Take Care

The 20s are all about being there for one another. One thing I know I do not do enough is spend time with those I care most about. If there was one thing I could change about my time in college it would be how much time I spent worrying about tests, lab reports, and essays. I would have rather used that time to connect even more so with the people who were around me. There will never be a time like this again. College really is a special place in so many ways. What I have learned most about college is that is where many people, including myself, truly learn what it means to take care.
Taking care, at least to me, comes in two ways that naturally seem to overlap. Personal care is oh so very important. It's the ways in which we take time to make sure that we, ourselves, are doing more than okay but doing well and being well. It's when we indulge in our favorite things. For me that shows up in writing this blog, cooking food, getting drawn in  to a TV show or movie, listening to music, or just hearing from my immediate family. It's the mindfulness that I try and practice in interpreting what I'm feeling, thinking, and experiencing so as to strive to be at peace with myself.
In addition to the things we do for ourselves in sanctimonious solace and solitude, there are the things that we do with others that reinvigorates us. Within each and every one of us lies both introvert and extrovert tendencies (I identify pretty evenly but have a slight propensity towards the former) and so we are tasked with appeasing both. That shows up for me in scheduled lunches, hang out sessions, dinners, and the non-planned moments of stopping to talk, chatting on the way to class, or even through the various modes of digital communication that we utilize daily. However you connect to others, it's just important to do so. It's imperative as people to know that others care for you, care about you, and take care with you. Being social is something some people thrive in and while others dread it - somehow I end up being a little bit of both.

This week has show me just how important that socializing piece is in taking care. Not for ourselves and our egos and self-esteems, but also for others. When we are surrounded by supporters we often forget that we are tasked with being a supporter to others as well. I think one our of our fundamental purposes in life is to take care of one another. In any way possible whether that be hugs, sitting in silence, grasping hands, smiling big, picking up dropped items, or just talking - we're here to give care and to be cared for. I cannot stress enough how imperative it is to care for others.

I've said it time and time again because it's never not relevant - it's not enough to care for someone just in your heart, you must tell them, show them, and prove to them that you care daily. How is anyone supposed to now you care for them unless make it known in the ways in which you treat them, speak to them, and take action around them. There is something gloriously impactful about knowing someone cares for you deeply. It makes all the difference and we do not hear it enough. Make a point to be intentional in demonstrating your care for people. It can be bigger like a care package or birthday present, or as simple as a text message or halting for conversation rather than walking by. It's how you support people by being there, being present, and being with them. It's fostering environments of sincere appreciation and connections that are long-lasting and worthwhile. That's how you take care.
Reconnecting with people that I haven't heard from in a while may quite possibly be my favorite thing about how relationships work. Time and distance may separate you but your connection can still be as strong as ever. It's funny how easily we fall back into who we are together with certain people and other times we realize how much has changed. A surprise visit from my old pop culture show castmate, Molly, truly made my week. Catching up with her and Hailey, both of whom I've known throughout my entire college tenure, gave me an unshakable smile. We laughed so heartily, and it was just so easy, you know? I got a call from one of my high school best friends, Taylor, who received my belated birthday gift. It was just nice to here his voice and to know that he was not only doing well but thoroughly enjoying his last semester. It was like a non-verbal reminder for me to be doing the same.
Friday night I spent at a dinner after a conference with some of my professors. I was moved beyond words to have the privilege of even being invited but even more so their ability to discuss anything and everything in such well articulated terms was awe-inspiring. Even more so was when they brought it back down to Earth and share about their lives and engagements in the media. Furthermore, their genuine concern for the safety and well-being of the other students present and me, myself, shook me to my core. How much these people cared for us and all the ways in which they conveyed it both directly and subtly was profound. Saturday had me venturing downtown for some alone time and a haircut before spending the afternoon with my friends Isora and Jenn answering hypothetical questions. It was just a solid good time - much needed by all. I was definitely taking care.

Sunday had care showing up in more abrasive and uncomfortable ways but still important nonetheless. After some tense moments in my fraternity chapter meeting, I don't know what took over but my inner empathy operated seamlessly to guide the space to a reflective if not positive space. We ended with an appreciation exercise that had people emotional. Monday I took time for me and binge watched MTV's disturbingly addictive Eye Candy and taking a much needed nap before bonding with the guys of my men's outreach group. A late night grocery trip ended the night and rolled me into Tuesday which flew by and ended with candid discussions with two of my brothers in Will and Aaron (#ship). I will always be appreciative taking the time to humbly ask me how I'm doing and mean it. They'll never know how significant it is for me. Take care one and all.

My blog post question for the day is ... how will you know you've taken care of yourself? I think for me that is being content with where I am, who I am, and who I am surrounded by.


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