More than yourself

I’m a person who uses shower time to think. I wasn’t sure if I should be surprised when I found out two of my good friends also did this. What about you? We should all do that more because it is good and important for our lives! I mean… spend more time on yourself, and actually make use of it.

Again and again in my Denison career, I was reminded of the importance to care for myself. If there were a thing that I feel confident saying is the most easily overlooked, it is definitely self-care. Almost half way through my third year at Denison, I find it scary that the phenomenon is so readily identified in so many.

Denison is such a fast-moving and high-pressure place, and inevitably we lose ourselves amidst the flow without timely stop-and-think moments. It is good for us to take more time to wind down and relax, to allow ourselves to listen to some more music or take a stroll down to Whit’s or bike around Granville.

But when you make time for yourself, it is much more than just you. By giving yourself  time, you are allowing yourself to reflect with more depth that prompts you to think about a much grander picture than yourself. And isn’t some extra time a wonderful chance to care for those that we care about?

First, reflection allows us to be larger than ourselves. We tend to connote the process of reflection as a sequel to other experiences, but the most powerful minds will tell you reflection is omnipotent. Reflection enriches the mind and soul in all stages of being.

We grow up day after day with an astounding but often overlooked amount of accumulative experience, all of which is ingrained in our identity, personality, intellect, emotion and cognition.

For me, with a conscious choice of reflection, my thoughts during showers and destinationless walks were allowed to roam freely and radically. They started to break out of daily events, of my college goals, to reflect more on the people around me, and what my role was to them. They stopped circulating around how stressful writing this editorial was on Saturday at midnight to how it may affect you as the readers that I care about. My thoughts broke out of the “how” I can make my mark at Denison, and into the “what” I can do for our student body.

On a less philosophical note, more time for yourself is more time for others that you care about. I used to tell myself that I regretted getting into so many things that filled my schedule, but did I? If I kept on doing it, how could that be regret?

There came a point when work and involvement became an arduous “passion” where the notion of a true passion as a driving force were fading. I thought it was enough to interact with people in meetings, to call home once in a while, and to check in with a friend once a month. I thought it was fine for me to be studying by myself, making plans by myself, and when I was tired, it was fine to take some time and relax, get some ice cream. I was wrong — I was not that stable, much less happy.

I realized how much I missed the feeling of belonging, of a place to fall back to, and how exactly it filled in the missing piece that kept me wondering, “Why wasn’t I happy as I should be?” My own time only made more sense with other people around me. My goals only became clearer when I talked to them, our relationship only got better if I truly cared. Somehow very humanly, we keep each other in check. And I realized, the time for myself, inevitably, had to include “others.”

When I made time for myself, it is much more than just my own self. These are my examples, and I would be curious to see how it would work for you, my dear readers.