Living A Life Of Stable Instability

Living A Life Of Stable Instability

Life Post-College, And The Reminder To Keep Pushing Onward
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Almost every morning, upon waking up, I struggle to find the meaning in life. Yet, every morning, against the mind’s hazy desire to remain stationary, buried by the warmth of my comforter, I will myself to get up and move onward, into the day.

I rise, and follow through with a morning ritual that has changed little over the years—only has become more involved. Put the filled kettle of water on the stove, grind the coffee beans while awaiting the kettle’s whistle, cook two eggs, toast two slices of bread, prep the avocado, tomato, greens, then assemble the sandwich. Silence the kettle, and pour the boiling water over the freshly ground coffee. Steep, remove the filter and used coffee. Pour. This, now, is the most recent rendition of that ritual.

On Mondays, I water the plants scattered around my house. Laundry is tended to, as well as some cleaning. Eventually, should I have the money, I may leave my house to go grocery shopping. The time that is left open in-between these acts is filled with reading, attempting to write, and the search for a stable job.

This, mostly, is how my days off go.

Slowly, as the days pass by, turn into new months, I feel the growth of anxiety spreading throughout my mind. I’ll be twenty-six this year, and though it’s young in the grander scheme of life, I feel as if life is passing me by.

There are mornings when this thought becomes heavy and renders me immobile. Each day has become, more or less, the same. I look forward to my morning routine that I’ve honed, but once the morning has ended, it is hard to hold onto hope for much else to occur. I go to work. I come home. I repeat.

Time feels as if it has come undone, and I’m reliving the same series of events time and again.

Unsure as I am as to when things will change, I push onward. Go on with the morning routine, then the day, then the night. Each time I try to change the history of my life, it tends to repeat itself. Quite a few people have told me that I have to make things happen for myself; we must carve out our own pathways.

I believe this, and for a time it seemed to work. But the past few years have been a horrific struggle with depression, with anxiety, with loneliness, and it was only recently that one of those three issues has subsided, or transformed; I’m fearful for the day that I must share living space with another. There are days when I feel as if I’m a fish, hooked, and the more I fight, the more I struggle, the deeper the hook sinks, the closer I come to the surface of something terrifying.

The most stable and consistent aspect of my life is the instability and inconsistency I experience.

I push onward though through the uncertainty, into the unknown.

At times, when I was younger, I would have a recurring dream that I was stranded on a boat in the middle of some great body of water. Fog shrouded my sight. Waves rocked the boat, violently. Fear constricted my lungs, making it hard to breathe. This dream—nightmare—persisted for years. When I was about fifteen, this was the last time I can recall having the dream.

All previous occasions, I sat in the rocking boat, below the deck in the small cabin, and cried as water slowly poured into the boat as it washed over the sides. This final time was different. I felt fear, and I cried, but then I stopped and walked up the short flight of stairs to the deck. Without seeing any distant lights, hearing any distant noises, I moved. I pulled the sail—which I didn’t realize I knew how to do—and began sailing the small watercraft through the fog, over the swells, off into the distance.

There was no way for me to know how long I’d be moving through the fog, or if I’d run ashore, hit something and sink. All I knew was that I couldn’t remain still, or else I’d drown. So I moved. And, remembering this dream, I will move again.

Cover Image Credit: Coty Poynter

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100 Ways To Practice Self-Care In Your Everyday Life, In 20 Minutes Or Less

Simple ways to start taking care of yourself.

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Life is overwhelming and distracting so it's easy to forget about yourself sometimes, but practicing small self-care acts is easy. Making time for yourself every day isn't selfish and is really good for your mental health. I think it's important for everyone to spend time doing things that make them happy and more calm, even if you only dedicate 20 minutes each day. Putting yourself first can lead to growth so many other aspects of your life.

Obviously, each person is allowed to practice self-care in their own unique way, but here are some ideas to get you started!

1. Do something new. 

2. Make a list of things you need to get done that week. 

3. Drink some hot tea. 

4. Go for a walk on a scenic trail.

5. Paint your nails.

6. Have a good laugh.

7. Buy yourself flowers.

8. Light a candle.

9. Do some tidying up.

10. Don't feel bad for saying 'no.'

11. Listen to music.

12. Slow down.

13. Drink a smoothie.

14. Run mindless errands.

15. Write down your goals for the week.

16. Talk to someone about the future.

17. Wake up early and get coffee. 

18. Take care of a plant. 

19. Take a bubble bath. 

20. Give yourself a compliment.

21. Give a stranger a compliment.

22. Watch a movie.

23. Put your phone down.

24. Declutter your personal space.

25. Go to bed early. 

26. Pray or meditate. 

27. Go for a drive. 

28. Make it a habit to stargaze. 

29. Read a book. 

30. Read poems. 

31. Sing loudly. 

32. Make a list of things you're grateful for. 

33. Drink a lot of water. 

34. Put on make-up for no reason.

35. Watch funny videos. 

36. Take a deep breath. 

37. Distance yourself from negativity. 

38. Unfollow people you don't care to follow on social media. 

39. Have a pajama day. 

40. Read an inspirational book. 

41. Call your parents/ loved ones. 

42. Donate old clothing. 

43. Dedicate a day out of the week to not eating meat. 

44. Do a fun craft or DIY project. 

45. Put on a face mask and relax. 

46. Do a small workout. 

47. Take a power nap. 

48. Listen to a podcast. 

49. Open a window. 

50. Open your curtains in the morning to let in natural light. 

51. Make your bed. 

52. Cook dinner instead of eating out. 

53. Play/ cuddle with an animal. 

54. At the end of the day, think of all the positive things that happened.

55. Moisturize. 

56. Buy a comforting blanket. 

57. Give someone a hug. 

58. Create a vision board. 

59. Have some alone time.

60. Enjoy the sun on your skin. 

61. Dance like nobody is watching.

62. Walk in the rain every once in a while. 

63. Drive with the windows down. 

64. Give someone a gift for no reason. 

65. Get a massage. 

66. Do something that gets your adrenaline running. 

67. Spend the day at the library or a book store. 

68. Organize your work space/ binders. 

69. Spend a weekend in. 

70. Recognize hard work and reward yourself. 

71. Sign up for a work out class. 

72. Eat lunch with a friend. 

73. Spend the day helping others. 

74. Get your hair done. 

75. Have a good cry. 

76. Use sticky notes. 

77. Color code your planner. 

78. Print out pictures and hang them up. 

79. Hang motivational quotes on your mirror and read them when you get ready. 

80. Do random acts of kindness. 

81. Buy fuzzy socks. 

82. Redecorate or rearrange furniture. 

83. Be present. 

84. Set a new years resolution. 

85. Make a bucket list. 

86. Stretch in the morning. 

87. Watch an interesting documentary. 

88. Make a music playlist.

89. Watch the sunrise or sunset. 

90. Explore somewhere new.

91. Be slow to respond to negativity. 

92. Have a game night with friends. 

93. Buy concert tickets. 

94. Have a nightly routine before bed. 

95. Eat your favorite dessert. 

96. Do something you've been putting off. 

97. Invest in essential oils. 

98. Manage your finances. 

99. Buy a new outfit. 

100. Make your own gratitude list. 

Try at least one of these every week and see how you feel! I guarantee you will notice a difference in the way you are living your life.

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Being Sick In College Is The Absolute Worst

College is hard both in health and in sickness...but especially in sickness.

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As a first semester freshman, the transition into college was hard, but there was one thing I was not prepared for at all: dealing with college when you're sick. Especially now, it's finals week, everyone is stressed out, tired, and very prone to illness. Despite my hardest efforts to stay healthy (drinking lots of water, taking vitamin C supplements, washing my hands, etc.) I still managed to catch what everyone's been throwing around, and it is the worst.

Not only do I feel incapable of going to class, since my whole body aches, I just feel like sleeping all day, which means none of the work I need to get done is getting done. This would've been difficult during any other week, but it being finals week, I have more papers and quizzes and tests to complete than ever. I'm sure many college students can relate when I say: I just wanna go hooooommmmeee!!!

On the bright side, I also have amazing friends who are helping me out. In college, since everybody's going through the same struggle, I find that there's a greater sense of family here. A friend from my English class sent me some more Emergen-C, and one of my BFFs did a CVS run for me. So although I miss my mom's homemade soup and warm hugs, I can take comfort in knowing that there are people here who care about me and want to help me get better.

So to all my fellow sickies, a few words of reassurance: We only have about a week left to go, we can totally do this!! A few exams and papers got nothin' on us, we're tough and smart and capable!! If you need to take a sick day, please do. Nothing is more important than your health and well being, not even grades. Take some medicine, sleep it off, and get stronger tomorrow! Make sure to drink lots of water, and try to eat something, even if it is just dining hall grilled cheese (Linkins Dining Center, I'm lookin' at you!) Persevere for a few more days, and we'll all be back home, chilling on the couch, and getting yelled at by our parents to do our laundry in no time.

Sending you all love and positive vibes for this finals season!

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