Take a look at the items in this photo.
As I entered my seemingly umpteenth isolation period since the beginning of 2020, this time in anticipation of an important career course, I began to wonder how I was going to do it. It really started to feel like second nature, yet still so foreign and scary.
“I am destined to slowly rot away, alone in one of these rooms,” I thought to myself, as I settled in at my latest humble abode.
However, as I woke up this morning, I had a real change of heart that I feel compelled to share. I looked down at the items scattered atop my desk and realized how truly blessed I was, even in the somewhat crummy situation I was faced with. I might not have everything I normally have, but in that moment, I realized that I did have those very small things. Detailing each item, I hope to inspire a bit of appreciation inside of you for what you’ve got and soften your focus on whatever situation is haunting you right now.
The book is a copy of Marcus Aurelius’ “Meditations”. I’ve read it nearly every time I’ve had to isolate and I highly recommend it. As you can see, I’ve highlighted various parts throughout that I’ve deemed relevant to me. I find it fun to go back and look at the different things that I found most applicable to my situation every time. On the topic of gratitude, the entire first chapter of the book is dedicated to Marcus’ expressions of gratitude to the many important people and events in his life. Re-reading the book this time, I feel grateful to have the ability to read and to be put in a situation that is able to challenge me, intellectually and otherwise.
It seems foolish to be appreciative of a pen at first glance. I mean, it’s only a pen. But, for me, it is a part of what allows me to convey my thoughts to you right now. It represents an evolution of thought and maturity. Before beginning this article, I took it up and jotted down some points that I wanted to cover. When I was in elementary and high school, the pen was the main vein for my brain to the paper in front of it. This pen helps me compile my thoughts and emotions, often complex and difficult to understand on their own, and translate them to written, structured ideas. The pen is an essential asset for self-expression.
My watch isn’t an ordinary watch. This IS NOT a paid plug for Garmin (although I wish it were, that would be pretty sweet). This watch tells me a lot about my physical health, something I take a lot of pride in, and something that I like to think I’m very aware of. It helps me maintain my physical well-being, which results in mental well-being. Of course, you can’t forget the primary function of any watch – to tell you how much time you’re wasting. Being able to glance down during this period of isolation and watch time tick away calls me to action. Will I waste this time, mindlessly achieving nothing, or will I focus on personal, creative, intellectual, and professional goals?
This item is quite simple. I love apples. It doesn’t get much deeper than that. Having the ability to provide myself with food that is good for my body is something that I often take advantage of. In isolation, it’s easy to let oneself slip away into bad eating habits: snacks, cookies, cake. Choosing the apple (while still entertaining the odd cookie) conveys the message to myself that I’m putting my health first.
Before I left home this most recent time, my father handed me the mug you see in the photo to bring with me. I love my coffee, almost too much, and in case it’s not obvious, that mug can hold a whole lot of it. He knew I loved coffee, but he also knew that I’d miss home. Isolating in Manitoba before the start of my course, he couldn’t have been more right. As my previous writing indicates, I allow myself to be excited for unknown opportunities and change, but that doesn’t mean I don’t and shouldn’t miss home, family or friends. This mug affords me the opportunity to remember some of the people I care about, and those that care for me.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in our own peril and ask why our lives are the way they are. I do it often, and that’s while employing a consistent effort to never do it! However, looking down at the desk this morning, I realized once again that rolling with the punches isn’t such a bad thing. When you catch yourself in the act of self-deprecation, you have time to change your attitude.
There are two ways you can deal with the obstacles and situations that you don’t like: let them knock you down or push right through. Appreciating these little things on my desk is my way of pushing through.
“The first thing you should know about me is that I am extremely high energy. You will definitely see that in my writing. I’m from Durham, currently studying Psychology at the Royal Military College. I’d like to use my energy for good through this medium, spreading positive messages and taking the often overlooked approach to things we see in our day to day lives. With that said, most of my writing will also include an element of stoicism, as I use that in addition to my positive mindset daily to deal with the world around me. I welcome feedback as I begin sharing my thoughts.”