the spaces in between.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

How is this month already halfway over?

And here I thought time would tick by slower, and slower, since I gave up social media.

But, in reality, life picked back up when I got back to school. A fast first week, and heavy second, and pretty soon responsibilities and academia become the priorities and I find myself living weekend to weekend with an NFL playoff game on the radar to push me through the early mornings and late nights reading my psych textbook or responding to emails.

The last semester is upon us, friends. Fellow seniors, can you believe it? I can't. Well, I can. It's been four years since I started this whole college adventure, and even though time has flown by, I know I've spent four years here. I've left my mark in classrooms, developed relationships with professors, spent a year and half working with ResLife, and have become known, in a sense. I've nested into Westmont, and it has nested into me. And it will all come to an end at that grand celebration on that graduation stage in May.

Enough of that. I'm not letting myself think about the finish line when there is still things to take care of in the space in between.

I've been thinking a lot about spaces since I left the world of social media two weeks ago.

Like, what would I do with these spaces in my life that social media used to fill? The half hour in the morning when I caught up on what happened overnight on my facebook feed. The hour before class when I don't really have enough time to start doing work, so I spend the time reblogging interesting photos on my tumblr or retweeting sarcastic tweets from my classmates.

Well, those spaces weren't as evident as I thought they would be. It took some time to get used to, I won't lie. I missed all of it for the first few days, but there is some incredible sense of freedom that I can't describe in words. Taking a break from social media has given me space, but not empty spaces that I have no idea how to fill, but refreshing spaces that let me breathe. I don't feel compelled to fill those spaces with task after task on my to-do list, but just breathe. Read. Think. Write. These spaces have become a necessary part of my everyday now.

I started reading the newspaper in the morning. Call me old, but whatever. I dig it.

With a cup of coffee in hand, I trek out of my dorm room into the crisp morning air (yes, I'm intentionally waking up earlier to do this. You can judge all you want.) and make my way to the lounge where I pick up the day's copy of the Santa Barbara News Press. Set my timer for 30 minutes, and just read what's happening. I got most of my news from my facebook timeline, but now I'm spending time each morning on my couch reading the news. I'm learning a ton about the city I live in, and the world as well. It's interesting. And I like it.

I take more naps. Call me old again, but this is the first time in a long time I feel rested.

So I take naps during the day. Curled up on my couch with my whale blanket and my timer set anywhere from half an hour to an hour. A brain-break. Space. Rest. I stay on top of my work each day, and manage time to recharge when I need it most. I go to bed earlier, helping me out when I get up earlier, and frankly, I feel great. I'm not spending time on facebook when I'm constantly telling myself you need to go to bed as the clock on my iPhone ticks closer and closer to those midnight hours when buzzfeed traps you with their endless links and all of a sudden you feel the need to check your pinterest you haven't logged onto in months.

I guess what I'm learning is that a social media addiction and space don't work well together. When you begin to fill space with the endless black hole of social media, you begin to lose the space, and when you lose the space, you disregard the important place it had in your life, and when you forget how important and significant that space is, you tend to think you don't need it anymore. You forgot the good that came with it. You figure your time spent doing something else is more important. And that space could be filled with something other than social media. Anything that distracts you from the necessary space in your life is a danger to your well-being.

Especially in a semester that will go by very quickly, that will end with graduation caps and questions about the future, we all need a little space. Filling the space will only cause us to look back on May 3rd at this last semester, and wonder where the time went. Chalk it up to academics and other space-fillers, we won't realize that the key to slowing down the clock on an inevitable finish line we may or may not be looking forward to, is to keep this space sacred in our lives. Of course, we can't physically slow down the clock, but maybe it will help us take more advantage of the spaces in our life. By living in the moment and being aware of where we are, who we are, and the moment we are in.

Friends, slow down.

Go to the beach for a couple hours.
Wake up earlier and get ready slowly.
Read.
Write.
Imagine.

Give it a chance, and revisit the spaces in your life.

Respectfully submitted,
Leah


PS: Exciting news that I would normally share via my social media outlets, but now I have had the joy of telling people in person and I will now share with the greater world of the internet...I got into graduate school! My first acceptance letter arrived this week from Pennsylvania, Geneva College's Master of Arts in Higher Education program. I am excited, and thankful, and looking forward to hearing from Taylor and Azusa soon!

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