“I cannot remember the books I have read any more than the meals I have eaten. Even so, they have made me.”
Praxis participant, Jackson Sullivan, recently shared a strategy that I really liked: “Defining what you need to be funneling your energies into using moments, not generalized ‘careers,’ life goals or bucket lists. Look into the future and think of what moments are moments of pure goodness, happiness, or perfection. Write a blog post where you just write and dump your thoughts and emotions onto the screen. Make a new paragraph for every moment. Be as authentic as humanly possible. Do not even think about ‘what’s realistic’ or ‘can I make this happen?’”…”It can be super emotional but it’s one of the most tangible ways to engage in introspection that I’ve found. I think defining life by potential moments over ‘goals’ will help a lot of you who are in my shoes.”
I decided to use his strategy, but separating it into two parts. Part One is past moments of mine that symbolize happiness and fulfillment for me. Part Two will be hypothetical future moments that symbolize my dreams and aspirations, without taking reality or practicality into account.
Being twelve years old performing a trapeze show for an audience. Filled with fear and adrenaline, praying that I wouldn’t fuck it up. Feeling the heat of the spotlight on my skin as the music started. Despite the fear, I loved the idea of entertaining an audience. It wasn’t a sport in a competitive manner. I wasn’t competing for a medal or a trophy like I had to when I was a gymnast. No pressure to be better than anyone else. Just pressure to be your best. It was purely entertainment. To make people happy.
When I first tackled daily blogging in my last month of Praxis. Feeling like it would just be a fun exercise that will fill my time, but it ending up a fulfilling source of validation. A key to understand the inner workings of my brain. A way to log all of my random thoughts and thoughtfully sort them out on paper. Readers enjoying and laughing at the stuff I wrote and praising me for something I created. It sparked motivation in me to find fulfillment in every area of my life. To not just do what’s expected of me day to day to get by, but to always be creating.
Traveling to five European countries in five weeks with my family when I was thirteen. In Germany we stayed in small farm town with a family who paraded us around town like we were celebrities. They gave us milk from their cows, showed us their pet pigeons, and had us help them nurse an injured baby deer back to health. We woke up every day to a basket of bread and desserts at our doorstep. When we left they cried theirs eyes out, gave us money, and blessed us with holy water. In the Netherlands, we stayed in with a family whose kids brought us to a Dutch theme park where I went on an upside-down roller coaster for the first time. In France, we stayed with a Parisian couple who showed us around the city and brought us to McDonald’s, because where else would a family of filthy Americans want to go?
My sister and I putting on a play for our parents when we were kids. Building the stage out of a coffee table and couch pillows in our living room. We wrote a script where I played a sheep, my sister played a pig, and we dressed up our dog as a lion. I miss the feeling of making something for the fun of it. Writing a play to perform one time for your parents just because. Now, when I’m writing or working on something, it’s loaded with worry about whether or not people will like it. Whether or not it’s a good step for me in my “career,” rather than it being for the pure joy of it.
Standing on the roof of a parking garage looking out at my moonlit hometown with my boyfriend of a little over a month and hearing him say, “I love you.” It feeling so right. Feeling at home. At peace. Like no words have ever made so much sense. Like our hearts were very old friends. Like I fell in love with someone who causes me to do all the things I never thought I’d do, like writing these words. Like I could see myself spending the rest of my life with the person standing in front of me and that’d be quite alright.