Why I Enjoy New Year's

Why I Enjoy New Year's

The New Year is here and not a minute too soon.
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Another long year has passed, and I find myself wondering where the time has gone. Just yesterday it felt like I was spending New Year's Eve with different people in a different state. A lot has changed over one year, but at the same time, it feels like nothing has changed at all. The older I've gotten, the more I felt how abstract time can be. A whole year used to feel like ages to me; now, I still find myself writing "2014" in the date. It's that bad.

I don't think there's anything wrong with not flowing with time. Human existence is a small speck compared to the universe's life; focusing on this fact would make life seem pointless. Some bugs live for only a day; focusing on this fact would make every second seem to count. Trying to think about how much and how little time I have is stressful.

That's why when the year ends, I tend to participate in New Year's resolutions as more of a tradition. There's something about the beginning of the year that inspires people and gives back some of the energy current events have taken. Even if, at the end of the day, the world and life is still the same, there's something special about this time.

Therefore, even if I have a hard time keeping up with time, and don't really buy into labeling a year as "good" or "bad", New Year's is still a time that fills me with joy. I get to watch people around me become energized with hope for the coming year. I enjoy giving myself challenges that I might not accomplish but at least inspire me. Some of the stress and anxiety sheds itself and leaves itself behind, and I can say time has healed me.

Cover Image Credit: Nigel Howe on Flickr

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What It's Like To Stay In Pittsburgh Over The Summer

What's there to do when our teachers are hibernating for three months?
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It’s weird for me to think that some people don’t stay in Pittsburgh over the summer, if only because I haven’t gone home for any summer since I’ve been in college and I have no inclination to do so. There are plenty of reasons to stay: classes, research opportunities, jobs and internships, and some people find that they just don’t want to go home and find a reason to stay. Of course, even with all those incentives there are still some of you who will want to go home, wherever that may be, so hopefully I can clue you in on what it’s like over those three months.

To begin, Pittsburgh is absolutely gorgeous in the summer. You get a taste of it in the fall, and a whiff in spring, but wow, with the flowers and the trees in bloom, places like Frick park, The Point, The Waterfront, and Mount Washington are completely transformed in the haze of green and other colors. The second thing I always notice, around the third week in, is how quiet Oakland becomes. Walking around campus, you’re lucky to run into 8 strangers over the course of your day, although there are always a handful of stragglers in Hillman or Cathy. It feels nice, in an odd way; the campus feels much more personal, much more accommodating to you. And then, with the lack of people and stress from school, you start to branch out from Oakland and see more of the city, which is where the real fun begins.

We all know we go to the University of Pittsburgh, but honestly it’d be more accurate to say we go to school in Oakland. Campus can feel pretty big during the school year, but Pittsburgh is a city of dozens of neighborhoods outside of the four or five that make up Pitt’s domain, and most of us stay orbiting around specific buildings that are hubs for our majors. I didn’t really start understanding the dynamic of larger Pittsburgh until summer after my freshman year when I started to see comedy shows on a regular basis downtown, and it completely opened my eyes to the opportunities we miss every day during the school year.

I’m not trying to judge anyone: you’re lucky to see me outside of Hillman, Cathy, or my apartment during the school year. But still, when I think about all the festivals, museum openings, theatre performances, comedy shows, art galleries, and independent classes that are offered around Pittsburgh, just to name a few of the options available in a city like Pittsburgh with vast public services and interesting people, I can’t help but feel like I’m missing out. If you ever get a chance, I’d say stay here over a summer, even if only for a couple weeks. And even if that’s not in the cards, maybe check out some of the local stuff happening outside of Oakland; Pittsburgh can surprise you.

Cover Image Credit: Robpinion on Wikimedia Commons

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It's Time For Spring Cleaning, And I Plan To Clean Out My Closet And What's Cluttering My Mind

I want to spring clean my mind and my heart.
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Birds are chirping, flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and spring has sprung! Lubbock can’t seem to fully get behind the change in the weather, but I’ve decided to embrace the shift anyway. Despite temperature drops below freezing, I’m moving my outlook to warmer days. With a new season and a new perspective, it seems a good time to spring clean my life.

That’s right, my life. I’m embarking on an effort to spring clean everything. My pantry can use a serious clean out and I desperately need to sort through clothes, but I’d like to take the metamorphosis one step further this year. What else in my life is dragging and bogging me down?

The obvious physical stuff needs to go. In a world where the latest trend promises and swears to make you thinner, prettier, happier, healthier, it’s hard to stay focused on a minimalist lifestyle. That’s the new goal—living as minimally as I can. Am I going to downsize to only five items of clothing I can strategically mix and match? No. But I would like to actually know every single item that’s in my closet (something I admittedly 100% could not do right now).

And don’t even get me started on the beauty products...

I’m going to purge the physical items cluttering my life and my home and seek to live only for those things that make me happy.

I plan to do this emotionally too.

I want to spring clean my mind and my heart. Perhaps I’m taking the analogy too far, but how great would it feel? We focus on transformations in this season and all things new. I want to cut out commitments and relationships that do not bring me joy and do not make me a happier or better person.

I want to create more physical space and emotional time and effort to give back to those things in my life that are good for me. How much more energy would I have if the clutter in my apartment and the clutter in my mind weren’t draining me every step of the day?

I’m hoping I’m not alone in this, but I don’t think I am. How much better would we feel if we were living for and with only the few incredibly important things that mean the world, rather than struggling along burdened by the latest and trendiest fashion, product, or commitment? I’m convinced, it’s time for some spring cleaning.

Cover Image Credit: Instagram

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