Take it from a twenty-something: You’re allowed to take a time out

timeout

Regardless of my job or stress levels or personal workload, one thing I’ve always prioritized is my time away. As much as I enjoy working hard at things I love, I equally enjoy the restorative feeling of going to a new place, getting out of my comfort zone and forgetting about the things that worry me – even if only for a day or two. This thinking got me on a flight to Belize with 6 amazing women in my family, and it also got me to Siesta Key with my mom and boyfriend, John, for a few days over a holiday weekend.

Sitting on the beach at Siesta Key, sunset over the water and drink at hand, my worries were a world away. It reminded me of the importance of taking mini time-outs (for me, that means from work) to simply be.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m trying to hustle my way through my twenties simply because they feel uncertain and uncomfortable. I don’t like the feeling of not knowing where I’m going or if I’m doing the right thing. But taking the time away from all of that always reminds me that it is ok to just CHILL OUT and enjoy life for a minute.

Taking a time-out forces you to snap back into the here and now. It makes you realize that yes, while it is important to worry a little bit and push yourself, the world won’t stop turning if you want to press pause for a minute. Guess what? You’re allowed to say “I’ll be right back,” head to the nearest beach, grab a cocktail and forget the worry and comparison and oh-my-god-what-am-I-supposed-to-do-with-my-life feelings.

In fact, my experience tells me that taking a time-out is often the first step to working out those feelings anyway. When you give yourself permission to relax and loosen the reins, the answers often appear on their own. You can probably think of a million excuses not to take that breather (there’s too much to do, work is too busy right now, I’ll think about this crap later) but sooner or later it always catches up with you.

As cliche as it sounds, you really are only this young once and it’s up to you to make the most of it and make a commitment to spending time with yourself, figuring out what you like and learning about what truly makes you happy. If you need to take a break and travel the world to find that, or simply spend a weekend at home thinking and writing, it’s up to you to make that time and grant yourself permission to take it.

At 26, I know how it feels to think about where my life is headed far more than where it’s been (or is) and concentrate maybe a bit too hard about hustling my way through life when it comes to my finances, job and relationships. But sometimes slowing down and taking a break from it all is the best way to enjoy this very short decade of our lives. If you feel you need a time-out from it all for a day, a month, a year or more – take it – you’re allowed.

If you take one thing away from this – remember that nobody is keeping score. We are all in this together. Even if it seems like everyone’s life is perfect and running according to schedule, don’t forget we’re all also master editors of our own lives when it comes to what we show everyone else. Getting through your twenties is not a race and if you treat it like one, you’ll always feel behind no matter what level of happiness and greatness you achieve. So slow down, chill the heck out, and enjoy it.

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