You know how when your phone isn’t working and you can do a factory reset to clear all the settings? Moving to a new place can be kind of like that. After moving to Princeton, I had a chance to actually make some changes in how I live my life and here are the top five that have absolutely nothing to do with work or research:
1. I started reading and writing for pleasure.
I used to love to read. My mom would get upset with me as a child because I would make us late by reading instead of getting ready to go out, and then she would get upset about the fact that she was upset with me for reading too much. Libraries are still some of my favorite places. I lost that during undergrad. Reading seemed like an indulgence for which I just did not have time. And writing? Even when I liked to write poetry, I rarely did it when it was not for an assignment. Now, I look for even fifteen minutes when I might have time to write a post or begin to draft them. Realizing I could put all the thoughts swirling around in my head into some sort of story or idea instead of just obsessing over them is like realizing you can build something with Legos instead of just stepping on them and screaming in pain.
2. I became the type of person who buys (and will use) hiking boots.
When I left Boston and headed back to the Cape for the summer in June, I told a friend from home that I didn’t know what to do. After living in a city for four years, I liked my wildlife contained to commons and running trails along rivers. The kid who played in a swamp every day for several summers would not have recognized my adult self. With a help of a more outdoorsy friend here, I remembered the Molly who still loves to climb trees and jump between rocks on a trail. I even bought boots for the hiking trip I am currently on.
3. I became a vegetarian (at least for Lent and weekdays) and the type of person who carries around utensils (most of the time).
I was never particularly motivated by the moral reasons for vegetarianism (sorry), but I am motivated by the impact that the production of meat has on the environment. Moving here, most of my friends are vegetarians or eat meat infrequently. I have always really liked vegetarian options, so I started becoming a weekday vegetarian a few weeks ago before giving up meat entirely for Lent. I only miss it when the vegetarian options in the dining all are not that great. Similarly, I started carrying utensils so that I stop using plastic ones when I go out to eat. This is from the girl who had a wall of paper dining hall cups in her room junior year. A. Wall. Of. Paper. Cups. I’m honestly still not much better about being sustainable, but I am taking small steps and the utensils are the first ones.
4. I started going to church semi-regularly and actually talking to people there.
I have never had stellar church attendance post-confirmation. In Boston, I would oscillate between every Sunday and once-every-three-months. I also very much had
5. I tried to stop saying “it’s okay” when it isn’t.
I usually try to be extremely forgiving. I do believe that you forgive others mainly for yourself and that carrying around anger towards others is just not worth it. However, forgiving people does not mean telling them how they acted towards me is acceptable. This is a distinction I have been trying to make lately. I used to say “it’s okay” to try to prevent them from being guilty even though it was increasing the likelihood of me being hurt again. Now, if people I care about hurt me, I have tried to tell them. I am not trying to make anyone feel bad, but I just want to prevent it from happening again. So, when my reflex is to say “it’s okay,” I have tried to stop myself and acknowledge that I was hurt and that I forgive them.