“No worries.”  This is a simple phrase I started saying to my girlfriend years ago, but it turned into much more than that for me.

To give some background, I’m a 22-year-old, college student.  I’ve grown up in an average, rural town and have been fortunate enough to go on to study athletic training at college and run cross country and track competitively as well.  Since college has started, I’ve had large aspirations of finding academic and athletic success.  Being successful at both, however, requires time management and never slowing down.

Since I’ve come to college, the demands in my life have become much more demanding between studies and practice/ competition.  This was an adjustment compared to how easy high school was regarding the less responsibility.  I’ve taken 12 – 16 credits per semester, practiced 20+ hours per week, and maintained an A- average GPA.  I do realize that sometimes athletes are perceived as glorifying the amount of work they do for their sport, but I do believe it is a great burden to time management and my energy in the classroom; additionally, I’d like to have a social life too!  People with actual jobs may find an even greater struggle, but I consider what I do to be like a 20-25 hour-per-week job.  6:00am practices, 80+ miles per week, and running twice a day can be taxing.

Regardless, I’m writing to talk about how I’ve formed this simple phrase that keeps me sane in all of the chaos that is life.  Naturally, school, sports and social life can weigh down on me.  I may have large assignments due while stressing that I’m only going to get 6 hours and 23 minutes of sleep if I go to bed right now (and I never fall asleep on time).  At one point, I had a solid schedule of waking up, practice, school, sleep.  It was like clockwork, really.  The only issue was that I was on the go from 6:00am (sometimes 4:30am) to 10:00pm.  I needed breaks and rest too.  I would play video games, hangout with friends, etc.  Sometimes I let go too much and fell behind on schedules.  I’d lose sleep, get a late start on assignments, or even just be late to class.

My change in outlook took place when I would try to keep my girlfriend sane as well (she was on the cross country/ track team and lived a similar, demanding lifestyle).  She’d be stressed and behind on things in her life too.  However, I never wanted to burden her.  I would simply remain calm, look her in her eyes and tell her “no worries” and smile.  I usually would go on to try and reassure her that everything would work out; we each would survive these next 4-5 years one day at a time.  After doing this enough, however, this became who I am now.

I’ve started to realize there are just too many little things we get hung up on.  It’s not worth getting stressed out over the hypothetical thought that people will judge me for walking into class 2 minutes late or getting an extra 5 minutes of sleep.  We will all survive these trivial dilemmas and are if we choose to push through, we can assure these stresses won’t shape our near-future.

My girlfriend is worried that she doesn’t understand the material 10 days away from the next test (bless her proactive studying habits).  No worries.  We’ll work together and little by little, you’ll learn what you need to know.

I’m going to be tired for practice tomorrow, because I stayed up writing this blog post.  No worries.  It’s too late to change the outcome.  I should take what I’ve got and make the most of it now!

“No worries” isn’t meant to be pessimistic.  It’s my way of saying: these are the cards we’ve been dealt, let’s play; no use in crying over spilt milk.  There are many things that build up our stress and take enjoyment away from us.  With some reflection, I think we can all find more happiness in our current lives and focus on making them better too.