Character study

It’s 70 degrees outside on this last night of June. Pretty good time to break in the new porch, with the lightning bugs and a faint smell of bottle rocket smoke in the air.

Tonight is the final Sunday night of my 20s. I’ve been looking at things like that all week, and that’s how I typically handle big ending-type milestones. The countdown of “last time”s.

When people ask me how I feel about turning 30, I tell them I’m not bothered by it. Which is true. I quite like where my life is at the moment and where (I think) it’s going. The one thing that has been on my mind is how much different I am from the SJ of 2003 — the one who turned 20. I don’t even remember much about her… I think she liked Spongebob? And Dave Matthews Band?

I listened to a podcast today — The Tobolowsky Files, which never fails to inspire me. If you care about acting or creativity in general or relationships or just good storytelling, you should check it out.

This episode was about (among many lovely tangents and other things) connecting to your past in times of change. Being surprised by what you’ve lost and by how you sometimes find things again. How memories and routines and the people you’ve loved in the past all define your present, in ways you may not fully understand.

As he often does, Stephen referred to his acting life as a means to examine his life-life. When trying to form a character for a play or a movie, he’d ask himself questions. Like:
What are my (the character’s) biggest hopes?
What are my biggest fears?
What things about me have stayed constant over time?
What things have changed?

A good list of things to ponder about yourself anytime, but especially during Final Countdown times. And I don’t have profound or pithy answers to share with you at the moment, but I wanted to share the questions. (Isn’t that like something Rumi said? Just live the questions now — and maybe someday you’ll live your way into the answer, or something. …nope, that was Rilke. Getting my R-name poets all mixed up. But it’s a nice thought, either way.)

Look at that: maybe the very last botched quote attribution of my 20s… It all goes by so fast…

Daily Thought Thoughts

I get the Real Simple magazine Daily Thought in my inbox every morning. This week, I had to laugh when Monday and Tuesday offered me these:

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Both thoughts are empowering, of course, but they’re also a little bit terrifying. And exactly what I need to hear. Some pretty big changes in the works (anybody looking to buy a house?!) — and while I’m really excited about it all, I also have these moments of oh crap, what am I doing?! (Just changing zip codes, not cities. You’re stuck with me for now, Springfield.)

Boxing up your life and starting again (again) is humbling and refreshing and arduous and hilarious. All at once. So I need all the “it’s okay! Even if it ends up sucking for a while!” that I can get right now. Or:

“Follow your dreams!…even if your dreams lead you to the middle of a deep, dark forest! Yikes, did that wolf sound angry to you guys?!”
“Better to break your arm while taking a leap of faith than have two good arms from playing it safe!”
“Chill out. At least you aren’t (insert person whose name you’d never admit out loud. C’mon. You know you want to…).”

Kidding about that last one, obviously. (But seriously. Don’t you feel a little better?)