Being a member of the Strong Sis Support Group (SSSG) for well over a decade, I take a moment to reiterate to all active members, unofficial members, and our Junior Cadets: I see you.
And no, not in the “let’s talk about our problems” and definitely not shed tears over things we can’t control. But sincerely, I mean that I see you and need you to take a moment.
A moment where you can exhale.
We inhale and hold every time we see a good friend hurting—no matter the cause of the pain. We take on every piece of luggage to lighten the load for our loved ones. Yes, our backs hurt. But what’s the alternative here… leave those we care about in despair? I think not.
So, as we inhale and hold for Keisha, then inhale and hold for Mia, of course, the big inhale and hold for Momma, we start adjusting how we breathe. While we learn to breathe with the extra weight, we begin to strain. We must now focus on carrying luggage that doesn’t have our name on it. Luggage that we did not pick out. Luggage that ain’t even packed properly. Then the ultimate decision, how to carry my luggage and theirs. We play an involuntary game of Tetris. We think and dare not say out loud: How and why are we playing Tetris right now??
The focus has shifted, and we can’t even recall when it happened. Maybe since SSSG recruitment, childhood trauma—who knows? Regardless, when we see the luggage around us, we notice this luggage doesn’t even belong to us. In the game of rearranging, we slowly began misplacing our own luggage to keep being supportive of others. Our focus begins to shift on their luggage and not working through our own. We have a few things we deem necessary on the amendable agenda, so we proceed Sunday morning to church. We get there, of course, dressed properly since, more often than not, we’ll have to adjust luggage to social distance.
We hear the sermon based on Luke 10:38-42 and see our Sis Mary being…light, while Martha is making preparations. We already know what preparations mean to the SSSG so we imagine her cooking, cleaning, greeting, taking care of the kids, maybe even washing feet, while Mary is just sitting there listening to the Lord.
We automatically get in a good eye roll towards the idea of Mary just listening. We even get envious that she has the capability and audacity to just focus on “thus says The Lord.” We look at all these other folks’ luggage we haulin’ and get a bit uneasy as we read the Lord correcting Martha, the original President of SSSG. I mean we completely understand Martha’s energy as she’s eyeing Mary, who just sat down at the Lord’s feet and listened as if the preparations would prepare themselves. She was only focused on one thing: sitting at His feet, which seems near impossible with all the preparing needed.
How?? How did she get right to it? How did she rearrange everyone’s luggage so quickly? How does she seem light? And why does her luggage match??
Mary maintained her focus. Yes, life throws curveballs, but maintaining her focus is as essential, if not more than, breathing. We hear Pastor Stratford say, “Focusing on the wrong thing chances us missing what the Lord is doing in this moment.” We’ve been distracted and ain’t even know it!
Life does that…if you let it. It lets us think we have to take on the issues of everyone as if we have the power to re-write their destinies. Meanwhile, we pile up so many unnecessary pieces of luggage that, most time, don't belong to us. We begin focusing on the luggage and not God, who is the Author and Finisher of our lives. Their luggage has very well become a distraction as it commands our focus.
When you know better, you do better. So in the valley and at the mountain top, I can no longer side-eye Mary because she knew to maintain her focus. Those same preparations Martha was busying herself with were there when Mary walked in, but Mary got into position to hear, not to rearrange or inhale.
So dear members of SSSG, because I see you, I ask you to exhale and then refocus on what is truly important. To me, that is living a full life. A life where, yes, there will be luggage, and everyone is well equipped and capable to handle their own luggage. A life of being present and minding our own business—like Mary. A life that’s not burdened down but one that leaves room for me to receive from the Most High, be cognizant of distractions, and keep my focus on Him through the journey.
About the Author
Anita is a native of Miami, Florida. A Taurus through and through. She enjoys experiencing life first hand, which is why she is working on filling up her passport with stamps and stories to tell of each addition. As the youngest of five, family is her essence of life. She is highly motivated by the black experience and intent on being Christ-like (although, she understands she’ll fall short). Stay posted to see what she has to say and say HEYYYY NITA when you see her. ☺
“Why can’t I get this mundane stuff done? Because I’m burned out. Why am I burned out? Because I’ve internalized the idea that I should be working all the time. Why have I internalized that idea? Because everything and everyone in my life has reinforced it – explicitly and implicitly since I was young. Life has always been hard, but many Millennials are unequipped to deal with the particular ways in which it’s become hard for us.”
-Anne Helen Petersen from Buzzfeed News.
The Burnout Generation?
People are calling Millennials the burnout generation. 84% of Millennials have experienced burnout in their current job and nearly half of Millennials say they have left a job specifically because they felt burned out. Millennials experience burnout at higher rates compared to other generations because work hours are longer, wages are stagnant, and debt is increasing. So, are millennials lazy or just tired?
Yes, some Millennials are traditionally lazy and don’t want to put the work in. However, other Millennials are “lazy” in the sense that they create and discover new ways to do something with half the leg work. Despite potentially being regarded as lazy, some argue that they are the most successful generation. More than half of the generation owns or intends to own a business.
My Life, My Rules
Clearly, Millennials want to live by and make their own rules. Millennials are fearless and unwilling to conform, unlike the Baby Boomers or Generation X-ers. They have mastered the art of doing what they love and making money at it or at least taking a leap into doing what they love because working for a corporate company for 30 plus years is not going to cut it—especially if Millennials experience burnout so early in their careers on top of stagnant wages and the cost of living increasing. Putting the generalizations aside, many Millennials work very hard and make sacrifices daily. The problem may not be with the Millennial generation but rather how they are managed.
Work Hard, Play Hard?
Perhaps Millennials are just tired rather than lazy. This generation has endured two financial crises, the great recession in 2008 and now the global coronavirus pandemic. Not to mention how their relationship with ever-advancing technology has intensified the burnout problem. Phones are getting smarter and Wi-Fi-equipped laptops enable work to be done virtually anywhere. It becomes so much harder to maintain and adhere to any sort of boundary.
Additionally, Millennials have been taught that hard work will get them ahead and have adopted the “hustle culture.” The hustle culture is overworking to the point where it becomes a lifestyle. This lifestyle teaches people that overworking and overextending oneself is the only way to earn respect. In this hustle culture, it is a badge of honor to take on excessive amounts of work by enduring 14-hour days for 5 days a week for who knows how long. The pandemic exacerbated this problem, with many Millennial workers logging on early in the morning and staying online until late at night. This has become some Millennials’ reality over these last two years.
What’s a Millennial to Do?
Be aware of the signs of burnout. Some of the signs include exhaustion, isolation, frequent illnesses, irritability, lack of motivation, and mental health problems. Try self-care techniques such as:
These self-care techniques can help combat burnout or help recover from feeling burned out. And last, but not least, set boundaries and stick to them!
About the Author
Hey Queens! This is Beryl. Yes, the name rhymes with girl; get into it. ;) I was born overseas but raised in a small town in southern Illinois. I got outside of my comfort zone when I relocated to Los Angeles in 2017 because I needed a drastic change of vibe and scenery. Moving to Los Angeles has been one of the best things I have ever done. Los Angeles has a lot to offer in terms of culture, food, entertainment, and activities. In my free time, I am usually at home big chilling or eating out with friends. I am eager to share my thoughts and feelings about hair, music, and fitness.