It’s a cliche, I know, but time really has been flying far too fast for me to keep up. As I sit in the Black Diamond of the Royal Danish Library on a Friday afternoon, I battle with doing too much and too little all at the same time. Earlier, I talked with a friend about planning a day trip to Odense, a beautiful city about two hours west of Copenhagen. Attempting to pick a day was when we realized how busy we were with a calendar packed with personal weekend travel plans, local events, and an amazing class-mandated week-long study tour coming up that felt like a distant plan not long ago. The passing days turning into weeks and months hang heavy on our thoughts. We discovered that lately, we both felt we weren’t “maximizing” our time, often going straight to our homestays for dinner after classes and taking lots of rest time instead of exploring the city.
As I walked to the Black Diamond, I realized I had never seen this part of Copenhagen. It was gorgeous with historic facades and grand museums and I wondered why it had taken me until now, almost two months in, to take the time to enjoy it. It’s subtle moments like that where the guilt seeps in of not programming every second of my study abroad to be a noteworthy activity. However, I am actively trying to challenge that mindset. Instead of overloading myself with social interaction and travel that will ultimately burn me out, I accept that both my body and mind requires downtime that should not have guilt attached to it. Afterall, this is my first time staying abroad and although I feel acclimated, it can be extra tiring to process a new location and the language barrier.
My new goal for myself will simply be to experience something new everyday. Now, that might sound counterintuitive, but a new experience can be anything as small as listening to a new song or walking a different way. I already experience new things every single day, but by intentionally drawing my attention to them will help me gain a better appreciation for each novelty and help fight feelings of guilt from taking a rest. Hopefully, I can find more delight in both the mundane and the extraordinary. Already, I have been enjoying many new things in my life, in no particular order: oatmeal with butter, pole dancing, keeping up with a sketchbook, cooking with my host sibling, visiting Madrid, wearing my hair up, taking the train everyday, seeing European birds, meeting new people.
I look forward to finding something special about each day even though there is so much to see in a short amount of time.