“Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it” ((Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, 1986)).
I spent this past week in New York visiting prospective universities for my younger sister. Beyond where I spent this week geographically, mentally I was elsewhere...pondering my own experiences both good and bad with education and the inner conflict I struggle with regarding formal academics. It’s weird to come to terms with the fact that my sister and I are vastly different people who want to gain different things from the world around us. I want to relate to her own process with college, but I know in my heart that what wasn’t right for me could be perfect for her and vice versa.
As someone observing these tours as a wallflower, as someone who has already been through this process, I feel alienated. Although I am secure in myself and content with my current intellectual pursuits, the atmosphere here is outside of my comfort zone and leaves me feeling disassociated and confused.
Despite this feeling, my passions have been reinforced this week and I was reminded of my love of photography. I was appreciative of museums, architecture, people, nature, and clothing. I found joy in observing strangers interactions. Above everything else I was reminded that I like space and freedom and with those things I am capable of being creative. I am enamored with California...and nowhere else makes me feel at home in the same way.
New York City has this weird energy. There’s a heat, but unlike heat travelling from the sun it feels like the quantity of people and buildings emit their own warmth into everyone and everything. New York has its own unique personality and it seeps into every aspect of your day. Simply by walking around, you lose track of your goals and inhibitions. There’s a constant feeling, like you have a need to incessantly reach a destination as quickly and efficiently as possible. Nobody slows down to enjoy the journey...people don’t even wait for traffic lights to change let alone anything else.
I am so lucky to be in a position where I get to experience different places. I am also insanely lucky to go home to the most beautiful place on this planet. Looking forward to being home I feel particularly happy to return to a world where the pace is slower, the energy is calmer, and where I feel the most authentic.
The world is a big place full of magic and beauty. Take the time to compliment a stranger, to pick flowers, to watch birds and butterflies, or simply to pause until the street lights say to walk. Wherever you are and whoever you are, remember to slow down your thoughts and your actions to look around.
“Enlightenment is when a wave realizes it is the ocean” ((Thich Nhat Hanh)).
It’s okay to put your feelings on hold so that you can conquer what you want to accomplish in a day. Rather than thinking of a million tasks at once focus on each second, minute, 15 minutes until you can handle the big picture. It’s okay to just go through the motions even if it doesn’t feel quite right. Eventually the irrational fears will subside and you’ll forget what it feels like to be anxious. Allowing feelings to come and go as they please makes life easier on you. Become one with the universe and erase the borders of your individual existence which separate you from the outside world. You are one and in that oneness is where your power lies. Accept it. Nourish it. Become your most powerful self. Remember what ignites the fire within your soul and don’t just allow it to flicker out because it gets hard to stoke.
Last month I wrote myself affirmations and reminders to read when I feel overwhelmed. I feel everything ferociously. When I feel anxious that level of intense emotion feels unfair, but when I love I love with an equal level of intensity that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I pick up on vibrations and am sensitive to the environments and the people I surround myself with. I make choices from my heart and chase after experiences that make me feel present and intrinsically human.
I planned a trip to Washington to visit my friend Emerson. It was the first plane ticket I ever bought myself. It was a purchase that terrified me and excited me. Leading up to this adventure I spent months thrilled not necessarily to escape California, but to gain the chance to get out of my own head and simply explore.
I worked myself up the night before my flight. I was afraid and I gave into the comfort of recoiling. But I thought about love. And I thought about adventure. And I thought about my soul and letting that flame flicker out seemed cowardly. So, I flew before the sun rose Saturday morning and read my letter to myself. I reminded myself of the things I’m passionate about...spontaneous adventures, long car rides to mystery destinations, trees, trails, roads...
Enjoying the yellow leaves at a park in Fremont, Washington with Emerson.
Sometimes it’s hard to find the motivation to do the things you love. If I spend too much time distancing myself from my passions life is seemingly easier, but far less fulfilling. This trip reminded me of who I am and who I want to be. I feel grateful to be becoming the girl I’ve been waiting to be who can adventure freely and chase love. I feel so fortunate for my friends. I am thrilled to have reignited my little spark and I’m stoking it now.
I’m happy thinking about all of the trees I saw with their bright mustard leaves, the Fleetwood Mac records, thai food, disposable cameras, rivers, and ivy covered buildings. I’m already missing singing along to “Sleep Alone” by Two Door Cinema Club with everyone at night, wandering through Point Defiance Park, and even things as simple as chatting with my best friend as we brushed our teeth.
Distance is a curious thing. I love so many people who are far away from me and it makes me feel like my heart is scattered. I was feeling that way for a long time and it made me melancholy. Yet, this weekend that feeling of sadness transformed into gratitude. How fortunate am I to have so many people in my life to care for so deeply who care for me?
I was reminded once again how small the world is, and how small we are, and I’m humbled. I’m grateful. I’m happy.
At a park in Fremont, Washington.
Behind the scenes ((:
Wandering around Tacoma with Garrett, Emerson, and Julia.
Pike Place Flower Market.
Pike Place Flower Market.
Driving into Fremont with Garrett and Emerson.
The Sound at Point Defiance Park.
Another day in the park.
Hiking through the forest in search of raccoons...
10 Things I Hate About You...climbing the Fremont Troll with Garrett and Emerson.
Em and I just want to be Stevie ((; Hi-Voltage Records in Tacoma with Garrett and Julia.