Midnight Strolls for the Midnight Soul

I recently picked up a habit and I would say it’s one of the best things I’ve done for myself ever since I started college. Most nights of the week, I pause doing homework at 11 pm and take a 30-minute walk around campus. It’s not a completely new thing for me to do seeing as I used to do this with my friends in high school a lot (I was in boarding school) - we would walk around the school quad for an hour just catching up with each other and talking about how we were coping with school. However, now, it feels so different - it’s become a necessary habit. These 30-minute walks have come to mean so much more to me than a study break - they have become a means of escape.

I’m not sure how exactly I picked up the habit, actually. I was probably tired of sitting at my desk, working for so long and I just decided to get some fresh air. However it started, I’m glad it did. What happens is that at 11pm, typically, I get up from my desk and depending on how cold it is outside, I take my blanket. I start by walking towards the football field at the far end of school and make my way around the entire campus. Now, Rhodes is absolutely gorgeous during the day, but there’s something more beautiful about it at night. Or, maybe, it’s just that there is something about taking in the beauty of the campus when you’re doing it alone. Staring into the sky at the planes flying by with music playing all around you and your body swaying slightly as the wind blows...it’s addictive. When I get to the football field, I am completely alone because who else is wandering around school at midnight (besides campus safety, of course)? When I’m left with my thoughts, my heart rate slows down and I’m completely in my own world. It’s me and my reflections with J. Cole in the background once in a while - sometimes Boyz II Men, sometimes Davido, sometimes Beethoven. 

Each walk means something different to me. When I feel homesick, those walks are my way of remembering home and remembering that there are people that miss me and love me there. It is during those walks that I listen to Phyno (a Nigerian musician) and zanku or shaku like no one can see me. When I feel far from God, my walks and Tauren Wells give me some time to talk to Him. When I’m moving too fast, I take walks to slow down, cry, laugh, feel. When I feel overwhelmed, my walks help focus on what’s important and why I’m at school doing what I’m doing. Daniel Caesar usually follows me on those walks because his voice is incredibly soothing (if you don’t know who Daniel Caesar is, go check him out and listen to Japanese Denim, Best Part, Blessed and Open Up, then come back to finish this article). 

What I’m trying to say is that my walks can mean anything and everything to me in a day. Sometimes I take walks because the weather is nice and I want to. Most times I take walks because my mind is cluttered and I need to. I’ve begun to see my midnight strolls as a self-care activity because it helps me calibrate in a way that not much else can. Now, if I go two days without a walk, I feel it in my system. Midnight strolls are my way of making sure that I’m okay and I think it’s so important for everyone to have their form of a Midnight Stroll. It could be Netflix and chilling, doing some yoga, working out, staring at the stars, reading poetry, or crying in the arms of a loved one. Whatever you do, make sure you’re making deliberate efforts to ensure that you’re kept sane because the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.