Where would they place you in a shopping market?
I ask this hoping that you can be open-minded about it. If you were a product on a shelf in some corner store, what would you be? An avocado? Perhaps a pair of socks, or chewing gum, or even a bag of Jolly Ranchers?
Think to yourself about what you would be and write down your initial answer. The very first thing that comes to mind. It’s important.
Now, go back and actually think about what I’m asking.
In what part of a shopping market do you fit in?
This question could mean multiple things. I could be asking what you relate to, whether it’s Almond Milk because you’re lactose intolerant, or white bread because you’re simple and straightforward, a common component, a staple food.
Or maybe it is that I’m asking for setting. Where in a super market should you be? The back stall of the girl’s bathroom, smoking the last cigarette from your mother’s purse? Do you see yourself in line for checkout, frantically searching for thirty cents? In between packages of toilet paper, playing hide and seek with your little sister?
Or maybe still I am asking what aisle you belong on. Is it with the baking goods, you with your powdery personality, or by the spices, all turmeric and cardamom, or picking through the frozen shellfish in the front?
The first answer you gave would seem irrelevant now, or at least it did to me when I was asked this question. I went back and I changed my mind. Initially I said with the dairy products, and I was thinking of nothing more than the fact that I love strawberry yogurt, but once I began considering every factor, I decided I belong more in the gardening area with the mixed potting soil, and this came with the tedious thoughts of both location, my personality relating to potting soil, and how the workers and customers interact different in that section of most supermarkets. It’s like it is another store completely back there. I would most certainly fit in.
I might have lost you by now. How is this inspiring in any way, you ask?
Just wait, we are headed in the right direction. This blog is going to be about “second times”. In other words, second-attempts at “first time” things, a rethinking on the things you might have already been through. This blog is about stepping out of the picture to look at yourself in whole. Stay with me.
My life moves faster than I can keep up with it most of the time. Two weeks ago I was thirteen and now I am graduating in just five months. My hands and feet somehow have always kept up, but my brain has trouble doing the same on occasion.
In my junior year, I was determined to have as many “firsts” as possible, whether they be good experiences or absolute terrible memories. In the excitement of the moments in which I was experiencing all of my “firsts”, it never really mattered how I felt after, or who I hurt in the process. I ended up having a beautifully destructive year because of this, and I am so thankful for that, because I learned a good bit about my own person and others through it. And if there is one thing I can say in this post that sticks with anyone, my hope is that it will be this: Life is about revisions. It has never, and will never be about first times, although those are very important. No, I think I’ve come to realize, life is about second times, and third times, and the continuation of new experiences that become an eventual rhythm in our daily lives. Life is about doing things that are hard for days- days that turn into months, that turn into years. It’s about choosing the right thing every time, not just that one time when you were feeling brave. It is about becoming consistent in finding your fear and fulfilling that fear until you aren’t afraid of it anymore.
In my life right now, I am working every day to make friends with my insecurities, my discomforts, my secret dreams and hopes that I have not fully whispered into the world.
I take the time to sit down and make decisions now, to actually ask myself questions and follow through with the answers, whether they be about grocery stores or college options.
I still go with my gut when it feels right, though. There are some things in life that work out in the most amazing ways the first time, things that don’t need polishing or revisions. These are our “Perfect Things”-we keep them close to our heart.
These perfect things are like pebbles. Imagine yourself,walking down a stretch of the beach, picking up pebbles as you go. Each one is beautiful in its own way, carved by the ocean and almost asking you to snatch them from the sand. Lets say you begin filling your pockets, and you walk, and you continue this exercise of finding the pebbles and filling your pockets with them the entire time. What happens when your pockets fill entirely?
Another thing I have recently dealt with is my issue with not being able to let people and things leave my life if they were once a part of it. This is how I see those pebbles, as individual people and memories that are pieces of myself in some way, due to my obsessive attachment to them. When people leave my life without me having a choice in the matter, I seem to forget every other pebble down the stretch of beach, ahead of me-my future people, experiences, memories.
I’ve begun to be very selective in which things I keep close to my heart, the things I fill my pockets with. I put many hours into a few choice pebbles, I keep a small few close to me, and I give them 100%, rather than expend a half-hearted energy on many separate moments and feel equally attached to all of them.
I hope I’m making a clear point, but if not, this is what I am basically trying to say: Cultivate yourself and the people that care about you, and cultivate your life with them. Remember that all good things eventually do end and be grateful for the experiences you get. Never take what you have now for granted, even if you once had better, or could have better. Don’t forget about the life ahead of you, or even the present life you have. Do not be too focused on your past that you miss out on everything now.
At this point, I know you’re still at a loss for exactly how this post is supposed to invigorate you, to inspire you.
The truth is- and let me warn you, this is going to suck- the truth is that nothing I put in this blog, no matter how eloquently written, will ever be enough to inspire you if you do not first see the potential to be inspired in yourself.
Professional hypnotists begin all of their sessions by telling their clients, the audience, etc. , that the hypnotism will not work if you are not open to be hypnotized. You have to actually tell yourself that you can and will be hypnotized for the process to make any change in you. Basically, you must trick yourself into believing it, and at that point, the hypnotists job is easy- they have already won you over because you have won yourself over.
Life is the same in this sense, and inspiration. If your brain is not willing to be “tricked” into its own happiness, then you won’t be happy.
There is a choice in your head that you must make to cause movement in your legs, your arms, your knees. Your brain tells them to move to put you in a different place, right? We move to survive, to leave bad places, to run away or stand and fight. These choices propel our well being.
Movement in terms of mindset is exactly like the movements in your body, and other people notice this as well.
Have a frown in the waiting room because the nurse hasn’t called you back yet? Maybe you got impatient and didn’t hold the door open for the man behind you in a wheelchair? The lady taking phone calls in the front, yes- she noticed, and she makes choices about how to treat you because of it. She might just have a thirty minute conversation with your doctor about his upcoming trip to Sweden in a few minutes because of it. This is just one example of how our actions have reactions and are intertwined, and everyone’s lives are substantially connected in this way as well.
In other words, everything effects everything. It’s like we’ve all got the flu and can’t help but cough on one another.
For me, being inspired is like believing in God. You don’t need proof, you need faith, and sometimes, you need to challenge your reality and perspective.
Faith that things can and will get better, despite how it looks now. Faith in your feet and hands that you know where you’re headed, knowing there will be obstacles in your future. Faith to make the right choice in general, even when you’re tired, even when it’s so hard to.
It’s calling rejection an opportunity to receive feedback and improve work for the second time around. It is actually taking the time to revise your life, and knowing that the greatest thing you can do with it is give every day to your and other’s betterment.
It’s going to bed having failed, and having failed in the most costly ways, and still being able to call the day a trial and error process. You are the only person in the world that can tell yourself how to think and what to believe, and every choice you make reflects who you are, no matter how insignificant you think the decision is.
Life is a series of first drafts, and it’s up to you to find the files and edit.