by Trent Miles

We do not remember days—we remember moments. 2020 was a year that was full of positive and negative moments. We dealt with a global pandemic, racial and civil unrest, a climate crisis, and a presidential election all in the same year. But we still made it. It was never about the fear of the unknown. This year showed you who you could count on—and who might let you down.

Looking back at my own experience, it’s been a wild ride—especially given the uncertainties about COVID-19 that prevented travel. But there were also many good things that happened in the past year. My productivity increased by at least twice. Along with the team from Big Picture, I helped launch an online magazine. I also applied to 23 colleges and helped pack COVID-19 care bags for the underprivileged in my community. All of these achievements happened because I changed my negative mindset. Previously, I might have acted to gain the favor of others—but this year I prioritized my community.

Here are some mindfulness tips that have helped me cope in the past year:

  1. Meditate. Taking just 5 minutes to sit quietly and follow your breath can help you feel more conscious and connected for the rest of the day.
  2. Focus on one thing at a time. Studies on multitasking show that tasks take 50% longer with 50% more errors—so consider “uni-tasking” by incorporating multiple breaks.
  3. Move. Whether it’s walking, practicing yoga, or just stretching at your desk, become aware of your body’s needs and sensations.
  4. Keep phone and computer time in check. With all of this media at our fingertips, we can easily find ourselves caught up in an information overload. Set boundaries for screen time with designated times for social networking—you can even set an alarm. Do your best to keep mobile devices out of reach at bedtime.

Sometimes it feels impossible to pick yourself up after a crushing defeat. But no matter how you feel, remember that your life is still worth fighting for. Thank yourself for how far you’ve come. With a new year ahead, 365 new days are 365 new chances. And it’s okay to not be okay. It’s okay to experience times of uncertainty. It’s okay to make mistakes and get things mixed up.

Know that you are still going to have another chance to get things right. Rise up, just like the day. Rise up unafraid. Rise up and do it a thousand times again.

Today’s affirmation: I am releasing attachment to every negative circumstance that has happened to me this past year. I am open to receiving all of what life has to offer me, even beyond what I might desire. 

About Trent Miles

Trent Miles is a rising senior at Richwoods High School and has been working for Big Picture Initiative since May 2020. He is academically competitive and a well rounded student. Trent is the co- founder of his Richwood’s climate action club, Vice President of the Minority Academic Advancement Project, and a varsity tennis player. Outside of school, he is involved in Jack and Jill of America, where he served as the Central Region Teen Vice President in 2018. In his chapter he served as Vice President, Legislative Chair and Foundation Chair. Trent also runs his own environmental blog called “EnviroWrite,” which is a youth-run blog that seeks to innovate how we discuss and inform ourselves on environmental concerns. He has won 1st place in a Regional Best Hobby Exhibits competition and two Regional Alexander Pushkin writing competitions. He has contributed more than 800 hours of community service through various service projects including a winter wear drive, collecting toiletries, and even an educational African-American museum.

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