfect for watching on cold, winter nights, so I decided to start the series again. I could spend all night writing my analysis of the whole show from the first to the last episode, but that’s extremely extra, and I don’t think anyone has an attention span long enough to read all those thoughts. What I want to zero in on is the fact that Rory is the most misleading character I’ve seen on any show I’ve ever watched. The Gilmore family and Stars Hollow community idolize their precious Rory, but in reality, Rory is nothing but a cheater who gets everything handed to her.

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Thanks, 2018

There’s a song called “This Will Be My Year” by Train. It’s about having hope that the upcoming year will be the year that changes everything for the better. Pat Monahan, the lead singer, explains through song that even after many failed attempts, he still has hope every new year. By the end of the song, Monahan realizes that every year has its own struggles, but with his wife by his side, he can tackle the challenges the years ahead will inevitably throw his way.

Coming into 2018, I was struggling a lot. I was in the midst of my accutane cycle, and even though my skin was slowly starting to get better, I was extremely insecure about it. I was also getting over a really tough breakup. My foot was still injured, so couldn’t run to cope with these struggles, and that was the cherry on top of the very crappy pie. I didn’t have much hope for 2018 because 2017 kicked my butt that badly. All I wanted was a year of healing, but I didn’t think it was possible.

Luckily, 2018 was my year. It was far from perfect, and I definitely didn’t meet my future spouse like the Train singer did, but it was the most transformative year of my life thus far.

 

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