[I have learned that even a short walk in the woods is very good, indeed]
One of the reasons that I waited so long to go back to graduate school is that I have, traditionally, hated being a student.
Now, though, I think (and I hope) that things have changed a little bit. While I would never claim to be old and wise at 29, I do think that I've learned some things, I feel like I've settled into myself more than I had at 22, or even 25. I've learned that giving up my daily rituals when I'm stressed or overwhelmed doesn't help me accomplish anything besides feeling more stressed and overwhelmed. I've learned that it's important to me to spend time outdoors, to empty my dishwasher daily, and to go to move my body a couple of times a week. I've learned that I actually enjoy eating vegetables, and that I do have time to cook them. I've even learned that sleep actually is important to my daily functioning. (New parents, my hat goes off to you.)
This is not to say that I'm not still working on finding a balance: in these past couple months, I've also learned that maybe training for a half marathon doesn't work so well with studying midterms, and that even knowing all I do about balance doesn't stop me from doing that stay-up-till-midnight-then-wake-up-at-five thing the day before a paper is due.
The important, thing, though, is that I am aware of it, and that I am trying in a way that I never was able to in undergrad. Back then, I think that I thought that the more miserable you made yourself, the more likely you were to succeed. Now that I'm older and have a little more experience, I'm learning that the opposite is true; that all those things they told me when I was in high school and college about "making time for yourself" and even the dreaded "self-care" (no really, does anybody like that phrase?) couldn't be more on the mark.
In this season of busyness, I'm trying hard to remember that.