A Month of Reflection

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The fast paced and hectic world of living in New York City is made so special by the people you surround yourself with. Spending every day among the people closest to you is a regular part of being here, so when January rolled around I found myself a bit lost. All my closest friends and roommates went back to their homes for the break while I stayed in my apartment to continue working as a barista. It was a difficult change, I went from constantly being busy to being alone with all the time in the world. I had no choice but to make the most of it, so I took it upon myself to make real efforts to come out of my comfort zone and make friends with the most important person in my life, myself. 

Now, myself and I have not always had the best relationship, so going into this endeavor was something I was a bit weary of, but I knew one thing for sure, I love a nice lunch at a nice restaurant. After recognizing this, I took it upon myself to take a book, a journal, and go to a restaurant and eat alone. This is something I have done before, but especially after the past few hectic months of the fall semester, I felt it was important to take the time to reflect on myself, my surroundings in terms of people and places I’m putting my energy into, and goals for what I can do with all this new free time. After sitting there for a while, it became apparent that maybe this month was exactly what I needed in order to be able to give my whole self once the time came again. 

While living in the city, it can become easy to lose who you are under everything you portray. I absolutely fell into the trap of putting an image out of myself that was not really me. Being able to recognize this was something that was a turning point in this journey. It wasn’t that I was having regrets about how I was living because I was truly the happiest I have been in a long time, I was just lacking in the self care department. Lucky me, I had a whole month to catch up. 

I always made sure to stay busy, and my job helped me do that. Being a barista in New York City has honestly been one of the coolest experiences I have had, and in doing so I have met some really interesting people with incredible stories. One day I had a conversation with a regular about a Virginia Woolf book I was reading when the cafe was empty. After talking for a while, I had a list of eleven books, and eleven new opportunities to connect with something. Reading to me is a form of reflection because everyone connects to literature so differently. Now I must admit I did not get through all of them, but I have learned a great deal from each. Not necessarily from the books themselves, but about me. It was important for me to follow up with these readings because I learned that as a person, I like to keep my word, and that trait makes me very proud. An insecurity I was having was in regards to keeping meaningful connections and following through with important things, so for me these readings represented the quality of being reliable, something I felt was possibly being lost in the craziness of my day to day.

I continued to put myself in situations where I felt I could learn from the experience. I am somewhat of a type A personality, so of course, I made a list. A list of all the qualities I wanted to maintain and from there, I was able to think of different ways to practice them and ensure I was making the most out of my time. I realized I was not the only one feeling these ways either. Something I often struggle with is opening up to people, so I made it a goal to be as transparent as possible with the people who matter most to me. Through this practice, I feel my relationships now have been strengthened beyond compare with not only friends, but also family. I do not think I would have gotten to this point without the time I spent alone. When I was finally able to express my true self, I was able to receive all my connections with a much bigger presence of comfort and compassion. I am taking with me the skills I learned and I believe it is now a priority to check in with myself and when I sense an aspect of my being starting to slip, I will do a quick double take because you are always going to be the most important person in your life, so prioritize who you are to your core, and the rest will follow.