It’s not a very special number. There’s no rosy summer tale to tell. It’s actually the number of seconds a night I sleep, at most, for numerous days in a row. They equal 4.5 hours. It’s not something to be proud of; it’s not anything to brag about.
But it’s interesting how our culture has changed to reward us when we always are busy and also mention how busy you are. At the same time, however, we try to hide it. Let me paint an image for you: When picturing a calm lake scene, what do you see? The shade of trees, flowers in bloom, the gentle rustling of the wind moving through the trees? Do you also see a bird sitting serenely in the center of the lake? Many would merely observe, admire the seeming serenity, and move on. However, these passersby don’t know that the duck is furiously paddling under water just to maintain the exact location it is in at the moment.
The paddling duck. That is the metaphor oftentimes used to describe college students: on the surface they seem to be managing perfectly, but under the calm façade, we’re all struggling to maintain our position. But with the surge of advocacy to be open about our moments with depression and anxiety, also has come a cry and competition to see who is the most miserable. In a way, the paradox has only worsened the problem in reaching out for help. By complaining about the work we have, we seem to be reaching out, but we are also hiding our true problems behind our backs.
Then there are the ones who are truly silent. Or the ones that just disappear. Everyone assumes that they’re busy due to the way our culture has shaped our lives around work. But listen to the silence because those who don’t speak aren’t always the strongest. Sometimes the ones who feel the weakest are the ones who stay silent. And these people are the true targets we need to reach in our mission to release the stigma on mental health.
..and for everyone. Take a breath. And get more than 16,200 seconds of sleep a night. Starbucks has its limits.