This Patriot Experience pathway challenges Mason students to”build lives of vitality, purpose, and resilience” through their personal well-being and that of others. I personally look at myself critically through the lens of well-being. My life is usually a hectic mess of multiple obligations that I have decided to take on all at once. Normally, I thrive under the pressure and I am able to give each facet of my life the full attention it deserves. This year was different. I did not do a great job of taking care of my personal well-being, and I know I can do better. I am mostly talking about my physical well-being here. On the flip side, I feel that I have continued to pay close attention to the well-being of those around me.

In February of 2017, I got the tattoo seen below. When a plane is getting ready for take-off, the flight attendants run through a list of safety precautions. One that they mention is a decrease in cabin pressure, resulting in oxygen masks dropping from the ceiling. Passengers are instructed to “put your mask on first before assisting others with theirs.” This idea hits close to home for me in terms of my own well-being. I often spend way more time focused on the needs of others than on my own, and I was hoping that getting the mask tattooed on my body would alert me of this…I clearly still need to work on this.

The well-being pathway also mentions the concept of resilience, which is luckily one I feel competent in. Resilience is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties.” I personally have been through quite a lot of difficulties whether they be academic, family-related, or medical. Each time I am challenged to bounce back, and I think I have done a very good job of doing so. Life has handed me numerous lemons these past 20+ years, and sometimes, I have got to admit, it feels like life squeezes the acidic juice right in my eye. That being said, I am trying my hardest every day to gather up the sugars and create a Gilly-approved lemonade concoction.