It’s been a little over a month since the Denver Episcopal Service Corps officially kicked-off the 2019-2020 service year and it has already been an incredible growing experience for me.
Not only have I moved across the country (putting me much farther away from my family than I’ve ever been before), but I’m now in a completely new phase of life; now that I not a student for the first time in my life, I’ve had to learn how to build my own structure – one that doesn’t revolve around classes and club meetings in the mornings and afternoon, with work in the evening and little free time in between. Now that I have more free time than I have previously been used to, I’ve found that I have been able to learn quite a bit about myself and what I need in order to feel well-rested and refreshed by Monday morning. For example, I’ve learned that spending too much time indoors (even with plenty of natural lighting) leaves me feeling anxious, while time outdoors helps to drastically soothe me and clear my mind.
Although I have long since known that I am an introvert, I have spent many years refusing to allow myself enough alone time for fear of missing anything that my roommates or friends may do and enjoy without me. Living in a house in which four out of five of us are introverts, I have been able to fully accept my needs as an introvert and have allowed myself to have experiences that are entirely my own by exploring both nearby hiking trails and the City of Denver by myself.
As part of this year of service and growth, I am challenging myself to maintain a more grateful outlook on life, which has already helped me adjust to my new work schedule. I’ve never been much of a morning person, but my shift at my job site, Urban Peak, begins at 6:45 am; I was pretty worried all summer about how I would manage to wake up so early and stick to a schedule in which I start and finish my shift early than all of my housemates. Truthfully, the first two weeks of waking up so early were incredibly difficult for me and I struggled to be positive at such an early hour of the morning. However, I am getting better at reminding myself of the benefits of my work schedule: I don’t have to fight traffic on my way to or from work, I have lots of free time in the afternoon and early evening before the household eats, and I even get to see some beautiful morning skies on my way to work (like I did this past Tuesday).
I still have a lot of growing and learning left to do, but I’m proud of myself for starting this year with much more gratitude and self-awareness than I would have had this time last year. Without such growth, this first month would have been much more difficult and far less enjoyable than it has been.
Here’s to more months of growth and progress.