November 3, 2021

We Don’t have to Carry the Burdens of the World.

I recounted all the things I should be doing in my head; then I flipped in bed and slept for the rest of the day.

At the beginning of June, my family and I moved to my hometown in the mountains to spend a less heated summer. A month later, the economic and political situation in the country had gotten worse. We were seven people sleeping in one room. My internet connection sucked, and we barely had electricity four hours per day—which was absolutely devastating seeing that my job depended on both.

I became overwhelmed with fatigue, nonchalance, and disregard to my mental and physical health a month later.

By the end of summer, I had stopped exercising, ate away my stress, and neglected anything personal I did outside of my working hours. Every afternoon, I closed the laptop, made my second cup of coffee for the day, sat on my bed, and prepared myself to be bloated until I went to sleep.

That was everything I did for long days.

Wake up. Work. Eat. Sleep.

Wake up. Work. Eat. Sleep.

For a moment, it felt like that’s how my life would look like for the years ahead.

And I hated it. I absolutely, ardently, hated it.

All I thought about was how we were going to survive the next few years with the sh*tty situation in Lebanon, if it’s ever going to get better so my boyfriend and I can build a future together, if I’m ever going to be able to pick up writing again, and the list went on.

I looked at myself in the mirror and hated the girl I saw. I had dark rings under my eyes; my body was not fit anymore; I could barely smile at funny jokes.

It was dreadful to wake up every morning to the same routines and expecting to hear bad news on TV.

And then, as I lay in bed one day, looking out the window at the starry night sky of my hometown, I decided to list the things that were really worrying me.

It turned out that most of what I was worried about barely had anything to do with me, and most importantly, was out of my control. It felt as if I spent my time looking for anxiety and stress. I spent my time refusing to enjoy the little blessings in life and rather focused on what was missing, thinking that it was my responsibility to fix everything.

And I came to one of the most important realizations in my life.

We don’t have to carry the burdens of the world.

We are not responsible for all the trouble that surrounds us. Sometimes, the world swivels in a way that brings setbacks into our loved ones’ lives and our own, and none of them are our responsibility.

We can’t live our lives paralyzed by the negativity in the world and unable to move forward. We need to make a change where we can, even if it’s with tiny baby steps.

After that sleepless night, I woke up the next day determined to make a change where it was possible:

>> I moved back to the city and signed up for classes at the gym. It’s been almost a month and a half now, and I can already see the changes in my physical health.

>> I regulated my diet to a healthier one that lessened my stomach issues and helped me feel comfortable in my own skin.

>> I set up a digital calendar and made sure to fit into my weekly schedule: time for writing and practicing my hobbies—drawing, painting, reading, and more.

>> I tried my best to have social outings with my friends without my phone and laptop.

>> I’m taking frequent walks outside, or at least, if I can’t go out, I sit on the balcony and look at the trees, clouds, distant villages, the monastery at the top of the mountain before us, and the birds.

I still have a long way to go, but it’s a journey.

When we are the type of people who always feel responsible for carrying the weight of the world, it might be healthier for us to pinpoint what we are actually worried about and if we can do something about it.

Sometimes, we really can’t do anything about it.

So instead of spinning in the stress and anxiety loops, we might want to start enjoying the present moment and appreciating the time we have to make a meaningful change in our lives.

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Michelle Al Bitar  |  Contribution: 39,195

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