There are some common stressors that virtually all of us college-aged students share: things like our GPAs and how many followers and likes we have on Instagram. What do all of these have in common? They are all numbers.
In today’s society, we define ourselves by numbers like those: we define our self-worth, our success, and our well-being by these elusive numbers. I know I’m not the only one who is constantly worrying about my grades. I let myself get so stressed out over these seemingly omnipotent numbers that mark our existence. We as a society solely focus on these numbers, and we forget to appreciate everything else in our lives. We don’t pay attention to the little things, those small moments, that can bring us great joy. A joy that those numbers simply cannot provide.
I can’t remember the last time that I sat outside and just took in my surroundings and truly appreciated how lucky I am to be at a school like Boston College. I also can’t remember the last time that I read for fun or went into Boston without worrying about how much work I have to do to get a good grade on my next Econ exam. We don’t appreciate the small moments that seem insignificant, but that actually add positivity to our lives. We don’t take a moment to stop and smile at the elderly woman who is walking around, content with being in her own world, and we don’t walk around and admire the beautiful fall foliage without thinking about how many calories we’ve consumed that day or how our GPA will be affected after a tricky exam.
Instead, we tend to occupy our minds with numbers, hungry to improve these numbers in some way. We starve ourselves of life’s natural joys and instead focus on this insatiable hunger. By focusing on such trivial numbers, we miss out on the good things, the happy moments, the small but significant moments. While stressing about limits and derivatives in calculus, we limit ourselves by missing the beauty of the simple things in life.
It’s completely okay to want to be successful and driven, but we must take the time to step back and appreciate the little things because those are what actually add to our happiness and overall well-being.