Where do we think best?
I mean truly think. For some people it’s while running, journaling, sitting in a quiet space, or in their bed. There are so many places on this earth that we can inhabit and fill with our thoughts. Since I came to college, I have increasingly become more and more extroverted. I truly do receive energy from surrounding myself with people at all points of the day. Due to this, I have had to become more cognizant of taking time for myself. Time to truly sit and think. To think about my day. To think about the future. To sit back and reflect.
If you had asked me a year ago where I do my best thinking, I would have told you in my car. When I am driving down the road by myself with the windows down, I feel free. Those times leave my brain open to thinking. The thoughts pour out of me and fly into the wind. My car has been home to some of the deepest thoughts I have ever had and I am in full belief that there is nothing quite like an open road. I would still hold true to this statement that this is where some of my best thinking happened. However, that slightly changed this past January.
Throughout Winter Term, I challenged myself to swim every single day in the month. I’m not a huge fan of exercise, especially in the winter. I have been competitively swimming since I was six years old and thought that this would be a great way to stay active. I would take about an hour almost every day to swim laps. Little did I know that this hour a day would become my thinking space for the next month. I would purposely go by myself because it was my time. My time to freely think. That hour was the one hour a day where I did not have a meeting to be at, homework to tend to, or friends to catch up with. It was my time and all encompassing, it was beautiful.
I always started on the block. As I dove in, I could feel my body flow freely through the water in zero gravity weightlessness. I had a set workout each day, but one thing never changed, the 20 laps that I would swim as part of my warmup. I’ve been a sprinter my whole life. I don’t particularly like to swim for distance, which is why I have never looked at the pool as a thinking space. However, there was something special about those distances that I swam. That eight-minute warm up allowed me the time to truly reflect on my semester, my life, and the point that I have made it to. I got the chance to consider the ebbs and flows of life, as the water did the same splashing up against the pool walls and back towards me. My tempo changed as my thoughts changed. I glided through the water, almost as if I was dancing, when joyful thoughts of excitement graced my spirit. When those thoughts were overtaken by pain and defeat, I would rip through the water. My pull would speed up and I would whip my hand back in the same manner as if I were racing. Racing through life’s defeats. I would get so lost in these feelings that I would often forget what lap I was on. I was not swimming to make it to a destination, I was truly swimming for the journey. That was invigorating. It made me appreciate my time in the pool so much more than I could have imagined. It gave me the opportunity to process through great trials and excitements. I came to truly love the thinking process.
I loved using my time in the pool as a thinking space, but it’s been three months since January, and I have not spent much time in the pool with the busyness of this semester. I have gone back to spending time thinking in my car. I have also found other places to bring my thoughts to life. I believe that the way and the place that we think can change like the seasons. You are never going to think in the same place or manner forever. Our situation changes, we move, we grow older. Right now, my thoughts are consumed by the idea of the future, where I am being led to go, what I am being called to do. Eventually, our thoughts will become worries for our children, our spouse. They will include concerns for our health, or our parents, and the life that we currently lead. However, one thing will never change, life will forever be a process of thoughts woven together. Thoughts that wash over us like the ebb and flow of the pool water. Thoughts that make us lose track of time, or even swim laps. Thoughts that allow us to glide through life or even whip through it. Life is a process of thoughts, never-ending thoughts.