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May 29, 2016 | by  | in One Ocean |
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One Ocean

One of my favourite activities is sorting through boxes of sentimental stuff and deciding what to keep, and what to reorganise into a tidier box of crap. Similar to this is the addictive Facebook-friend-deletion-spree I undergo bi-annually. But this year, I’m adding a more productive activity to this spring-clean genre of hobbies I seem to love. I’ve made a list of all the things I’ve said “yes” to, and what things I need to start saying “no” to.

I think as Pacific people, we are so apt to saying yes to things, before we’ve seriously considered the effects that it’ll have on us. We are so giving of ourselves—our time, our money, our attention—that it becomes our doom. We go into debt to contribute to family matters. We volunteer our time and (at times, highly qualified) efforts when we could be earning money. We do all-nighters to complete assignments because we spent all day with other people, counselling them, or helping them with an assignment, or just being there for them.

But we need to draw the line somewhere. I need to draw the line somewhere. I need to decide when I can contribute to a fundraiser and when I need to raise my own funds. I need to plan how much time I’ve given to other people rather than using them for myself—for my own assignments, for my own projects, for my own well-being.

If they love you, they will understand when you say no. They’d recognise that you have to prioritise your life sometimes and they’d be happy at least for your sake. And if they’re not, fuck them, and do you anyway. And if they’re your parents demanding answers as to why you’re neglecting family responsibilities, then… well… this one’s on you, pick your battles (not my fault if you get a hiding heh… ).

But seriously guys, during the lead-up to exams—work hard (and be honest with yourself about this), say no to not-important-right-now stuff, and don’t work for more than two hours straight. Know yourself well enough to know which exams you can excel in and which you just need to pass. Love yourself enough to know where to push your limits and when to step back. Self-care is not being selfish; it only means that you recognise that you matter too.

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Newtown, between 1908-10. Photograph taken by Sydney Charles Smith. 1888-1972: Photographs of New Zealand. Courtesy of Alexander Turnbull Library. 1/1-019663-G

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On the periphery of the imagined world

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