In all honesty, I have been lacking the motivation and inspiration to write recently. My life has been busy with school work, social events, and a cappella rehearsals. So obviously, as in any time of crisis or uncertainty, I asked my mom for advice. She suggested writing about the rituals in my life. "Rituals are things you do in your life regularly that enrich it, and are often thought to bring a sense of well-being or joy to one's life in small ways."

It's funny. I wasn't aware that I had let some of my rituals slide in my life until my mom reminded me. Everything really does happen for a reason. I let all those other things clutter up my life and didn't prioritize myself.

In high school, I used to play guitar almost every night before bed. But in college, living with a roommate, and having late night club meetings or rehearsals, I have neglected that passion of mine. I haven't written a song in far too long. I didn't even bring my guitar to school with me last semester because I thought it would take up too much space in my room when in reality other things were taking up too much space in my life. Playing guitar and writing songs has been my emotional outlet ever since I was first exposed to music. Last semester I craved the feeling of relief I felt when I was able to get all my emotions out through song. After a few tough days, all I wanted to do was write but I gave in to the clutter of my schedule.

Another ritual I have been neglecting recently is device-free time. In the past, I used to turn off my phone or computer up to an hour before bedtime. Now, I am either up working or watching tv until the moment I lie down to sleep. Not only have I noticed the impact on the quality of my sleep but also my mood. The more time I spend with technology, the grumpier and more irritable I am. The most difficult thing about this ritual is that while I might do this for myself, other college students usually don't. I sometimes wake up to multiple texts wondering why I wasn't responding last night at 10 o'clock. It is hard to find the balance between being polite and responsive and getting a good night's sleep.

On a more positive note, I have been prioritizing some rituals in my everyday life. I always make coffee in the morning and shower first before anything else. If I don't start my day fresh with a warm shower and yummy trader joe's coffee with almond milk, I can't even begin to think about the other things I must get done. I have also been calling my mom often, sometimes two or three times in one day. Whether it is to tell her something exciting, complain about a class or club, or simply ask about her day, it is always nice to hear her voice on the other end of the phone. And of course, exercise. I don't even think about it anymore. It is built into my day just like any class, dinner plan, or meeting. I can always count on an hour or so of running or strength training to set the tone for the day and lift my mood.

Some of these things may seem extremely simple and some may not seem like rituals at all. However, that is exactly what makes them rituals. They are things that appear to be so routine but without them, our life would be thrown off balance. I am looking forward to working on slowly bringing these rituals back into my life and continuing the ones I already practice. Thank you, Mom, for this simple reminder. You somehow always know what I need to hear.