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Lakeridge High School stundent columnist Evan Melendez on work-life balance

I quit my job today. You know when you're on an airplane, and the flight attendants say to put an oxygen mask on yourself first before assisting others? I'm discovering there's a deeper truth to that in my own life. Quitting my job was difficult. But that doesn't change the fact that with the unrelenting demands of life, I felt like I was suffocating. In order to function I need to set aside time to fill my own lungs with air, but in these last few months — with growing pressures and less time to think of myself — I've realized how important it is to bring personal needs to the forefront of life. COURTESY PHOTO: EVAN MELENDEZ - Melendez

In my case, my job was the breaking point of my commitments. For me to breathe easy I need to spend time with friends, have opportunities to be with family and set aside time for myself. Then, when others need me and I have to take up my responsibilities, I can be there for them and give it my all. It's a self-sustaining loop.

And this is true in all circumstances. When we provide for our own happiness, we can further support ourselves and those around us. The things that people tend to let go of first are their own personal needs — the things that keep them grounded and balanced. Some would go shopping, read a book, or go for a walk. I play music or talk with friends.

In any case, it always seems that it's the pressures of high school, college and work that weigh us down. Each of our responsibilities cause our other commitments — including those we love — to suffer. When I quit my job today a weight was lifted. I've made the decision to reprioritize my life for the better, and give the best focus to the things I hold most dear. It's that little bit of oxygen that helps not just ourselves breathe a little easier, but the loved ones in our lives as well.


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