“Slow Down, You Crazy Child”


There’s this Billy Joel song that I have loved for years. It’s called “Vienna.” If you’ve ever heard it, you’ll notice that I have borrowed some of the lyrics for the title of this post.

Let me just say, this week has been nearly torturous for me. I haven’t slept well thanks to chronic insomnia, and by Wednesday I had essentially no cognitive function left. I’ve been on autopilot this week.

Here’s how it goes:

Wake up, stomp down the hall to wash my face, get dressed and go to class, return to my dorm, type some words, lay in bed and ponder the world as everyone around me slumbers.

I have struggled to like people all week, let alone to love them. I have cut some corners with homework, essays, and even my job. My body has been constantly aching from the stress. When I’m not busy working on something, I catch myself becoming overwhelmed with anxiety, my mind yelling that I must do something.

If I’m not working on my big essay that is due next week, then I’m staring at my planner for something else to check off. And if I’m at lunch and there is a lull in conversation, then I’m wondering where I should be instead of with friends. If I’m working, then I’m cringing inside that I’m not back in my room working on my essay. If I’m not going, then I’m going crazy.

Finals are coming up and everyone I know is feeling a little bit of the same anxiety that I’m feeling. We are all tired and worn. That’s where Billy Joel comes in.

Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about?
You better cool it off before you burn it out
You got so much to do and only
So many hours in a day

What is it about impending finals that has gotten us all in a tizzy? I mean, it is true that finals are pretty dang important. But you know what is far more important than passing a test or keeping your GPA up?


You are more important.

The state of your health—mentally, physically, and spiritually—is and will always be more important than your GPA.

No, there’s not a lot of time left before the semester reaches its dreadfully painful peak. There’s not a lot of time left for you to bring up your grades or grasp the difficult information that you have struggled with this semester. But even more importantly, there isn’t a lot of time left for you to take care of yourself.

We could wait until Christmas break to rest, but what good is that if in order to get there, we have worn ourselves down to the point of no return?

I am not saying that now is the time to give up and quit. What I am saying, however, is that now is the time to take care of yourself. Now is the time to make sure that you are well and that you stay well. Now is the time to step back and rest for a while.

The finals will come. The GPA will be what it will be. They are important. But my dear friends, I urge you to step back and remember that you are more important than those things will ever be.

Slow down you crazy child
Take the phone off the hook and disappear for a while
It’s alright, you can afford to lose a day or two

♥ Nikki

Listen to Vienna