I know this may sound cheesy, but I have a mental list of things I most look forward to once I graduate next year. This list isn’t anything too extravagant or grand. This is simply a list of things I know full well I have neglected while in pursuit of my bachelor’s degree.
One of the top items includes reading a book for pleasure. The English major in me longs for one of my greatest forms of relaxation and mental growth. In an eight-week period, I typically read a 300 plus page textbook cover to cover. Needless to say,I do not want to read in my free time. I have used all of my mental stamina and energy to read for school. Therefore, I typically opt to watch a YouTube video or Netflix episode or anything that does not require strenuous mental effort.
Another item on my list is to bake more. I kid you not when I say I have tried to make snickerdoodle cookies since Christmas. I have the ingredients. I simply have not had the time. Or, my home is already filled with gobs of sweets, thanks to reduced priced Valentine’s chocolates or people who give sweets in their Christmas gifts. I am a one sweet at a time kind of gal. I do not want an endless supply, especially when it comes to fresh baked goodies.
Beyond baking, I simply want to cook more. There are countless recipes I want to try. I cook quite a bit now, but nothing beats the luxury of having a whole afternoon open to prepare a grand meal. I am all about stocking up one’s fridge for a couple weeks’ worth of recipes. Then, being able to pick and choose, cook, and grab and go.
I also want to see people more often. As I’ve mentioned before, my husband and I greatly believe in the power of hospitality and opening our home to others as a ministry tool. Relationships matter to us. Each month, my husband and I like to get together with someone we haven’t seen lately. But, even then, I simply want to see my friends and family more often, whether they are people I see once every two weeks or people I see once every two months.
When I am in school, Sunday is practically the only day I am consistently free and able to get together. This is intentional on my part. I try my hardest to finish all of my course assignments by Saturdays so I can rest on Sundays just as God intended. Granted, this does not happen every week. It depends on the class, the assignment, and other events that may be out of my control. Nevertheless, it is something I am intentional about to the best of my ability.
I also strive to exercise consistently. Right now, my only form of “exercise” is walking to and from offices at work. I am adamant about not sending an e-mail unless I have to. I need the exercise. Plus, it doesn’t hurt to interact every now and then.
I don’t know what exercising consistently will look like for me. But, I do know it will be different than most others, due to my disability. And I am more than okay with this. Part of the quality of exercise is knowing one’s body–its limitations and its needs.
Lastly, I shall end with an even cheesier goal than the list itself. Be in bed by 10:30 p.m. at the latest each night. I don’t stay up too late during school. I need my sleep. But, my Christmas breaks from school have taught me full well, that I sleep astoundingly better at night when I know I don’t have to work on school, regardless of what time I go to bed.
As I get older, I realize more and more how important it is to care for one’s body. That means eating out less often and cooking more at home; that means exercising consistently; that means getting the proper amount and quality of sleep.
Yes, I am aware some of you may be thinking, “What’s stopping you from accomplishing tasks on this list now?” You are right in asking this. Nothing is stopping me. In fact, I do accomplish most of these tasks on a fairly regular basis, even with my crazy schedule. But, like I said, it’s all about knowing yourself. It’s about knowing what your body can and cannot handle. Some weeks, my body can only handle school and work. Other times, I can fit in extra, fun activities.
I challenge you to set goals for yourself. Set goals for you and your care, but also set goals that allow you to be there for others. Yes, I know everyone says it, but it is so true, especially in a time of life filled with more pressing priorities. Give yourself something to look forward to. Sometimes the beauty of self-care is giving yourself something to care about, even if it is reading that classic novel for the millionth time simply because you can and because it never gets old.