In my city, town, world, and maybe even universe, we have been playing a game since the beginning of time, commonly referred to as burnout. We called it this because it is where many teens end up. The rules are quite simple. Make an adolescent work until they can’t anymore; when they stop, make them feel guilty for stopping, then make them work again and feel guilty again when they stop, leading to a downward spiral eventually leading to, dare I say it, burnout.
I wake up each day, rolling the dice to see how many steps I am going to move forward in this unending game. My racing thoughts mingled with the sounds of Britney Spears’ “Gimme More,” are interrupted by the repetitive ringing of my phone. As I answer the call, all I can think is, what chaotic new chance card am I going to pick up today, or what is the next task that will fall on me to complete? Will it be advanced directly to the classroom, or not even passing home in between school and afterschool activities? At this point, the feeling of exhaustion engulfs me, permitting a soft and fake happy voice as I answer the phone, knowing full well that no matter what I am asked, I will remain quiet and agree to do it. After the task is given, I have permitted an overly confident “yes” or “I’ll get that done”, begrudgingly agreeing to the task at hand. My thoughts begin to race, trying to figure out exactly which 15 minutes of spare time will now be sacrificed for this task.
Now, at this point, you may be asking, why wouldn't I have just said no, skipped my turn, and just ever so politely explained that I would be unable to fulfill this task due to other commitments and hang out in Free Parking until the dice comes my way again? My response to that is that no is not a word in my vocabulary, and skipping is not an option. When it comes to the word no, I can easily say it to my sister when she is asking for my stuff, my parents when they want me to do chores, or even my dog when she doesn’t stop asking for food. But when it comes to a teacher, friend, leader, or really anyone else, the word slips my mind. Maybe it’s due to societal pressure to respect and help others around me or even just a character flaw. But one thing for sure is that I should probably learn how to use this word more often.
However, for the time being, while I try to familiarize myself with this word, surely I deserve a break from the insane amount of work that is expected of teenagers during this time. Between the hours of homework per week, societal issues that it seems to be our generation's job to fix, from climate change to racism, and all that is expected of us from our extracurricular activities like extra training, I sometimes feel that a time turner may be needed to get through the craziness of teenagehood. I feel that even Hermione Granger, a character who is widely renowned for doing everything and being good at everything, would be shocked by the amount that is expected of teenagers in today's society. Even Hermione Granger would struggle to get everything done in the limited time that we have, and even Hermione Granger would eventually burn out.
Just like Monopoly, there is no proper end to this crazy game of burnout, you just have to wait until you run out of resources and energy to continue, with your only source of achievement being passing ’Go’ over and over again. Perhaps having a small visit to jail and break for 3 turns wouldn’t be a terrible thing after all, maybe even allowing me time to add ‘no’ to my vocabulary.
Ruby Borer is a BBG living in Sydney, Australia who has a dog named Marshmello.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
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