Doing a little sprucing up around the homestead. Spring cleaning and all. I even sorted through my bookshelf (it’s true) and made a little give-away pile (remain calm).
Flipping through one, I found a pencil-scribbled note from 04/23/12 on the back page. Almost a year ago. I’d just gotten back from a trip to Memphis. A really great weekend with friends and family. A wedding I’d been looking forward to for…years.
So it’s only natural I was experiencing the “post-birthday party” letdown feelings. But I see something beyond the general gloominess that follows a fun vacation. I see restlessness here that I’m glad to report has settled. I think. For now.
Perfect not-cold sweater weather outside. Sun setting. Everything green. I try to look at my surroundings with fresh eyes. What if this were my vacation spot? My refuge or escape? I’d think it was beautiful. Breeze. Birds. Sunshine. Trees. Peace.
How can I bring vacation-me home and let her roam around my everyday life? She’s so hopeful and happy. So eager and open to good. Creative and relaxed. Energized. Her eyes want to notice things. Her eyes want things. Her body craves movement. Her mind needs food. She sees possibility. People like her and think she’s fine.
Post-birthday-party-me clearly saw vacation-me as the type of person she wanted to be. “Her eyes want things.” I underlined that word…and I think I know why. When I’m feeling stuck, I can lose my ability to want things. Drive, desire, chutzpah — what have you. But there are moments when I can get it back: in a new place, with an old friend, at a movie or in a book. Hell, sometimes a particularly good snack can transport me to a better place. You never know.
Later that night, Ben Rattray (founder of change.org) was on the Daily Show, and I scribbled some more notes in the back of that same book. (Nice pre-loaded blog post fodder, last-year-me!)
“Putting your efforts and life’s work into making the change you need in yourself.” (paraphrase)
(Holy shit wow.)
Ben Rattray — 1st attempt FAILED.
These scribbles are a little more cryptic. But, thanks to the internet, I found a clip of the episode. And here’s what he actually said.
The paraphrased scribble was from Jon Stewart, actually, and I got pretty close: “Incredible story. Putting your efforts and your life’s work behind the change you wanted to make in your own being.”
In other words, hey lackluster SJ, you know this hopeful & happy, creative & energized person exists. But you’re having trouble tracking her down. In the meantime, what can you do to make your world a more hopeful, happy, creative, energized place? Do those things. She’ll come back.
The idea sounds absurdly simplistic when I spell it out like that, and I’m also not sure I’m completely articulating my point…it’s bouncing around in my brain, but I can’t quite reel it in.
If you have six minutes to spare, watch Rattray’s full interview. If not, just take his final words:
The power that people have to make a difference right now, with social media, is far greater than ever before. and if you identify an issue you care passionately about [...] you have a greater chance of success than you can possibly imagine.
(Holy shit wow.)