The Challenge Of Paying Attention Is Not Lost

The Challenge Of Paying Attention Is Not Lost

Being able to be present, truly present, is a phenomenon that has lost its appeal with all of the stimulation and temptation that the modern day brings.

A few Sundays ago, I met a dear friend for dinner. We were looking forward to catching up and rambling on as we usually do until we both felt a slight shift in the evening. For whatever reason, that Sunday night turned out to be one of those rare nights where you feel perfectly in sync with the universe and all of its wonderment and energy. It was one of those nights where the fortifying feeling of youth makes you feel this immeasurable amount of joy and bliss but at the same time, years of experience and growth lend you the eyes to understand why a moment like this is so special. It was one of those nights where the candlelight from the dinner table flickers across the familiar face of a friend sitting in front of you. It was one of those nights where you feel as if you’re celebrating absolutely nothing yet everything at the same time. And if nothing else, you’re surely celebrating friendship because as time has shown, a true friendship is a ship that doesn’t sail into harbor often. It is in these moments that you suppress the knowledge that though many more of these beautiful moments lie ahead, there are an equal amount of hard, sad and lonely moments as well. However, the notion of the sad and lonely moments is fleeting and you find yourself back in that present moment, enjoying a random Sunday night, in the warmly lit ambiance of your favorite restaurant, accompanied by a matured friendship. You find yourself enjoying the act of tearing and sharing a freshly baked pastry that the waitress randomly dropped off at your table because they happened to make “extra” that night. “As if the night couldn’t feel anymore blissful” you think to yourself. “If only we could swim in this moment a little while longer” your friend says to you.

I believe the company in which we share these moments is what makes them so profound. We want to swim in the feeling of reveling in fact that for once, things seem to be okay in every possible way, even if just for a moment. We then experience this repression of a faint voice of reality floating in the back of our mind, tempting us with our obligations, responsibilities, sadness and schedules. However, if there is one thing that I’ve begun to tag as my “lesson for this year” it is that the best place to be at any moment, is nowhere.

Going nowhere is going to a place where you are able to be present, truly present in any given moment. This is a phenomenon that has lost its appeal with all of the stimulation and temptation that the modern day brings. Being able to listen, truly listen with intention, when partaking in a conversation is now a challenge rather than an instinctive action.

There’s a quote I heard earlier this week that has stuck with me and I feel it is immensely relevant to the depiction of this feeling. Pico Iyer wrote in his book The Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere: “In an age of speed, I began to think, nothing could be more invigorating than going slow. In an age of distraction, nothing can feel more luxurious than paying attention. And in an age of constant movement, nothing is more urgent than sitting still.”

Ernest Hemingway also attests to this delightful feeling when he writes "Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive."

I suppose that after experiencing that Sunday night and hearing this quote, I realized that there was no true physical shift in the evening itself. There was nothing truly remarkable or out of the ordinary happening either. The "shift" in the night was internal. The "shift" was caused by a dear friend, along with myself, subconsciously choosing to "pay attention" and that made all the difference.

Cover Image Credit: Sophia Winter

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21 Things You Say To Your Roommate If You Two Are Practically A Married Couple

Until I made this list, I didn't realize how absurdly close my roommate and I were. #sorrynotsorry

1. "Can you turn the light off?"

2. "We probably shouldn't go out for dinner again...right?"

*complains about not having money* *spends $8 on Chipotle three times a week*

3. "I always pick where we go"

This is a fight you have with your roommate almost every day when you're roommate is as indecisive as mine.

4. "Do you have my keys?"

5. "Can you pick me up?"

6. "Is it hot in here?"

7. "Does this outfit look stupid?"

The answer is usually yes. No offense.

8. "Can you throw this out for me?"

9. "Can we get ice cream?"

10. "I need coffee"

This text is usually sent when you know your roomie is out running errands... errands you know are near a Starbucks.

11. "Can you tell me what happened?"

12. "Are you asleep?"

There have been times where I couldn't tell if you were asleep or dead... and I had to say this out loud to check if you were alive.

13. "Check your dm's."

*cracks up in the middle of nowhere* *catches a weird stare from your roomie across the room*

14. "Can you plug this in for me?"

15. "Can you pick a movie?"

Another instance where "I always pick" happens.

16. "Look at this girl's Instagram."

*chucks phone across the room at roommate*

17. "Can you call me?"

18. "Can we meet up?"

Separation anxiety is a real thing, people.

19. "Can you help me find my phone?"

*Tries to leave the house to do something* *loses phone* every. time.

20. "What should we do tonight?"

*tries to get ready to do something fun* *ends up staying in for another girls night*

21. "Why isn't everyone as great as us?"

Cover Image Credit: Juliarose Genuardi

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A Letter To The People I Met Freshman Year

To my friends who are now family, thank you.

To my new family,

I would like to start by saying thank you for making this first year of college better than I could have ever imagined.

Since we just said our goodbyes a little over a week ago, it is time to reflect on these past nine months. Even though I cried for days saying goodbye to you all one by one, these months were filled with so much love and happiness, and for this, I am so grateful.

It is bittersweet because although high school was memorable, college is where we have started to gain the most knowledge, the best friends and the greatest memories of our lives. I believe that college is where it all happens and so far, I have proven myself right. These years will shape the rest of our lives, and that excites me so much.

I was incredibly grateful this year to have met people with such big smiles and even bigger hearts.

I have so much confidence that these relationships we have formed will last a lifetime. It is crazy when you think that we are still so young yet we have practically lived together for these past months, seeing each other every day and experiencing each other from all perspectives; It must be a sign that we are not yet sick of each other. You have made me laugh, cry, smile so hard it hurts, and everything in between.

To my future roommates, I cannot wait to experience the opportunity to live with my best friends.

To my crazy friends, you are truly insane, but I love you and will never stop caring for you.

To the person I least expected to meet, my love; I will never forget you or this incredible freshman year with you.

There is nothing better than finding people that understand your soul and love you for who you are. The people I have met this past year are the most genuine and amazing people I have ever encountered; I never saw this coming. But this eventful year filled with so many experiences was the best surprise I could have asked for.

This is the first step of our adulthood and together we will grow into amazing human beings; we will make mistakes, go through many trials and tribulations, but the most important thing is that we will be by each other's sides.

Not all of it will be hard though, we will make memories that will last a lifetime and even when we are telling them as we get older, we will still smile and be overcome with nostalgia as if they were yesterday. I promise to be there for you all through thick and thin and to always love you and be there for you. I never want these memories with you all to end.

I may be known as the girl who loves way too hard, but frankly, you are all worth it. Thank you, and I am so excited for these next three years and a lifetime with you all.

Cover Image Credit: Abigail Merritt

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