An ode to self care

Illustration by Alex Hwee.

Shaun Jackson

Staff Columnist

Recommended Listening While Reading: idontwannabeyouanymore – Billie Ellish


I’ve been thinking lately about how society places such an impact on certain milestones. Like, at the age of 16 you can drive; 18 you can smoke, vote and go to war; 21 you can drink. But then it all just stops. It’s weird. Like, I have superficial moments where I’m just like, “Can I still shop at PacSun and wear Vans or is that a kids thing?” I can still do my taxes, but I also really enjoy children’s cartoons and animated films. Like, are there things I’m supposed to “give up?” I just feel like there’s nothing defining about the gap between 21 and 30 so I’m feeling confused and lost.

We have been socially groomed to think our lives are supposed to be in a certain state according to our ages. Let me be the first and last to tell you — it’s all a lie. I do not think there is anything you are meant to “give up” if it brings you tremendous amounts of  joy. Not to mention there are phenomenal shows like “Steven Universe” and “Adventure Time,” for example, whose target demographic is children but the show has very adult undertones meant for an older audience. The transition to adulthood is difficult and quite frightening at times. It’s nice to have things that provide a vacation from the often-tumultuous reality we tend to face day-to-day. Take a deep breath and enjoy whatever media you choose to ingest. I was once told if you have your cake and eat it too, your hips will get wide — but in my humble opinion, a little bit of curves ain’t never hurt anyone!

I recently had a huge issue with both of my mental health disorders going a little bozonkers and taking things over, so I was at their whim recently. What’s a good way to stay in control even if you feel as though you’ve completely lost it?

As someone who has bipolar disorder (type II), I feel you on a spiritual level. As I’ve gotten older, I have become more accepting of the fact that sometimes I can’t do things like get out of bed and face the day, and that is alright. It can take a while to understand that it is OK to not be OK. Sometimes you have to take a mental health day for yourself, evaluate how you feel and do whatever you see fit to piece yourself back together. If you have the means and resources and don’t already do so, find counseling, therapy — whatever you want to call it. It’s nice to have someone to speak to who sits outside the realm of your everyday life. You are so much more stronger than you know, and you’d be foolish to think otherwise because of a bad day.


How do you marry the ideas of “nothing matters” with the importance of working for social change to alleviate others’ suffering?

I personally contend that if you are able to, at every opportunity you come across, it should be your moral imperative to make your reality better for yourself and others. A good friend of mine said to me once, “We cannot comprehend the design, just as a raindrop cannot comprehend a river valley.” My bottom line is absolutely nothing has to matter for you to be a good person.

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