On a journey to be chill // The Observer

Robert Roffulo

Almost everyone who knows me would say that I am not what is known as a “chill person.” Generally, I’m the kind of person who can’t do things casually. If I’m joining a new extracurricular or starting a new hobby, I will throw myself into it headlong. For example, I […]

Almost everyone who knows me would say that I am not what is known as a “chill person.” Generally, I’m the kind of person who can’t do things casually. If I’m joining a new extracurricular or starting a new hobby, I will throw myself into it headlong. For example, I joined The Observer as a part-time job two years ago, and now I spend 70% of my days thinking about it. Last year, I set the goal of reading for pleasure again, a habit I lost throughout high school and college. I pictured myself leisurely reading a book a week and finding new genres to acquaint myself with. Instead, I read over 230 books, primarily of my comfort genres — mystery thriller and fantasy. 

This is all to say that I have a hard time taking it slow or not doing the absolute most at any given time. My mom likes to say that I have always been a high-strung child (I got my first gray hair at 9 years old — apparently 4th grade was stressful), and she has been trying to get me to relax for years. For all of the aforementioned reasons, one of my New Year’s resolutions was to slow down and be more casual. Most of my friends reading this will laugh at that sentence because, as previously mentioned, I am notoriously bad at slowing down and being casual. 

So, in order to meet my goal of slowing down and being casual, I’ve decided to write myself a list of goals so that I can achieve my new status as “chill.” (Yes, I understand that writing a list about how to be casual is not very casual but we’re taking baby steps right now.)

1. Stop signing myself up for more work than you need to do. 

Shockingly, or not so shockingly, this is a real problem I have. I am the first to volunteer to do a task on top of my regular responsibilities, whether that’s taking more classes than I need in my last semester in college or always being willing to fill in for work. This semester, I plan to stop trying to do everything, and just do the things I need to do. 

2. Schedule time with friends. 

I find that the few times I am able to slow my mind down and really be in the moment is when I’m with people I love. So, one of my goals is to spend more time with my friends. Which means scheduling time into my week to see my friends. As graduation looms, I know that there will soon be a day when my best friends are no longer a five minute walk away, and I want to embrace this time with them while I still have it. 

3. Start a new show.

I have the habit of only watching shows I’ve already seen. Whether it’s “Parks and Rec” or “Brooklyn 99,” I usually find myself watching reruns of episodes, comforted by the familiarity of plots and characters I know well. This year, I’m challenging myself to start a new show, one that requires my full attention. I’ve recently started watching the Marvel TV shows on Netflix, and I certainly can’t spend time scrolling on Twitter in between fight scenes if I want to keep up with Matt Murdock and his antics. It takes self-control to not try and google the ending of each episode, but in the interest of being chill, I’m trying to be a meaningful and sincere viewer.

4. Stop thinking so far in advance. 

It’s not that thinking far in advance is a bad thing, but I have a tendency to think months in advance about a scenario that is contingent on multiple other factors, and then spiraling into a panic over a hypothetical that probably won’t ever happen. This is a little less concrete than other goals on the list, but it’s a genuine goal of mine to stop stressing so far in advance. I don’t have a ton of strategies for this one, but I’ve recently started writing down all of my leftover thoughts before going to bed, so that I can try to go to bed with a relaxed and present brain. While stress makes me productive in certain amounts, too much of it doesn’t really have any purpose other than making it harder to fall asleep at night.

I realize this column isn’t super relatable or groundbreaking — most people who hear about my workaholic tendencies look at me in confusion and laugh at the idea of taking on more work than I need to do. And I get that. I laugh at myself too. I want to be a chill, relaxed person. I want to be able to slow down and live life a little less intensely. Even with recent TikTok trends about not being a casual girl, there is nothing I crave more than slowing my brain down. And while I suspect that the journey to chill is a lifelong journey, hopefully this list is a start for me and my brain. 

(Maybe one day I’ll be chill enough to not write a detailed column about my goals towards being chill, but today is not that day. After all, irony is in for 2022.)

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Tags: chill, Inside Column, overthinking, planning, relaxing, stressed

On a journey to be chill

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