Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
December 8, 2022
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COURTESY OF JACKIE RITTENHOUSE

Rittenhouse describes all the memories, rituals and feelings that come with Sunday.

I wake up late,

to the sounds of my neighbors on the street,

when the sun is already high in the sky, 

and I take a deep breath, 

stretching my limbs,

and rubbing the past week from my face. 

It’s Sunday, a day made for living slowly, for taking care of yourself and your space and for recharging all of the little aspects of yourself that are expended every other day of the week. It’s Sunday, and I choose to rest.

I’ve always been very fond of Sundays. Growing up, my dad would drive us 45 minutes down the California coast to spend the day with his parents in San Jose. My dad's side of the family has always had a special place in my heart, partly because they lived so close to us but mostly because of the experiences we shared. 

My grandma is the powerhouse of all the Rittenhouses — she's the matriarch of our family and she knows it. She was the reason I got my first tattoo, which matches the same first tattoo that she got for her 80th birthday. Yes, I know she’s cool. If you’re lucky, she might slide into your Instagram DMs or grace you with a seasonally timely meme.

I don’t know exactly when our Sunday ritual of sunny afternoons in the grass and dinners under the trees began — probably before I was born as I’m the youngest of four children — but ever since I can remember we would spend Sundays together, relaxing, recharging, sharing meals and living slowly.

I don’t see Sundays as the beginning or end of a week, they are somewhere in between. They are a day for reflecting on everything that happened the prior six days and preparing for the next six days. And I don’t mean this in a last-minute cram session kind of way; I mean this in an intentional, thoughtful, slow-living kind of way.

Sunday mornings are reserved for putting time and care into yourself, a luxury that fast-paced and jam-packed weekdays can’t provide. I spend mine doing housekeeping tasks like updating my list of expenses, attending to the growing pile of laundry by my bed and trimming the ever-growing plants hanging in my windows. 

The afternoons are meant for taking time to work on all the hobbies you so rarely get to enjoy, starting in on the list of books I’ve been meaning to read, getting back to the numerous arts and crafts projects I’ve begun and forgotten — and finally calling the friends back home whose schedules never seem to align during the week. 

The evenings are still special, filled with home-cooked meals, the sounds of crickets and happy conversations, warm blankets fresh out of the dryer and, when I still lived in California, the quiet drive home.

And I think everyone can agree that there is nothing quite like the feeling of taking an “everything shower,” putting on a pair of freshly clean pajamas and slipping into freshly washed sheets. 

This is what Sunday feels like to me. Maybe it’s a different situation for you, like finally having the time to read a book you’ve been meaning to get to, taking a breath and a pause from the chaos of life to have a meal with a friend or walking through your neighborhood for the sole purpose of seeing it all. 

Regardless of the differences, Sundays share one quality: they’re all about moving slowly with intention. They’re a break from the mildly panicked and fast-paced way we go through all the other days. 

Especially now that midterm season is in full swing (who am I kidding, it’s always midterm season here), cherish your Sundays and all of the little moments in life when we are able to slow down and take a breath. Put the time and care into yourself and the things you value — and set yourself up for the brisk week ahead.

Jackie Rittenhouse is a senior from San Mateo, Calif. majoring in Psychology and Anthropology. Her column, Reminiscing and Revelations, explores the experiences that have shaped the person she is today.

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