This is my last year here at this beautiful mountainside and rainbow-clad university. It’s my last year completely as an undergraduate college student. My sister got married this summer and moved to another state. My eldest brother also moved a state away this past winter. It’s been quite a time for changes in my life, something I’ve never really jumped to welcome. However, as I’ve gotten older—and I have the heightened back problems to prove it—I’ve been faring better with all of these incoming changes. Maybe it’s because I’m more focused on myself and my own path. Maybe I’m too emotionally distant to care. Maybe it’s finally dawned on me that the only thing I can control about something is how I feel about it. Ultimately, I think I know that no matter what happens, everything will be alright. It will be what it needs to be. That, plus the fact that I am a cardinal sign who just has to take initiative, and the following list is how I deal with changes.
10. Believe in the Law of Attraction. I’m just going to start with this one because I’m sure anyone in my satellite has heard me talk about this plenty of times. To bring the positive change you actually want into your life, manifest it. Visualize it, produce it. Maintain the energy you want to maintain. Leave no room for the things you don’t want. Once you believe in the power of your mind, there’s no limit to what you can do.
9. Take stock. Do your inventory. Look around and instead of being overwhelmed by how much is different and changing, acknowledge what is still there. Who is still there? Gratitude is key to keeping yourself grounded. Remember to check in on your ride-or-dies. If all is going to shit, I’m sure there is still something to be happy about. Health, a home, the promise of a new day tomorrow, anything is valid.
8. Have a playlist that makes you feel good. Sometimes the thoughts in our head need to be drowned out. I strongly suggest making a list of songs that you know uplift you. Don’t be ashamed of what they are, no one should judge and no one has to know anyway; it’s between you and your headphones. I do, however, have some recommendations for both feel good and brain numbing bops (you decide which is which): Ariana Grande’s thank u, next; any Mac DeMarco song; DOPE LEMON’S Smooth Big Cat; Miley Cyrus’s Younger Now; and Tame Impala’s Currents. While going through transitions and sifting through phases, I find that not only does music help ease my soul, it also gives me a way to document that time in my life. For example, any Beach House song is permanently branded as Fall 2018 in New Paltz for me.
7. Know that everything will be alright. I hate to spoil the ending for you, but: it’ll be ok. I had the pleasure of having the late Professor Pauline Uchmanowicz as my advisor. May she rest in peace, hopefully knowing that she left an impact on me (as well as countless other students). To this day I still think about the words of wisdom she shared with me that one time in the spring where I went to her stressed and worried about my future: “You’re 21, and next year you’ll be 22.” She reassured me that no matter what happens, what turn my academic career takes, what homework assignment I miss, things will work out and no matter what, I will get past it. The sun will rise and I will try again. Thank you, Pauline.
6. Look to the sky. Bare with me here as I dive into cornier waters. How many times do you look at the sky, just to take it in? Probably not enough. I advise you to do so at least every day. Looking up at that vast mass of space, celestial bodies and people flying by, you realize just how small you and your problems are. It’s truly humbling.
5. Don’t coast, reel in your sail. Remember how I said everything will be alright? Well, I lied. Everything will be alright if you keep going along with a plan, but if you just blindly skip along singing la-di-da, letting the days pass, hoping things fall into place (I see you, Aquarius’s), then sorry, but get your head out of the clouds. When there’s a lot going on around us, we may forget about the goals that we set and dreams that we had. Whether it’s a pile of laundry you’ve been pushing off for three weeks, the book you’ve been meaning to pick up or that project you need to start, just start. Don’t wait for things to calm down. Get a move on. Things in motion stay in motion.
4. Keep a journal. Don’t roll your eyes. It can even be a note in your iPhone, or an actual leather bound moleskine covered with stickers. Just find a way to get your thoughts into one place. Document this time in your life! This will keep your mind at ease, and also keep you from exploding into a vent session next time a friend asks how you are.
3. Start something new. Whether you’re left in the dust after a big life change or you’ve actually picked up some unhealthy coping habits, I urge you to initiate your own change. This can be a hobby, a craft, or even a better habit you want to form. The most important changes come from within. Personally, I want to take better care of my body, which leads to my next method.
2. Stretch. Ok, bare with me. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that regular exercise and drinking water will cure your mental illness, but I’m sure the hustle and bustle of life is taking a toll on you physically, as it is for me. Recall how I mentioned the aches and pains I’m too young to be having? Yeah, no good. When I’m not hunched over at a desk or walking around campus with my laptop on my back I’m usually wondering why my entire body hurts. If this resonates with you, you need to stretch. I woke up this morning and did so myself, and instantly felt better than the last couple days.
1. Keep your end in sight. This goes along with No. 10 and No. 5. When my entire family structure shifted and my last year at college commenced, along with other micromovements happening around me, I almost lost sight of what my end game was. It’s easy to become an amoeba and start forming your life around others or whatever sense of structure you have left, but is that actually what you want? Do you want to adapt or do you want to create a place for yourself? You can’t float along with the currents forever.