be prepared to be surprised

what was the last thing that left you awestruck or in wonder of the universe? I’ve been searching really hard for those moments of daily joy, grace, and magic in my life as of late, and here’s why: i find that, when i allow myself to be struck by the simple paradisiacal details of my world, i am more curious, more grounded, more cheerful, and better able to shake off the many things that are bound to fall flat in our day-to-day lives.

as a chronically-late person, traffic jams and stalled public transit get me down. (don’t ask me how #dontrush2014 is going…)

as a relationship-focused person, one rude or thoughtless act from a stranger can deflate me.

as a young professional, a learning moment can rack me with guilt and self-loathing.

as a friend or family member, a single forgotten event or birthday or anniversary or unanswered text can make me feel like i’m not fulfilling my commitment to them.

i’ve been feeling the weight of the world in recent weeks (i’ll spare deets, but let’s just say march and i are not currently off to a great start), and so i’ve turned back to my boy don miller and his work a million miles in a thousand years for a reminder that so much of this life is within my control and i am able to both craft and interpret my journey however i please. one of the passages i keep unintentionally opening to is his chapter called “writing the world.” in it, he points out how quickly we move through life– so much so that that we don’t often recognize (or even comprehend) the sparkle of so many glorious happenings. he points to the fact that, while our brains are developing through our mid-20s, we “wake slowly to everything” over the course of more than 2 decades. since it’s all happening so very slowly, we begin very early in that development to brush off the miraculous and astonishing and take for granted the enormity of our existences and surroundings.

The experience is so slow you could easily come to believe life isn’t that big of a deal, that life isn’t staggering. What I’m saying is I think life is staggering and we’re just used to it. We all are like spoiled children no longer impressed with the gifts we’re given– it’s just another sunset, just another rainstorm moving in over the mountain, just another child being born, just another funeral. […] I’ve wondered, though, if one of the reasons we fail to acknowledge the brilliance of life is because we don’t want the responsibility inherent in the acknowledgment. We don’t want to be characters in a story because characters have to move and breathe and face conflict with courage. And if life isn’t remarkable, then we don’t have to do any of that; we can be unwilling victims rather than grateful participants.

But I’ve noticed something. I’ve never walked out of a meaningless movie thinking all movies are meaningless. I only thought the movie I walked out on was meaningless. I wonder, then, if when people say life is meaningless, what they really mean is their lives are meaningless. I wonder if they’ve chosen to believe their whole existence is unremarkable and are projecting their dreary lives on the rest of us.

i’m working to feed my craving for blissful admiration and shake a bit of my overdeveloped sense of self-importance that i have begun to tote around as my daily millenial baggage. it’s important to remind myself that i need to be patient enough to allow myself TO experience these things from my perspective, because that is the perspective with which i am able to see the world. but if i make the choice to don my rose-colored lenses when i rise each morning, i think i’ll be thrilled to return to a place of humility and growth and an openness to bear witness to the consistently extraordinary soon enough…


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