The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Savoring life’s flavors of the moment

Peppermint, cinnamon, mocha and chocolate. I savor these flavors as I take grateful sips from my toasty morning cup of caffeine. For some reason, I can easily justify this cup because it’s finally getting cold. I find joy and delight in the cold – it is often linked to so many great childhood memories – family, warmth, good food, laughter, smiles, sweets and presents. Since I have arrived at SMU, the impending cold weather of December conjures memories of things I look forward to – finishing finals, late night barbecues, even later movie nights and Celebration of Lights! Okay – I know we still have Thanksgiving to look forward to, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get excited that SMU has started hanging lights already.

In case you aren’t counting, we have one week before Thanksgiving break, two weeks and four days before Celebration of Lights, and three weeks and three days before we all go home for the winter break. I feel overwhelmed by how quickly this semester is trickling away. More than ever, now is the time to pause and take a deep breath.

For the last few months, our lives were filled with many things, most of which were routine like going to class and weekly dinners with best friends and hall mates. So easily, we can forget to appreciate these things that have become habitual. Here is an example. How much time do you spend eating every day? I used to catch myself shoving food down between classes, meetings and other activities. When was the last time you savored what you ate? If you need some reminding about how we should feel, just watch a child eat. There is pure joy and delight in touching the food, feeling it with fingers and feeling it with the mouth and face before spitting it back out. As you head home for Thanksgiving, you will be pleasantly surprised by how much you missed the smell of your home and your room.

In a similar way, how easy it is for us to take our family and friends for granted. For one thing, we run ourselves ragged throughout our day and expect to look up and see our friends when we need them. When was the last time you hugged your best friend, or looked deeply into the eyes of someone you love and enjoyed that simple connection?

Happily nursing a cup of tea on a chilly Sunday morning, I began thinking about what I would write about this week. Often, I use a simple exercise to help me focus. I try to condense what I want to say into one simple phrase. This mental exercise sometimes takes me up to an hour. On this particular occasion, my thoughts were plentiful and in a few minutes I knew exactly what I wanted to write. As I thought about friends who are stressing over tests and papers this week, I wanted to write a word of encouragement to them and everyone else. I decided to capture my thoughts with a Twitter or Facebook status-like phrase: “Savoring life’s flavors at the moment.”

Today, take a moment to chew your food and enjoy those flavors. When you bump into a friend, don’t just say “hi” and keep walking. Stop and embrace one another. When you are sitting in a classroom, arrive early, leave late and actively participate. Enjoy the lethargic feelings that the cold front brings and de-stress over warm drinks. Treat yourself to a tablespoon of sugar in the form of a holiday drink.

There’s an old adage: Count your blessings. Even though I am a math major, I have the hardest time just trying to count change. Yesterday, I found a note I had written on Nov. 23, 2006. It was written right after eating way too much food with family and friends. I love lists and had taken the time to sit and reflect on the little things I am thankful for and often overlook. Here’s an excerpt from that list. “Thank you for: late night talks, laughing together, playing racquetball, studying together, random facebook messages, calling me to hang out, morning prayer, your trust, your hope, your love.”

As you near the end of your first fall semester or your last, I sincerely hope you take the time to enjoy what you have here at SMU. Don’t be in such a hurry to get out – don’t be so quick to want to grow up. I quote one of my friends, “enjoy today and let future you deal with tomorrow.” Take time to hang out with friends, use study breaks to catch up and attend Celebration of Lights in good company. Savor these moments – the smells, the sights and the sounds. Though brief, I imagine they will stay with us forever. Be blessed.

Daniel Liu is a graduate engineering management student. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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