It’s been a little over three months since I last blogged, but it feels like a lifetime. I think I needed space from the inner dialogue that narrated my actions and this account. What was right and what was wrong began to be diluted by my ego, and my soul had been shut down by the busy-ness of my days.
Over these past three months, I have slowed down quite a bit.
After my appendectomy in March, I flew to Tanzania where I worked with orphans alongside my father’s team of doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals on their medical mission (see what we did by watching this video). It was the first time I lost access to technology and artificial stimulation since I had been in treatment and I began to see the drastic difference between that and my life at BC. Somewhere in the middle was where I wanted to be. Once I returned from Tanzania, I had to make a series of choices to regain the stability and peace I had lost in the chaos of my daily life. Some of those decisions were harder than others and with each thing I gained, there were things I had to lose.
Despite the losses of my journey, these past three months have given me back a consciousness to which I can listen. I still have to sort through which thoughts I want to act upon, but I am able to hear with a clarity that I had somewhat previously lost.
Today, I can say confidently that I have let go of most of the “shoulds” that kept me in an unhealthy lifestyle. The past two weeks, I have been living at home in New York, a place I haven’t stayed for more than a few days at a time since I was seventeen. I keep running into people I haven’t seen in years and each person asks the same thing: “What are you up to?” A few months ago, I would have rattled off a million all-encompassing things that fueled my ego, assuring me that I was doing the right things, on the right track to be the best I could be, yet losing sight of who I really am. Today, my answer is, “Kind of nothing, for now,” or, “Just relaxing,” and that genuinely feels like the most satisfying accomplishment so far.
It’s not easy for me to slow down. It’s hard for me to put aside my pen and paper or computer and just be. It’s hard to take time for myself or my family or my friends in a way that feels authentic and less connected to a series of “shoulds” or a to-do list mentality, yet that’s exactly what I’ve been doing these past few months. Aside from finishing out my semester at college, I have started to do a whole bunch of nothing other than what my soul wants.
I pick up a book when I want to. I write when I please. I take walks and lie in the sun. I have dinner parties and sleepovers. I travel and explore or I just sit and rest. I am relearning the art of play. I have the luxury of taking a month off before summer classes, and I have been trying to make the most of it, which has come in the form of relaxation and recovering.
Recovery is often attached to a problem. “I’m recoverying from ____,” people frequently say. But in this life, I think we all have a lot from which to recover. The constant stimulation of society is overwhelming and rest is put below the list of things that keep us doing. Recovery is important, though, and prioritizing it has put me in the best possible place for success. It’s only in those moments of peace that the places of anxiety can arise and be resolved, which is what I’m hoping to do in my downtime.