When you’re a full-time college student going to school, working part-time, and involved in more clubs than you can even remember to attend meetings for, you begin to become overly lethargic and stress begins to take over your mind. You begin breaking-out on your face, find yourself sleeping so late that it becomes the next morning, and start slacking on your homework because really, you would rather catch up on your social life via Facebook than catch up on those readings for your American Legal Culture Gen Ed (Professor Pascocello would kill me if he read this).
You become irritable and unaware of your daily living habits. Your health is so at risk, that at this point, sleep is all that is craved to make up for the lack of desire to socialize with your peers.
Then one day you realize that some things need to change. Life is too short to be spending time losing it – spending so much time invested in the life you are living that really, you have failed to actually live it.
I have noticed time and time again this happening to not only myself but to those around me. My awareness of not only my habits but the habits of a majority of full-time-working college students has brought my attention to how we often take advantage and jeopardize how healthy we are to complete something as if it were the most important thing in the world to complete. Sure, achieving my double-major and getting a Masters as well as a PhD is THE MOST important thing to me, but by no means shall I actually stop sleeping just to complete these tasks and get ahead. By no means does it mean I need to sacrifice my time to be with my sorority sisters or attend Rugby practice to exceed my professor’s expectations of me.
It was like an epiphany that eroded in my head. Within the span of a week, I had come to realize how valuable the undergraduate experience is that it should not be wasted rather enjoyed. It wasn’t until I caught myself slugging to Starbucks for a Venti Iced Black Coffee when I realized that I had wanted to pause the world and ask everyone to stop moving for a second just so I could peacefully get to where I was going and leave in silence – without needing to say hello or how are you. Instead, I just passed by random’s under the tunnel, repeating “do you mind?” as the entire student population seemed to congregate for coffee that afternoon.
After what felt like a long week of consistent realizations and breakthrough epiphanies, I found my self-awareness to be more than just alert. I found myself to be more conscious and more submissive to the events around me. I wouldn’t say it is paranoia, as much as one would say mindful. Not always on the lookout, but rather always aware.
The Oxford Dictionary defines mindfulness as, “A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.” I would say that’s just about everything I considered it to be and more.
Mindfulness is an act of mental art. It is a chance to tap into ones inner thought processes and accepting the good, the bad, and the ugly in the world around us. It is about understanding that chaos is order and opinions are human nature; that if I wink at someone it probably suggests something different than if I shake their hand.
And that was what I realized. In order to improve your lifestyle and change something about it, you must be able to mind the things around you and be aware on the actions you commit. Mindfulness is what drove my sleepless nights to an alert-narcoleptic who sleeps on time and wakes up early.
Today, I realize the importance of being aware of the life you live around you – not just for one’s personal state of being, but to be able to understand humanity among you. Mindfulness of your environment is a chance to accept the views around you, despite possibly disagreeing with it, and understanding that life goes on and there are worse things in life. Do I mind? Oh certainly, but there is nothing that I mind more than my health and the life I live for myself.