Coming home from college, even before Corona, always made me feel uneasy. Sure it is great to see family and friends, but it always felt as if my life was being put on pause during these times. Every meaningful moment of growth and change I experienced was happening away from home, at Emory. So going back home always made me feel as if my life was stagnant.
And during short times off from school, where I knew I would return back, I eventually learned to embrace this feeling. It became a welcome break and time of reflection on everything changing in my life. However, coming back home to finish this semester has brought back my previous feelings of idleness. My time at home is no longer a break but rather the “new normal.” My mind is transported back to make me feel like the same person I was in high school – confined to a limited number of activities and still living under the nose of my parents. Overcoming these feelings is difficult but much of what Santideva writes about has helped.
At home I now have to study, grow, and carve out a space (both mentally and physically) where this can all be achieved. The chapter “the Perfection of Vigour” offers a lot in this regard. I want to reshape how I view myself and my time when home because I cannot afford to remain static during this period. “I must acquire many virtues, both for myself and for others” (v.35). As many of you have talked about on this blog, we have a great opportunity to spend our time learning new things about the world and ourselves. Santideva addresses this further in verse 63 by reminding us that we ought to pursue satisfaction from our actions. Acting “for the sake of satisfaction” is coupled with the idea that we, therefore, cannot be satisfied if we don’t have a task or action to complete. This verse resonated deeply with me and has helped me recognize the necessity of keeping myself busy, even during these times.