Giving back, getting back to me

I’m moving a lot slower this semester than usual – and it’s not just the aforementioned fractured fibula.

Last week (on my 21st birthday, no less) I got slammed with one of the worst sinus infections I’ve experienced in recent memory. My body, ravaged by the germs of the enemy, blindly battled against fever, cough, no taste, no smell, chills, muscle spasms, a double ear infection, and absolutely no ability to breathe through my nostrils whatsoever.

Not only was I paralyzed by my impending mobility (2 more weeks in this bloody cast), but I was physically unable to rally myself out of bed. (I think I’m just allergic to Trump’s new plans for environmental policy.)

But I wasn’t quite able to blur all the outside noise in my sickened state; it’s been a feverish week for the rest of the United States, too. This week, my mountains have been grieving. This week, my rivers have been terrified. In a new era of confusion and trepidation for our planet, my body has played a perfect personification of all the mess and the lies and the deception and the fear that’s plaguing my beautiful homeland, America.

Where do we go from here? those of us with green thumbs and green-colored political lenses have asked. Right now, we don’t quite know – and that’s disconcerting.

It’s easy to feel powerless when you’ve got no power to stand.

In my own life, I’ve stumbled amid the certainty I deluded myself into creating for the last three years. My freshman year, I felt like I had something to prove. My sophomore year, I knew I had something to figure out. This year, I tried to physically take the world on as my own burden, but my body wasn’t as generous as I anticipated.

So with the new year, I have a new set of intentions, which can be succinctly summarized in the following affirmation: Go slow.

This semester, I’m taking a sabbatical from all my adventuring and digging deeper into my own personal unknowns. I’m taking my first history course (Survey of American Indian History), a feminist theory discussion class, and an anthropology seminar on the origins of food production.

I believe I needed this semester to concentrate, to scale back, to refine what exactly it is that I’m searching for in this life. To go slowly, to move with intention, to preserve and protect that of which I am so passionate about. And, of course, to make progress with a positive attitude.

In the process of quieting my mind, I’ve read and reflected considerably more in the first three weeks than I have let myself in the past two years at university. Every day, I make space for listening, reading, and writing.

Every day, I make space for myself to grow.

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a reminder of resilience

It’s been important for me, at the beginning of this semester, that I ask myself every day: What is it that I think I know, and what is it that I really don’t know? How can I listen and learn better from my assumptions? Who today can teach me more about the world, and perhaps more importantly, more about myself?

Perhaps, I will move closer to my calling with a calmer mind – and a relentlessly hopeful, not merely optimistic, outlook on life.

I’ve now got: 13 weeks until summer; 91 days to tune out the news and tune into myself; 2,184 hours to set the next stage of my life; and 131,040 minutes to make it count.