THEN and NOW.

this question from the daily prompt got me thinking today: do parties and crowds fill you with energy, or send you scurrying for peace and quiet?

ask anyone who knew me seven or eight years ago. they will tell you i am somewhat quiet, reserved, even a little shy. people will tell you i don’t like crowds. they will tell you stories of how i avoid public transportation, the mall of america, and concerts. some days, i may even avoid target. they will tell you airports are not my favorite places. they will tell you i am likely to spend weekend evenings at home. they will tell you i don’t like parties or talking to strangers.

well, they are wrong. that was THEN. this is NOW.

ask people who know me today and that is not what you will hear. people (hopefully) will tell you i love to explore. to try new things. to ride the light rail. [insert side note about a full ethnography on the light rail freshman year that entailed spending countless mornings riding the light rail back and forth, taking notes about the people who occupy the light rail during the morning and afternoon rush hours] people will tell you i like talking to strangers, staying in hostels, people watching in airports, and roaming malls, just because. thank the lord for this thing called transformation.

i cannot pinpoint an exact day when this change occurred, but it happened sometime during my two and a half years in the philippines. i am incredibly thankful for that opportunity and what it did to change my life. i now understand the power of people & the energy they can give me. i understand the importance of being able to work a room. the importance of networking, the importance of listening to stories – even if they are those of strangers. i understand my own ability (and need, frankly) to get energy from the people around me. and for that, i am thankful.

this change has been powerful in my life. i would not be where i am today if it were not for that/those moment/moments/years of transformation.

and regardless of this transformation, a part of me still sends me searching for peace and quiet after an evening in a big crowd (the introvert in me will never fully fade). i’m thankful for that, too. 

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oh, the possibilities.

a couple friends and i were talking just last night about how much we would love to get up and leave. to quit work, to quit school, and to simply go exploring. to see some of what we have not seen in this world. to meet people. to hear stories. [insert church sermon from a couple of weeks ago here]. to learn. to be rejuvenated. how much would we have to save in order to do that? a year’s worth of our salary? nothing at all. could we live like craigslist joe? could we find couches to crash on, writing, blogging, cooking, serving gigs along the way? it is hard for me to say if i would get up and go tomorrow. no plans? a little scary. no money? scary. a world full of people to meet, places to see, and things to do? absolutely exciting.

so today’s daily post was the perfect opportunity for me to think about what i would do if the following miraculously happened:

you wake up tomorrow morning to find all your plans have been cancelled for the next seven days and $10,000 on your dresser. tell us about your week.

1. pack my camera 2. bring my gratitude journal. purchase a few more journals for the trip. 3. go to the airport 4. buy a ticket to somewhere in latin america. most likely argentina. because i know people there. and if i started my trip in patagonia, i could make my way north during the course of the next 7 days. 5. arrive in argentina. get to patagonia. take pictures. lots of them. 6. make my way towards mendoza. give susy a big hug and tell her how much i truly do care about her. reflect on our time together and do everything i possibly can to take advantage of the little time i’ll have with her during this trip. 7. swing over to buenos aires and up through uruguay. at least cross the border into brazil (high high high on my bucket list) 8. fly across the continent to chile. 9. take a train to peru. hike machu picchu. 10. continue up the coast of latin america into central america. 11.  make a long pit stop in costa rica. breathe in the life there. contemplate never coming back. 12. find a flight to europe because i hope to god i won’t have spent my $10,000 yet. 13. eat pizza in rome. lay on the beach in france. explore portugal. stay on a strangers couch in  madrid. 14. take a train east. get off every once in a while. 15. be totally content with my life and thankful for this opportunity. 16. find a city i really like. sit down in coffee shops and start a book. about anything. about nothing. just start writing.

17&beyond. decide to stay overseas, to never stop meeting people, to never stop eating good food or drinking good wine.

who wants to join me?

on walking.

‘there are some good things to be said about walking. not many, but some. walking takes longer, for example, than any other known form of locomotion except crawling. thus it stretches time and prolongs life. life is already too short to waste on speed. i have a friend who’s always in a hurry; he never gets anywhere. walking makes the world much bigger and thus more interesting. you have time to observe the details. the utopian technologists foresee a future for us in which distance is annihilated… to be everywhere at once is to be nowhere forever, if you ask me’ -edward abbey

today, leave five minutes early for a meeting and take five minutes longer to get there. soak up all that the world is dying to share with you.

i promise, it is worth a shot. we all get so wrapped up in this thing we call time. how relevant is it really? right now, my time is worth nothing ($15/hour on a good day) i think i can spare an extra five minutes ($1.25). at least that is what i’m learning. i’m learning it is okay to slow down. to breathe. and to enjoy what is going on around me. after all, what’s the rush to always be in the next best place?

la pasión.

nos lleva de un lugar a otro. de una persona a otra. la pasión es lo que trae luz al día oscuro. es lo que ilumina la noche. esta cosa, desde recién, la encuentro difícil de encontrar. aun más, difícil de entender. tener una pasión no es algo que te gana dinero, me han dicho. pues- al principio, por lo menos, me han dicho. ¿cómo hacemos para no sólo tener una pasión, sino también para compartirla con nuestros queridos? ni puedo decir lo que suele ser mi pasión. ni lo que es hoy. ni lo que va a ser mañana o en diez años. lo que si, sé, es que la pasión es fundamental en la creación de una vida que verdaderemente queremos. una vida que nos levanta a las cinco de la mañana, diciéndonos que hoy es otro día para explorarla, otro día para desarrollarla. seguramente alguien te va a decir que esta cosa no es necesario. quizás te van a decir que esta cosa también es peligroso, que no la debemos tener. esto es la belleza que encuentro en la pasión. la tenemos todos. la queremos – no importa lo que el mundo nos ha dicho.

desde recién, la encuentro difícil de encontrar, de mantener, de compartir, de explorar. igual, como la quiero, como la necesito encontrar.

los comparto este video. este hombre, si tiene pasión.

“we accept the love we think we deserve.”

all too true, this lovely excerpt from the perks of being a wallflower, isn’t it?

brené brown has even more insight into this topic. a look into courage, connection, and the human struggle with vulnerability.

in the past week, i’ve failed more than i have in a long time. i’m learning to be okay with that. i’m learning to embrace imperfection. i’m learning to pick myself back up – and to let other people help me do so.

be vulnerably seen. practice gratitude and joy. believe you are enough. say you’re sorry. fix it. start listening. be kinder and gentler to yourself.

WHY? because in the end, to feel this vulnerable means you’re alive.