By Rebecca Kerzner
I wanted to start this letter by sharing my excitement that the sun is coming out this March!☀️But unfortunately, to my dismay, the sun hasn’t been around besides for random occasions, just taunting us with brief glimpses on lucky days. 🌥️The weather this month has been truly scatterbrained. One day it is beautiful and warm and I prance to Madison Square joyfully and the next day it’s snowing! 😧 I can’t keep up! It’s a rough life, especially when you forget to check the weather and decide to wear your favorite suede boots on a sleety rainy day and your shoes get completely ruined. Sometimes it feels like a part-time job just to keep up with the wildly unpredictable weather that we experience here in New York City. Ammiiiright?
On a more amusing note, the other Friday, on that day of unbearable mixtures of hail, sleet, and pushy winds☔❄️☔❄️ (I’m sure you all remember this day), I was walking from Herald Square station back to the dorm with my eyes barely open 😑 to shield myself from getting snowy shmutz in my eyes. Just as I was finally entering Brookdale, an excited group of Irish tourists sidled beside me, chatting with one another and walking at different paces in their eager restlessness. I perked up because Irish accents are amusing and people watching is always entertaining. Then one subgroup, a male, and female walked in front of me and the guy curiously asked the girl, “what are you so happy about?” She said, “I’m in the best city of New York with my friends! What’s not to be happy about?” The boy tossed his head up and laughed and I, too, chuckled discreetly to myself.😏
To me, the weather was pretty unbearable and I can’t say I was in a good mood.🤷But to these tourists, it was a splendid day and they just didn’t see what I saw. Thinking back to my daily struggles and woes at that moment, I couldn’t help but laugh at how simple the logic was. I’m also with my friends in New York, “the best city ever,” I thought to myself. Shouldn’t it be this easy?🤔🤔
Seeing these tourists got me thinking about something I’ve struggled with a lot this semester and in general and that is, living in the present. Between managing a dual curriculum, keeping up with all the s-studs flying in fast, midterms season, and the fast-paced New York City energy, it can feel impossible to pay attention to each moment as it passes. So, with the hopes of helping myself and others too, I did some research and found some daily tips to bring a better focus to what’s happening around ourselves in the present moment. 🎯
- 🙏 Identify gratitude in your life. 🙏
What are the parts in your life that you are thankful for? What is something that brings you joy? Remember friends, family, maybe a ritual you love doing, and hang on to it. Think about why it’s good to have it in your life–where would you be without it? G-d knows where. Taking a moment to appreciate the good things can help put things into focus. When I think about this one, I remember my friends who constantly support me and cheer me on and how lucky I am to be doing what I love most: writing, drawing, and designing to uplift and entertain others. I remember Perspective and how much it has helped shape the student body this year in a positive way. Thinking of these things comforts me and stabilizes me, and reminds me that despite what happens in the future, these consistencies are for the present.
- 📴 Unplug from something. 📴
This can be done in many ways and is different for everyone, depending on what aspect of your mobile device is most distracting. Personally, I am addicted to Instagram (yes, I confess) and sometimes it’s painful to me when I realize how often I check it. I’ve gone on social media cleanses during the summer (which I HIGHLY recommend) but I think those are harder to stick with during the school year. The best thing I’ve done for myself recently was to turn off Facebook and Instagram notifications, a setting available in the notification center of iPhones. This way, at least my phone wouldn’t constantly buzz every time someone posts in the YU memes group or likes an Instagram post. This is a small step to unplugging without quitting cold turkey that has helped me focus better on the things that are worth my time.
- 📚👠📝 DO things to remind you of where you are NOW. 📚👠📝
This one is by far my favorite tip, and for me, one of the most effective. Sometimes we have items or routines that remind us of the past in ways we don’t appreciate. But getting a new pair of shoes, trying a new yoga class, or simply writing yourself a positive affirmation on a post-it and pasting it on your desk can serve as a physical external reminder of the good things in the present. Doing something concrete creates a lasting feeling so that every time you read the book or use the object, you remember why and where you bought it and the good feeling resonates.
- ✨🤸 Practice forgiving the pain of the past. 🤸✨
When you hyper-focus on the what-ifs of the past, you forget about all the good things happening right at the moment. Remember that even if things seem difficult now, there will be a time in the future when you look back at this moment and remember something positive from it. There is always something to dwell on but dwelling is easy; it’s the opposite that’s much more difficult to do. In dealing with troublesome thoughts, I like to set aside some time every day, in the morning or at night when things quiet down, to meditate on the feelings I have so I don’t bottle them all up. When I check in and acknowledge feelings, it’s easier to go on with the rest of the day and bring the focus back to what’s important.
Of course, these are all healthy habits to think about yet I do recognize the inevitability that life gets busy and these tips can sometimes be hard to remember. But these tips aren’t for quick fixes; it is about getting into a mindset that has an element of thoughtfulness within it. My biggest goal is that you feel empowered as you read and feel the words on the page and take them in. 💪 🤗
Lastly, I wish you, my dear reader, all the best in balancing the new challenges that face you every day, be it dealing with this crazy weather, living in the moment, social drama, test pressure, etc. Enjoy these articles and celebrate getting past midterms as you scroll through this month’s plethora of entertaining tips, tricks, and stories.
Rebecca Kerzner 🌸