Last night, I finished a book.

And I started another one (a 450-page one, in fact).

And I read until I finished it at 12:50 am.

I read the last three Harry Potter books in one sitting; I stayed up until I finished them, leaving me very exhausted and delirious. Lately, though, my attention span has been short, if at all existent.

I sit down with the intent to read (or do anything, really), but after twenty pages or so, my mind wanders, and I often think about people who have not popped into my head for weeks or issues that aren’t relevant to anything. The words on the page begin to blur together as I continue to ponder, and I eventually end up seeking an answer to my query on the all-powerful instant gratification medium: the Internet.

The Internet is a highly addictive form of [insert your drug of choice here]; once you’re on, it’s hard to get off. Looking up a friend on Facebook leads to clicking on an old photo album on the side, which leads to clicking on a tagged friend’s profile, which leads you to creep on their profile, which leads you to question something that you must Google, which leads you to check your Gmail, which leads you to read messages, which leads you to respond, which leads you to respond to chats after friends see you’ve been online for a certain number of minutes…

And so on. This cycle is literally endless, with the stream of new information constantly appearing online.

This parallels our generation’s need to constantly be busy: everything must be scheduled, one must always be thinking/moving/doing, etc., etc. High school supported that concept, and I suspect college will as well.

Lately, though, I’ve been enjoying not following a set schedule. My work is flexible, so I have time to do what I want when I want. And those to-do lists that organize my life during the school year? Minimized to a short list of items and often ignored.

I’m sleeping. I’m exercising. I’m eating well and drinking lots of water. I’m tanning (and soaking up that good ol’ vitamin D). I’m spending lots of time with friends. I’m reading. Hell, I’m blogging. I’m doing everything I thought I was “too busy” for this year, and you know what? I feel better than I have in months.

Don’t get me wrong; I love being involved in various organizations, and I know I’ll find several that I’ll join and love. I might even enjoy school, now that I have a schedule that contains classes I actually want to take (a novel concept, I know). But I’ve learned my lesson this year, and if you haven’t already learned, take it from me: make time to take care of yourself, no matter what else is occurring. It’s so worth it.

Can I tackle a second book in one sitting? We’ll see this weekend.

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