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  • Writer's pictureCiara

What's on your plate?

In my previous post, I mentioned my "plate." I define my plate to be all the things I have going on in my life (usually things that are elected into my life) during a given time period. A plate consists of things you are focusing on or take a substantial amount of your time, mental and physical energy, or other resources. Side dishes are things you're passionate about but come secondary to what's on your main plate.

The first time I became aware of this kind of concept was right before my sophomore year in high school. I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed by all the activities and goals I had lined up in light of some perceived notions of how I wanted to spend my 4 years in high school and what I wanted to accomplish before freshman year had even started. After all my planning and then actually going through my first year of high school, my plans did not go as expected, to say the least. As I'm sure many can relate, all the planning in the world can really get you nowhere sometimes.

Myth: You have to be well-rounded and do many activities to be successful.

I started off high school thinking I would do soccer, track and field, continue Irish Step, and get more involved in musical theater and music ensembles. This was clearly too much for someone who really likes to dedicate loads of time and effort to the things she is truly passionate about. But at a time when many people were saying you have to be well-rounded and involved to get into college, along with the lesser important excelling academically, this was a source of my inner conflict.

Possibly the earliest observed case of FOMO?

Slowing down and directing energies to my mainstays helped to alleviate unnecessary pressure and stress that I was putting on myself.

That is until some people I highly respect and look up to pointed out that it's completely fine to take things "off your plate." And guess what? If you feel an extra spot of hunger in your stomach, you can always add things back on.

Truth: Deep diving into 1 or 2 things that you truly love makes you successful at following your passion.

My plate has since evolved over the years as I've realized the following:

  • The more time you devote to an activity and participate mindfully, the more fulfilling it will be.

  • As a responsible person, not everything on your plate will be immediately joy-inducing, but making room for your definition of fun will enlighten you to striking a balance; responsibility can still be fun.

  • Adjusting your plate is an example of you evolving as a person and learning how best to achieve your goals and should NEVER be looked at as failure.

With an equally proportioned use of time and energy, I am able to fully enjoy and devote more to each activity.


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