Although some may be skeptical when I claim to have learned a valuable life lesson in a span of a week and a half, the time I have spent in Bowling Green by myself allowed me to explore what it is like to be alone. Being overwhelmingly extroverted, the thought of it initially terrified me. But what I came to find is that I truly enjoy being alone. Albeit, I couldn’t live like this much longer than a few weeks. But my time in BG felt like a little retreat from real life – a time strictly for me and my thoughts.
A few things happened to me as I went a few days without much human interaction outside of work and the baristas at the local coffee shop.
- I finally started my reading list: When I was a little kid up through grade school I loved to read. I always had a book in my hand and went to the library frequently with my parents or grandparents. But once I began required reading for classes, literature left a bad taste in my mouth. Post high school, I always said I wanted to get back into reading, but I always felt too busy to pick up a book. One thing I’ve learned in the past week and a half is that I always have time to start a new book. Books are an escape. They allow me to travel to new places and encounter new people and experience new things with every turn of the page. I’ve read two books already in the past ten days, and have set a goal for myself to read 30 books in 2017. So thanks to Bowling Green for being a town with nothing to do when WKU isn’t in session. It’s been a blessing in disguise.
- I started to reflect on myself: This is something that i have always valued, but never truly practiced until lately. All of the time I have spent alone has led me to evaluate a lot of my actions in the past and to establish many of my strengths as a person, but even more of my weaknesses. Being able to look back at my life and realize where I have the most room to grow is an advantage that will help me to better myself in the coming months. It has allowed me to think about myself, my relationship with others, & my relationship with God. Realizing my role in these relationships benefits not only me, but also everyone else involved. My hope is that being more self aware will help me to be a better man, a better friend, a better servant, and a better Christian.
- I started to pray more: aAs mentioned above, I began to question my relationship with God. I started to notice that ‘relationship’ is a term that I can only use loosely in this instance. I had fallen out of my faith despite all my efforts to strengthen it. But then it hit me: my faith is my faith, & it can and should be personalized to me. If God knows me better than anyone, then it only makes sense to worship Him in my own way. Personally, reading the Bible, while so great for so many others in building their relationship with the Lord, just didn’t do the trick for me. But I’ve found other ways. I started singing church songs in the shower, I started praying more often and writing about it, I started reading devotionals to put myself in a prayerful mindset. I realized that are so many more ways to pray than reading scripture or attending church on Sundays. granted, I still try to do those things, because they have great purpose too. But I found that those alone were not what I needed to sustain my faith. I needed more. I yearned for a better relationship with Christ, so I found ways for me to build the foundations on which my faith can expand. That alone has brought me more joy and contentment than anything else I have experienced.
I know this all seems like a lot to have happened in 10 days, and none of this is set in stone. I’m sure I will make the same mistakes I’ve made before or fall away from God at some point just to be brought back again. But that’s how life is. It’s a cycle of ups and downs and I like to think I experienced that pretty head on this winter break. While I’m ecstatic for all of my friends to move back to BG and make more memories with them, I’ll always be thankful for this time spent alone and look forward to making time for myself in the future.