A perfect day for a stressed Saratoga student

March 13, 2023 — by Zack Zhang
Photo by Eric Shi
I imagine myself on a worry free vacation in a typical, stressful school day.
What makes a day perfectly relaxing for you? When your parents go out for a long time? When you have no extracurricular classes? Or when you finish all your homework in class at school? I say, it’s all of the above. 

If I could pre-determine the future and dictate all the events that happen to me for one day, this would be what it looks like:

To start, both my siblings would go to a friend’s birthday party and my parents would also conveniently have a dinner planned with their friends. “You will have to find something to eat for dinner,” my mother would shout to me. But I know that’s not a worry at all — the entire house is mine for the next six or seven hours, without my annoying parents or a noisy 6-year-old brother! 

Upon this realization, I’d dance into the kitchen with glee while humming a light, joyful melody and taking out an entire large cup of ice cream that I’ve been slobbering at for eons. I’d rummage around in the pantry and grab a bag of chips, some gummies and a soda. Placing all of these orderly on my desk, I would then open YouTube by muscle memory and find out what my favorite gaming streamer has posted that day. Yay! Now there’s a whole chunk of uninterrupted time — all for me to enjoy. I can boldly play the video in full screen and connect the sound to a loud output speaker without anyone complaining. 

I would make sure that I have finished all my homework at school using the time teachers gave in class, and just for good measure, I’d manipulate time so that this entire day takes place during the beginning of the semester, where not much work is assigned at all. 

All of a sudden, I’d hear the familiar, annoying and deeply hated chime sound from Ring Doorbell — scaring me out of my chair. I would minimize all my opened tabs, position the math textbook that has always been on my desk in the center just for a cover, sneakily tiptoe out of my room and stick out my head to get a clear view of the front door. 

Thank god. I’d let out a held breath because, conveniently, the sound only came from a FedEx delivery. For the thousandth time, it gets me again. 

 Unfortunately, even on my perfect day, I’m not completely immune to the wave of overwhelming guilt for wasting precious time. In response, I’d then have a random urge to pull out the yoga mat with thick dust that has been folded in the corner of the room for six months, find myself a dumbbell and, of course, complete a very motivating, 10-minute “fat-burning” workout on YouTube.

Without a doubt, I would definitely feel so much happier and even adopt a newfound, hopeful attitude afterwards — as if that little cardio has changed my life.

 I may perhaps take a quick afternoon shower and then begin to practice piano or violin. Without the criticism from my mom, who understands music and is always listening to me, playing my instruments would be stress free. 

To reward myself for my productive practice sessions, I would then scramble myself two eggs, make instant noodles and enjoy them with the huge living room TV playing a movie. Without any stress or worry in my mind, I’d turn off the light, get immersed into the plot and wait for everyone else to come home. I’d finally fall blissfully asleep around 11pm, which is very rare since school started.

How likely is a day like this to happen any time soon? Not very. But by mapping out a perfect day, I find joy and peace in my exhausting life.

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