“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.”
This semester, my life has felt like Groundhog Day. I wake up. I go to class. I come home. I do homework. I go to sleep. And I repeat it again. I spend my days going about these mundane tasks that are mandatory in my college life, living on too much caffeine and trying to be this perfect person, chasing this little thing called “success.” Now don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be successful and chasing that life down, but when it gets in the way of you living your life, it starts to become a problem. Like Guillaume Apollinaire’s quote suggests, it’s good to take a moment to stop pursuing happiness to just be happy.
In today’s society, it’s not often that you are able to find a moment of pure stillness. Between classes, work, socializing and the million other responsibilities and interactions we’re expected to keep up with daily, we tend to find ourselves running on hamster wheels from sunrise to sunset. But if we keep running without rest, we are bound to collapse.
I was thinking about this past week, while I had six projects that were due at the end of the week and I had barely had time to breathe in between revisions and exams. And that’s when I had an epiphany.
I needed a pause.
Courtesy: Daniel Mingook Kim
I was working myself into the ground, and the only thing that was holding my head above the soil was the fact that the semester would be over soon enough. But living your life waiting for the weekend isn’t living at all. I was so caught up in life that I was missing out on it.
That’s why I decided to object to the system. I decided I would make time to pause and sniff the metaphorical roses, even if it meant seeing the sunrise.
Why do I make this out to be a big deal? Think about it: when was the last time you took just a few minutes out of your day, between all of your responsibilities, to just breathe? Habits and deadlines pile up, rushing us through life, and it’s so easy for us to forget our very simple need to just pause and breathe. It can sound so silly, but these moments of pause can change us, refresh us, and empower us.
When you just pause and breathe, you notice things you never would have noticed before. You notice your lungs filling with air and feel your heartbeat in your chest. The bodily functions are so often taken for granted, but when you pause and notice them, you’ll find yourself feeling so much more thankful for your own body.
In pausing, you savor moments. You sense the wonder of things around you. Sonder waves hello and quietly walk on by. Your work will wait for you.
And so, when you’re done reading this, I want you to pause. I want you to take a moment and just breathe. You don’t have to change anything; this isn’t a guided meditation. Just stop whatever you’re doing and notice how your breath flows through your body like water. Notice the electricity that follows. If you’re walking across Landis, take the time to notice how the air feels against your skin or how the water flowing in the fountain sounds. Take a moment to truly appreciate how good it feels to drink that first sip of coffee in the morning, or to listen to the sounds of the birds outside your window in the morning. Be in this moment as if nothing else exists.
Shake your senses awake and encourage them to fully experience everything around you. Challenge yourself to find something beautiful about this moment, no matter where you are. Dare yourself to find something you are truly grateful for in this moment. Relish the act of just being alive.
Go watch the sunrise.
Courtesy: Darius Bashar