A daughter, an aunt, a sister, a niece, a mentor, a sorority member, a communications director, a cousin, a graduate student, a teammate, a friend, a best-friend, a girlfriend; did I mention that I was a friend? With all of the roles that I play at any given moment, it is a wonder that I have time to do anything for myself – let alone pursue graduate education. My 11 hours-per-day job that combines crisis or emergency with every new task keeps me up at night, as I often contemplate my “to do’s” or a strategic way of handling “the new, most important thing.” Needless to say, sleep is a luxury in my life as a Stufessional. Everything is spinning at a dizzying pace to the point where, at times, I get off the meandering merry-go-round to do my favorite thing: nothing. That is how I rest; that is one of the ways that I achieve balance.
For me and probably for many Stufessionals, we are operating within the paradigm of great extremes: doing everything all at once. The foremost goal – and converse – for me is to strive for instances when I can do absolutely nothing. I find it cathartic and restoring. When I am doing nothing, I am actually doing something, just not a “to do.” In my “nothing” moments, I am chatting over coffee with my mother or catching up with one of my girlfriends. I could be giving myself a pedicure or sharing a laugh with my boyfriend. The point is to relax my mind, spirit and body.
It is not always easy to get to the point, where I can do “nothing.” In fact, it can be very hard when I have reporters calling me all day about a controversial vote, research to conduct, a press statement to prepare, assignments to complete for class, and errands to run for my mother – all due by the end of the day. During these stress-filled days, I pray for strength and endurance; then, I prioritize and give it my most concerted effort. I am usually content with the results of my labor; however, there are times when only more hours in the day or a total neglect of the ones I love would enable me to complete the “to do” list. The latter is not an option.
Having endured some challenges that would have caused many to quit and victories that are forever etched in my heart, the one thing that remains constant is the support of my loved ones. I am strengthened to drive through the competing deadlines, past sleep deprivation, and against adversity because I have a level of balance, which is wrapped in the support of my loved ones. I realized a few years back that there is no accomplishment or task more important than the people I hold dear. Remembering that principle helps me to consider the time and forces me to make time to do “nothing” with them or with myself. The result is peace and appreciation for the blessings in my life – the ultimate balance.
[With a 13 year career in political and nonprofit community relations, Shrita has organized grassroots lobbying efforts, implemented numerous social service programs, and worked on local, state and federal political campaigns. She currently works as the Communications Director for a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives.]