“I am not my efficiency”

Many people identify my efficiency as the driving factor of my success, the very reason why I was able to come to Princeton in the first place. My efficiency has come to define my accomplishments and me. However, every night, when I lie on bed and find myself tortured by the thought of the few moments of the day I “wasted” on watching a Youtube video or falling asleep in a non-scheduled time, I wonder if my desire for efficiency has consumed me.

It is a constant tug of two opposing forces. On one hand, I know that my efficiency and (excessive) desire to achieve is partly responsible for bringing me here, to this wonderful school I now call home. However, I wonder, if my sweet successes of early adolescent years have now made me hesitant to let go of the minute-by-minute scheduled Google calendar and enjoy life that happens in the moments of spontaneity. I am sacred to let go of the “efficiency” that has come to define the successful me, but deep inside I know I am blocked from a greater source of joy, the kind of joy that I comes out of a random conversation I happen to have after class, the kind of joy that comes from the moments unplanned.

Many find it hard to see why my insecurity is a serious problem that deeply affects my life style, relationships and choices for the future. When I find the courage to share that my insecurity, they quickly go on to dismiss it by pointing to someone they know who has “bigger” problems and “more serious” insecurities. They add on, saying that it is a good thing I work so hard and feel like I need to “push myself.” However, they do not understand that the fact that efficiency is identified as a positive quality makes it even harder for me to truly come forth and seek help. I do not want to be labeled as the one whiner who is making up problems in her life because she does not have one. In such fear, I hide my insecurity deeper and deeper inside me.

Insecurities do not exclusively exist for people who had had traumatic events in their lives or are going through unique circumstances that are beyond many of our experiences. Insecurities are universal and for some people—like me—their insecurities are veiled by the false image of positivity. I wish for a day where I can fall asleep in bed without assessing how efficient I was. I wish I can stop and appreciate the moments around me without labeling it as efficient or inefficient. And this story is my step to becoming the “me,” not shackled or defined by my efficiency.