As summer comes to an end, I am reflecting on what makes this summer so different from all the others I’ve had in New York City. Of course, this summer in particular, I celebrated my first anniversary. However, aside from such a significant milestone, I also found that this summer I allowed myself to just “be.”

I’ve lived in New York city for 6 years now, and in the previous 5, there were major repetitious occurrences. Tons of food trucks, rooftops, friends’ balconies, and barbecues. This summer, although admittedly, I did do some of that, I also put less pressure on myself to make “the most” of the summer. That term, I think, requires too much pressure in that if you don’t reach whatever “your most” is for the potential of the 12-week time span, you’ve failed at summer. Instead, decided to spend a lot of the time reflecting over how much I’ve evolved over the years and what I wanted for myself. I delved into books, allowed myself to do “nothing” on many Saturdays, to get back into sketching. I spent some time being less concerned about squeezing in international trips during these three months and decided to do some exploring on home soil—in Chicago, Charleston, Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia.

I cooked some really tasty dishes, took a sewing and shoe-making class. Focused on active daily living and fresh foods instead of dieting and regimented workouts. I felt present when I was around family and friends, and not preoccupied with situations that couldn’t be changed and regrets. I allowed myself to fully take in my surroundings, careful to avoid making garrulous conversation when confronted with awkward blankets of silence. In fact, silence no longer feels so awkward to me—it gives us time to rest and understand what we are feeling.

There are so many things that I’m grateful for this past summer. I’ve been more prayerful, more diligent with my scheduling, and have been training myself to do things in the moment instead of putting them off. I think mostly, I’ve tried to shrink myself as not to be so selfish. To be more conscious of others. New York City can engulf us in a way that makes us feels as though we can lose ourselves in the shuffle if we aren’t distracted by our own personal, and very many, comings and goings, however I am finding that separating myself a bit from my own shuffle and carefully considering others’ well-being within my own decision-making is allowing the city to feel less fast. Less crowded. More open.

This isn’t to say that I have put my own desires totally on the back-burn. In fact, it’s allowed me to understand myself even more, because now I am understanding my place in relation to the world around me. It’s a new feeling, and one that I hope to grow. I think this new perspective on my life here is leading to some healthy growth in knowing what I truly want to be my life’s work and contribution to society. This year, 2016 has been monumental in so many ways, and I look forward to seeing what is revealed as the year approaches a close.

A warm welcome, Fall.

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